New application for trinamiX near infrared spectroscopy solution: Plastic sorting made easy

trinamiX GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of BASF, has developed a new application for their mobile near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy solution. With the help of the unique combination of a handy measuring device, intelligent data analysis and a mobile app, plastics can now be precisely determined and differentiated. This facilitates the sorting of components and packaging materials according to plastic and thus recycling and reusability. That pays off, both for the environment and for users.
NIR spectroscopy technology is proven and used in laboratories all over the world; new and innovative is the portable format and the combination with data analysis in the cloud. A little larger than a cell phone, the measuring device allows it to be used almost anywhere. “We have packed an established test and analysis procedure in a handy take-along format,” explains Adrian Vogel, Manager Sales and Business Development Spectroscopy Solutions at trinamiX. “The miniaturization and the connection to the cloud make it possible to use NIR spectroscopy anywhere and at any time for extremely precise material determination.”

With the help of trinamiX’s NIR spectroscopy solution, all common plastics can be identified in a matter of seconds. The spectrum ranges from classic polyolefins such as PE, PP and PVC (polyethylene, polypropylene and polyvinyl chloride), to PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which is known as a material for beverage bottles, to engineering plastics such as ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) or PA (polyamide), the differentiation of which is particularly important for recycling companies, especially in blends with other plastics. trinamiX integrates other materials according to customer needs.

Unique combination of portable hardware, data analysis and material know-how

The trinamiX solution, first presented in March 2020, includes the portable NIR spectrometer, data analysis (chemometry) in the cloud and an app for displaying the results and recommendations for action. The individual spectra of the plastics are stored in the cloud. They are compared with the measurement data of the spectrometer in a matter of seconds and the user is informed about the identified plastic directly in the app. The measurement result can be displayed not only on mobile devices, but also on the PC. This enables a quick ad hoc analysis as well as further evaluations and downloads.

Thanks to the flexible system structure, trinamiX adapts its offer to customer and application-specific requirements. Buyers of the trinamiX spectroscopy solution can easily update it, integrate new materials or completely new applications and use continuous improvements – without buying new hardware.

Added value instead of additional costs

Wherever quick identification promises an advantage, the trinamiX solution is a good decision-making aid. In recycling, for example, it is aimed at companies that do not need a large, stationary sorting system, but rather a flexible and mobile solution. The locations are recycling centers, recycling companies and manufacturers of recycled goods. The solution is also interesting for dismantling companies and large dealers. “If valuable plastic waste can be classified and collected separately where it is created, this reduces the transport costs to central sorting systems and thus the CO 2 emissions. In addition, pure plastics can be sold as recyclable materials, ”explains Adrian Vogel, explaining the benefits for the environment and users.