SummarySensor-based sorting machines for dry separation of coarse particles: The automatization of manual sorting (hand-picking) using sensor technology allows mineral separation at higher capacities. The innovation is an example for technology transfer from one application (recycling) to another (mineral beneficiation)
The innovation is the replication of the human hand-picking process by automatisation of the individual steps (i) detection, (ii) classification and (iii) ejection of particles. Initially developed for mainly sorting secondary materials from recycling, the sorting technology has nowadays been adapted to mineral processing applications: pre-concentration, final product upgrade, separation of feed into high/low grade.
The innovation has proven its efficiency in the field of secondary materials. For primary resources, new sensor types have been developed and adapted. The number of installations in the minerals industry has been continuously growing.
First mechanisation of hand-picking already was established in the 1920s.
This was then further developed to “automated hand-picking” (in size ranges of ca 10-300 mm) during the 1990s when fast computing power and high resolution cameras became available.
From the early 2000s, applications in the mineral industry connected to the development of new sensor systems.
Several equipment manufacturers and companies specialized in developing sensor systems. Areas of application comprise:
• Secondary raw materials (recycling)
• Industrial minerals
• Precious minerals
• Base metals
Impact on the mining value chain
mineral and metallurgical PROCESSING (incl. Permitting)
TransferabilityTechnical solution: Given, technology has been transferred to different countries and different application areas. Innovation process: Innovation fell in a period where European societies started striving for waste treatment and recycling. This was reflected by launching policies and legislation on European and national level.
Job creation (manufacturers)
Reduced production costs (mineral industry)
Leading role of European manufacturers worldwide
Increased resource efficiency
Reduced energy demands for down-stream grinding (case: pre-concentration)