Tomra targets wood recycling with artificial intelligence
November 15, 2021 | 10:23 am CST
wood recycling

Recycling wood by sorting materials with AI technology.

The Tomra Recycling business unit of Norway-based Tomra Group says it has strengthened its offering for the global wood recycling sector by becoming the “first in the world to use deep learning, a subset of artificial intelligence (AI), in wood recycling applications.”

The company has combined its Autosort technology with its deep learning-based sorting add-on, GAIN, to deploy technology that can distinguish between and sort different types of wood-based materials, “significantly enhancing customers’ sorting and manufacturing processes,” according to Tomra.

The primary application for Tomra Recycling’s new system is sorting type A scrap wood, or non-processed wood pieces, from type B scrap wood, which consists of processed wood products such as MDF (medium-density fiberboard), HDF (high-density fiberboard), oriented strand board (OSB) and chipboard.

Tomra Recycling says it has been serving the global wood recycling sector for more than 10 years. The company’s X-Tract device is used by chipboard manufacturers to produce a clean recycled wood chip fraction by sorting and separating out metals and inert materials such as glass, stones, and ceramics, says the company.

An increasing number of customers are looking to use higher purity level recycled wood in their production processes, according to Tomra, with many of them viewing engineered wood composites as materials to be removed.

Since such materials are not distinguishable using X-ray technology, the firm had to go beyond using X-Tract units, so its researchers developed the new deep learning method.

“Wood recycling is a fast-evolving market, with increasingly stringent legislation being introduced in a number of regions globally to move towards a more circular economy model,” remarks Philipp Knopp, a product manager at Tomra Recycling. “Our Autosort with GAIN solution will enable our customers to future-proof their operations as they will be better equipped to adapt and react to any future changes in the global wood recycling market such as new legislation. We are delighted to be the first in the market to offer this artificial intelligence-based solution.”

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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).