Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


`Artificial vision` for recycling copper


The technological centre Robotiker from Zamudio (Basque Country) has developed a system of artificial sight to separate metals that come with copper, in order to obtain high purity copper.

It’s in this machine where they recover copper from old cables

To recover copper from old cables it is not something new. However, the recycled copper is not pure, because it is mixed with other metals, such as lead, aluminium and tin. It is quite complicated to separate copper from those components by using mechanical, physical and other methods. Nevertheless it is easy to distinguish impurities through the eyesight.

The recycling of cables has been promoted by the need to change conventional telephone lines. The price of the material obtained from the recycling of electrical and telephone cables depends on the level of purity of the copper. Therefore, the fact of having lead, aluminium and tin along with copper determines the use and, hence, the price of copper.

With the system developed by Robotiker, after several processes the copper cable is divided into small pieces, and that divided copper has a purity of 99 %. The size of those pieces is variable, but usually it has 8-15 mm long, 3-1 mm wide and 1 mm high. When those pieces of the cable go along a belt, a camera with artificial sight can see them and differ them by the colour. If it realises it is not copper, it will reject it.

When copper has a purity of 99 %, it is used for plumbing and heating-systems. However, if it is going to be recycled for electrical use, its purity must be at least of 99.9 %. Thanks to the high purity obtained at the end of this new process, copper can be used for electrolytic processes, that is, for batteries. That was the aim of the companies that have developed the project together with Robotiker; more precisely the aim of Laining Industrial and two companies from the recycling sector Indumental Recycling and Botrade.

Thanks to this leading technique of artificial sight, materials can be separated by colour and shape. The result of this project (reduction of impurities from 10 to 1 with 1,000 Kg/hour flows) allows to expand in future such systems to other recycling processes.

Garazi Andonegi | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Etching Microstructures with Lasers
25.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Applying electron beams to 3-D objects
23.09.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>