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Innovative technologies for the economically sound identification and sorting of post-consumer textile


- Analysis of technological influence parameters, development of a main concept,
- the feasibility of NIR identification has proven to be adequate,
- laboratory prototype,
- test results have shown an acceptable performance on the quality of separation, identification and sorting at a17.000 tons/year throughput,
- final report contribution,
- master plan for an industrial scale prototype as reference for a demonstration project.
In the European Union, consumers discard every year 5,8 million tons of textiles. At the moment only about 1,5 million tons (25%) of these post consumer textiles are recycled by charity and industrial enterprises. About 1million tons are exported directly to Third World countries: about 0,5 million tons are converted to various products and sold inside the European Union. Their mining 4,3 million tons (75%) of these post consumer textiles are land filled or burnt in municipal waste incinerators, representing an enormous unused source of raw materials. Of the 500.000 tons that is recycled, the main applications are wiping rags, fibre production and application in the paper industry. The aim of this project is to increase the amount of post consumer textile that is being recycled by 10%. In other words the recycling percentage aggrandises from 25% to 35%, e.g. 500.000 tons yearly extra.

Three technologies will be used for the identification of fibrous raw material and dye/finish:
1. Near Infra Red (NIR);
2. Thermal Impulse Response (TIR);
3. Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS). Combined these three techniques should be able to identify the raw material of the textile with a 90%accuracy. For the identification of textile raw material two parallel developments will take place. The first will be the development of the LIBS/TIR technology. A combination of these technologies will enable the proper identification of the raw material and the hazardous components in either the dye or the textile. Next to this the NIR technology will be further developed and adapted for identification of textiles and textile finishes. Since NIR is a technique that has been successful applied in many areas it is held that it can also be applied in the textile industry. The concept of identifying fibrous raw material of textiles and sorting it into different fractions is new. However this concept can be applied in other areas as well. Not only post consumer textiles can be recycled, but other textile waste as well. Next to this, the specific identified streams of textile can be used for the development of new end products in other industries. However the developed identification methods can be used as quality control as well. Verifying the nature of the blends that are Imported from other countries. Thereby reducing the probability of expensive lawsuits afterwards, where mutual recriminations are settled by an arbiter.

Funding Scheme

CRS - Cooperative research contracts


S. Frankenhuis & Zn. B.V.
Salomon Frankenhuis Rotonde
7481 JP Haaksbergen

Participants (7)

AIS Sommer GmbH
23560 Schenefeld
Hörotron GmbH
25337 Elmshorn
Hollerithallee 8
30419 Hannover
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek
2600 JA Delft
Technische Universität Chemnitz
Reichenhainer Strasse
09126 Chemnitz
Tecno-Partners B.V.
G. V.d. Muelenweg
7440 AJ Nijverdal
Wolfgang Mayer Messtechnik
76327 Pfinztal