Posted / December 20, 2022
Sortera Alloys Hits Above 95% Accuracy Milestone Sorting Mixed Aluminum Scrap into High-Quality End Products
Completion of New Sorting Facility in Markle on Track for Q1 2023; Will Increase Processing Capacity to 150 million lbs. of Mixed Aluminum Scrap Annually
FORT WAYNE, Ind. and MARKLE, Ind., Dec. 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Sortera Alloys, Inc., an innovative industrial scrap metal sorting company with a recycling platform powered by artificial intelligence, data analytics, and advanced sensors, today announced that it has achieved high-quality sorting of pre-production aluminum with more than 95% accuracy. These results validate that Sortera’s advanced deep-technology platform consisting of vision and other advanced hardware sensors driven by a software stack in both machine learning and artificial intelligence can handle complex sorting effectively and efficiently, specifically processing end-of-life mixed alloys by category and chemical composition. This allows the company to upcycle these materials back into the supply chain to be reused without losing the integrity and compound make-up of the materials, contributing to the circular economy of North America, and lowering the carbon and environmental impact to the planet.
Sortera’s sorting platform sorts, captures, and recycles existing streams of mixed aluminum scrap into high-quality aluminum end products. The high-quality aluminum scrap created by Sortera is recirculated back into the manufacturing process to be used in high-value applications, such as automotive cast and flat-rolled products and building, construction, and aerospace extrusions. The company’s low-cost, highly-scalable sorting process enables aluminum manufacturers to use roughly only 5% of the energy required to manufacture aluminum alloys from virgin material, enabling customers to reduce their CO₂ footprint and pursue sustainability and circular production goals.
“Our technology platform produces extremely high-resolution datasets that include information such as size, shape, texture, and chemical composition, for every single piece of scrap that is processed. The ability to resolve the aluminum alloy chemical composition within fractions of one percent, in real time, enables high classification sorting accuracies to be achieved. In this fashion, Sortera’s robotic industrial machinery can place each unique aluminum alloy into a different sorting bin, with a high throughput. Sortation of the mixed scrap pieces into unique aluminum alloys enables novel circular economies in the automotive industry to be created, which does not currently exist in the North American market,” stated Manuel Garcia, Jr. Co-Founder and Vice President of AI and Data Science for Sortera Alloys.
Sortera’s expansion into its new 200,000 sq. ft. processing facility in Markle, IN and hiring talent is on track with processing ramping up in Q1 2023. The Markle facility is a significant milestone for Sortera, as it looks to scale its operations and capture a significant portion of the 4 billion lbs. of scrap aluminum, which have been traditionally shipped abroad for processing or downgraded into lower-quality secondary materials. Sortera is creating new scrap packages that have previously been unavailable due to lack of technology; alloy scrap that was previously downgraded can know be upgraded. The new facility will be able to sort multiple alloys in one pass, which no one in the world is doing right now.
“As we improve on our technology and processes, we are thrilled to learn that our team has recently sorted mixed aluminum with greater than 95% accuracy. The ability to recycle scrap alloy into high-purity recycled feedstock used in key industries not only ensures that we can provide our customers with the materials they need in their respective industries, but also establishes our role as a strong player in the circular economy as we make significant contributions to combating climate impact,” said Michael Siemer, CEO, Sortera Alloys. “Aluminum is one of the few industrial materials that can be infinitely recycled and reused if its scrap can be sorted with accuracy, and our technology platform has proven that it can. Once we complete our Markle facility, it will be a key component that will allow us to target the largest untapped source of aluminum scrap in the North America market, minimizing the need to mine virgin metals and ultimately eliminate the need to export this for processing into lower grade metals. Although our technology platform was developed for the aluminum industry, it has applications in other industries where novel circular economies can be created; such as in the plastics, textile, paper, agricultural, and the MSW industries.”
The future of carbon reduction in the aluminum industry begins with the upcycling of end-of-life aluminum scrap. Sortera enables sorting of mixed aluminum materials, which have historically been downgraded, to now be upcycled, reducing the volume of primary aluminum needed in aluminum alloy products, such as Sheet and Extrusions, while lowering the cost of alloying additives in secondary aluminum alloys. The additional gains in operational improvements are the icing on the cake; less trips to the furnace mean savings all around and is good environmental stewardship.