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Recycling Aluminium with TOMRA

Updated: May 2, 2023

Being a lightweight, energy-efficient, and infinitely recyclable material, aluminium is the perfect material to meet stringent sustainability goals. Similar to the development in the plastics industry, aluminium producers are now increasingly marketing high recycled content aluminium. The demand for aluminium has therefore risen steadily over recent years. With both car industry and construction increasingly looking for more sustainable options, high quality recycled aluminium will be heavily sought after in the future.

Aluminium scraps are often heavily contaminated

However, the contamination of many products complicates the production of consistently high purity furnace-ready aluminium for scrap metal processors and aluminium producers. To achieve this level of purity and to optimise the use of scrap in furnaces, the infeed material needs to be cleaned of heavy metals, aluminium-plastic compounds and other light material.

A major source of scrap aluminium is the mixed non-ferrous material Zorba. Zorba primarily consists of aluminium, but also of non-ferrous metals like copper, brass, zinc, and magnesium and additionally contains some non-metallic contaminants such as rubber and foil. This composition makes it extremely difficult to recycle Zorba into high-purity aluminium scrap.

The new X-TRACT by TOMRA recycles contaminated aluminium

To successfully clean incoming products like Zorba, the Norwegian company TOMRA developed a new application for its X-TRACT unit, with which aluminium can now be separated reliably from contaminating materials.

This system uses existing TOMRA XRT x-ray technology but in a new configuration so that it is capable of sorting material of different density levels. It can thus separate light materials, aluminium-plastic compounds and magnesium from aluminium to create furnace ready products. While the system can also sort wrought aluminium from cast aluminium, especially the separation from magnesium is an important step, as earlier technology couldn’t recognise the difference between the materials.

With hundreds of tonnes of material, TOMRA has tested its system heavily in its test centres and in-field testing and achieved consistently high purity rates of up to 99%.


Meet the increased market demand with the new XTRACT

With the new configuration of the XTRACT, aluminium processors and producers can now reliably meet the increased market demand for high quality recycled aluminium. Moreover, magnesium-free aluminium can now be produced without problems. Being by far the most consistent solution on the market, TOMRA’s X-TRACT unit vastly enhances the market opportunities for processors who can sell their furnace-ready products across the full-size fraction spectrum.


Founded in 1972, TOMRA designs and manufactures sensor-based sorting technologies for the global recycling and waste management industry. With over 6000 systems installed in over 100 countries, TOMRA is an industry pioneer dedicated to extracting high purity fractions from waste streams that maximise both yield and profits. In Australia, TOMRA is represented and distributed by CEMAC technologies.

CEMAC technologies

03 8400 6066


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