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Plastics recycling: Laser robot can sort six different plastics

Laser sensing technology that can distinguish between six different kinds of plastics has been jointly developed by IDEC (European office: Hamburg / Germany; www.idec.com) and PARC (the Photonics Advanced Research Center at Osaka University / Japan).

The optical technology, which uses reflections from lasers of five different wavelengths, has been combined with robot technology from Mitsubishi Electric Engineering (MEE, Tokyo / Japan; www.mitsubishi.com) to develop what is claimed to be the first plastics sorting robot. The machine can sort PE and PP, which are not distinguishable by the human eye.

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