Atritor Turbo Separator

The Atritor Turbo Separator was developed to separate products from their packaging, releasing them for recycling or disposal.

Available through Australian distributor Wastech Engineering, the Turbo Separator enables up to 99 per cent of dry or liquid products to be separated from their packaging with minimal contamination. This allows the contents to be used for compost, anaerobic digestion or animal feedstock. The Turbo Separator can be manufactured in a range of throughputs up to 20 tonnes per hour.

Additionally, the process is so efficient that it leaves the packaging relatively intact and clean to facilitate downstream recycling. According to Wastech, when compared to other methods of packaging separation, the Turbo Separator achieves higher separation efficiencies with lower power consumption, resulting in reduced operating costs.

The Turbo Separator is ideal for separating out of specification, out of date and mislabeled products from a variety of packaging, including cans, plastic bottles and boxes. The diverse range of applications includes the separation of paper from gypsum in plasterboard, general foodstuffs from their packaging and liquids from their containers.

It is available complete with infeed and outfeed conveyors and liquid transfer pumps. The Turbo Separator, with its durable construction and adjustable paddles, enables the separation of a wide variety of products. Each Turbo Separator installation can be configured to suit multiple applications and a variable shaft speed enables enhanced separation efficiency. The machine is available in mild steel and stainless steel to suit the application.

Wastech welcomes $20M CRC grants

Wastech Engineering has welcomed the Federal Government’s $20 million commitment to grow Australia’s domestic recycling capabilities.

Funds are available through round eight of the Cooperative Research Centre grants program, which opened 13 August.

Wastech Managing Director Neil Bone said the grants are a step in the right direction, following the Council of Australian Governments export ban announcement on 9 August.

“Companies such as Wastech are ready and well prepared to assist local government and industry, with a wide range of solutions and products that will meet the desired outcomes of converting waste products into useful products for the Australian consumer,” Mr Bone said.

“This is a fantastic initiative by the Federal Government, and allows any organisation with an interest in diverting waste from landfill to apply for the grant and start minimising its environmental footprint.”

Mr Bone said in addition to reducing waste, the program will likely spark job creation and further recycling sector growth.

“With Wastech’s proven industry capabilities and equipment range, we can offer turn-key solutions for material recovery, including co-mingled recyclables, municipal solid waste, construction and demolition, commercial and industrial, waste to energy and e-waste,” Mr Bone said.

“Wastech personnel can also assist interested parties in applying for these grants.”

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Commingled trust: Wastech Engineering

Wastech National Projects Product Manager Mike McConnell takes Waste Management Review through the company’s materials recovery facility concept design process. 

When China placed contamination restrictions on imported waste in 2017, Australian material recovery facilities (MRF) had to face up to the realisation that their technology wouldn’t meet the 0.5 per cent rate.

According to a 2018 federal analysis of Australia’s municipal recycling infrastructure, a major issue for MRFs is the lack of technical capacity to sort commingled, highly contaminated municipal waste materials to a standard that meets stringent export specifications.

In the wake of China, prices for plastic, cardboard and paper have dropped. Demand for higher quality material however had risen, which offers significant market opportunities for processors willing to invest in technical capacity and optical sorting upgrades.

Wastech National Projects Product Manager Mike McConnell says the complexity of current challenges makes turnkey solutions more attractive than ever.

“The industry is presently facing a unique set of challenges, and many recycling companies don’t have the time to sit down and analyse how to best upgrade their facilities,” Mike says.

“Through evaluating the industry via reports on waste volumes, equipment needs, collection methods and operational requirements, Wastech is able to provide clients with fully realised MRF concepts and design.”

According to Mike, the key to good business practice when developing a MRF is building trust with the client.

“Effectively turning a client’s initial request into a well-functioning MRF requires trust between both parties. We need to understand their volumes, waste composition and material process flows,” Mike says.

“At a minimum you will be working with the client for six months, and in some cases, it might take two years. It’s really important both organisations understand each other and the process.”

Mike says concept design begins with a study of the client’s needs, starting on the base level of whether they require a retrofit for an existing MRF or to develop an entirely new facility.

From there, Wastech looks at the client’s required volumes, tonnes per year and what waste streams the proposed plant will be dealing with.

Mike places high importance on this initial stage, noting the significant variability of waste streams and therefore the customer’s equipment needs.

“Understanding the composition of the waste stream is key as it informs all equipment purchasing decisions,” Mike says.

“For example, what kind of screening is needed? Does the client require optical sorting? Are they dealing with coloured or uncoloured containers? Are they dealing with both?”

Following this, Wastech examines what outputs the client is looking for in relation to desired end markets and purity.   

“Looking at material process flow involves working out how the MRF will achieve the client’s specified requirements, most significantly the levels of purity needed to achieve the finished product,” Mike says.

“We formulate a material process flow and mass balance analysis, which then helps us determine what equipment is needed, and then we review that in detail with the client.”   

Through a partnership with CP Group, an American separation and material recovery equipment manufacturer, Wastech is able to support MRFs for commingled recyclables, municipal solid waste, construction and demolition material, commercial and industrial waste, waste-to-energy operations and e-waste.

Wastech offers a range of screening equipment, notably the OCC Screen which automatically separates cardboard from other fibres and containers.

The company also provides optical sorting sensors, collection hoods to transport handpicked film, eddy currents for nonferrous material, metering drums, air drum separators, silo blowers, trommel screens, balers and conveyor belts.

“Following the initial design presentation, we can adjust and modify equipment choices,” Mike says.

“Once the client is happy and following multiple reviews of the initial concept and design, we conduct a number of site visits where we measure the existing or proposed facility to figure out how the equipment will best fit into the space.”

Following this, Mike says Wastech develops a 3D model for the client, which allows them to fully visualise the proposal.

“We find 3D visualisations to be a much more effective communication tool than simple facts and figures or drawings,” Mike says.

The next stage is the tender process, where Wastech provides a quote for the facility’s realisation.

“When we’re working with clients on the design and concept over a period time, be it local government or private companies, a real trusting relationship is established. They know what we are offering is value for money,” Mike says.   

“In addition to relationship building, we have a long history of delivering MRFs, so clients know if they request a certain level of purity that’s what Wastech will supply.”

Mike says the SUEZ MRF in Bibra Lake, Perth, is a recent example of Wastech’s turnkey process.

Wastech was commissioned to upgrade an already existing SUEZ MRF through the introduction of optical sorting equipment, which, according to Mike, led to a significant increase in efficiency and subsequent output.

A spokesperson for SUEZ said in May that the company is committed to taking action to expand recycling and sorting processes.

“SUEZ’s investment in a state-of-the-art optical sorting system, in partnership with Wastech, is one of the ways we have enhanced our infrastructure to increase our recovery, and therefore recycling rates at our MRF in Bibra Lake,” the spokesperson said.

“This investment, alongside working with our customers, has allowed us to ensure contamination is kept to a minimum and helped to keep the kerbside recycling system sustainable.”

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City of Mandurah installs hydraulically driven floor

The City of Mandurah has become the first WA local government area to install moving floor technology, reducing operational costs and boosting safety.

Regional councils across Australia have been showing exceptional leadership in recent times, in spite of the challenges of working in smaller communities that produce less waste.

Within these communities there are champions of waste management, willing to investigate, trial and invest in new technologies that will future-proof their resources for decades to come.

From NSW’s Albury City Council, which is on track to halve its waste by 2020, to Shoalhaven City Council’s recent investment in a first-of-its-kind mixed waste processing facility, regional councils across the nation are leading by example.

At the end of 2018, the coastal City of Mandurah, located an hour away from Perth, made a bold decision to invest $1.25 million in a hydraulically driven floor conveyance system at its Waste Management Centre.

As the existing concrete pit was showing signs of deterioration, the council risked closing its tipping shed for a significant period of time by repairing the existing piece of infrastructure. The Waste Management Centre has been around since 1997 and processes commercial and industrial and municipal solid waste.

The team spent two years investigating a variety of options before opting for moving floor technology, a system that would not only reduce the city’s reliance on staff-operated front end loaders, but improve safety and lower operational costs. It also allows its waste processing capacity to increase from 55,000 to 75,000 tonnes per annum.

Kyle Boardman, Coordinator Waste Management at the City of Mandurah, says the city was aware of moving floor technology being used in Tasmania and Melbourne. Back in 2012, the city had installed a static compactor and compaction trailers, with turnkey specialists Wastech Engineering winning the contract through a competitive tender process.

The Wastech team had proved to be a reliable service provider for the city and was successful in a tender for the moving floor technology. The company knew the ins and outs of the city’s Waste Management Centre, having visited it multiple times over the years to install the compactor and deliver the compaction trailers.

“We’d had a number of dealings with Wastech, which helped a great deal,” Kyle explains.

Two moving floors were installed onsite in September 2018, servicing both residential and commercial waste. The commercial waste moving floor is located within the existing push pit, with the residential moving floor located on the adjoining tipping floor. The interconnected moving planks are driven by hydraulic rams which move forward and backwards, allowing the waste to travel smoothly along the floor.

It is unique in that when the planks move forward, they move together, but when they retract, they do so in a series of three distinct movements.

“This allows the waste to stay in its original position so it remains stationary while the planks move backwards, and then it moves forward together,” Kyle says.

Another benefit of the floors is the ability to run them in reverse, allowing material to be shifted to the start of the floor while more is loaded in front of it.

The moving floors are safe enough to run while loads continue to be loaded into the pit, another benefit to increasing throughput and speeding up vehicle movements onsite.

The waste then flows into a hopper connected to the static compactor, which loads the compaction trailers.

“In the past, a front-end loader was required to push the waste into a hopper.

“Now, a front-end loader is not required as the waste moves automatically along the floor and into the hopper.”

Kyle says the front-end loader can now be released to manage other waste stockpiles onsite.

“One of the key advantages of the system is the design incorporates a large metal resource recovery deck at the end of the residential moving floor. That allowsrecovery of recyclable materials from the residential waste stream whereas before, once it went in the pit, there was no recovery at all.”

He adds that this allows the recovery of scrap metal, e-waste, cardboard and hazardous waste from the municipal waste stream. Kyle says the new design lets the city do that safely.

The moving floor technology seamlessly integrates with the existing compaction infrastructure, reducing loading times for compaction trailers and stress on the compaction unit. The technology will also allow the facility to handle additional waste volumes as the city grows.

Wastech moving floors are hydraulically powered via a 30-kilowatt power pack and floor speeds can be varied to suit high throughputs during peak loading periods. In addition to a faster and more efficient means of moving waste, the technology has the ability to improve vehicle queuing time. Leak-proof pits can be installed according to council requirements, whether it’s a deep pit for more than 1200 tonnes a day, shallow pit for 20 to 500 tonnes a day, ground pit for low volumes or a combination of all of the above to suit mixed waste streams.

While it’s still early days for the Waste Management Centre, Kyle predicts the moving floor technology will save on maintenance costs and provide a measurable benefit in resource recovery.

“Wastech has always been very professional to deal with. They promptly assisted in resolving any issue that arose with the static compaction or compaction trailers,” Kyle says.

“Maintenance is critical to the operation of the site and Wastech have a service arm to maintain the compaction system and moving floor, with local contractors who provide support.”

He says the city’s officers would have no hesitation in turning to Wastech in the future should they require any further upgrades.