A machine branded with the Bühler logo, labelled 'SORTEX N PolyVision'.

Bühler and Pellenc ST are collaborating on a front and back-end solution for PET bottle and flake sorting, hoping to improve and future-proof PET recyclers’ processing activities with a new Demo and Applications Centre opening in November.

Combining Bühler’s PET flake sorting solutions – the SORTEX N PolyVision and the SORTEX A GlowVision – with Pellenc ST’s Mistral+ Connect bottle sorter, the companies have recently signed a North America agent agreement and anticipate that a joint Demo and Applications Centre utilising the SORTEX A GlowVision sorter will open there next month.

It is hoped that this development will make a contribution to a circular economy in PET production, as well as allowing the companies to make further investments in R&D; it is claimed that 5% of Bühler’s annual turnover goes into R&D investment, and that 35% of Pellenc ST’s total staff headcount works in R&D.

Carlos Cabello, sales director of Digital Technologies and lead of Bühler in Northern Europe, states: “This alliance has been set up to streamline the sorting process for PET plastics recyclers, providing one port of call for our companies’ collective customer base. We look forward to the collaboration between the teams on both sides.

“Our Sales Managers, Field Engineers, and Research and Development (R&D) experts will all be working together as a united force to shake up and add new value to the plastics market!”

“We share a complementary product portfolio that combines our strengths and provides a stronger service,” adds Nicolas Deleris, sales director of Plastics Recycling at Pellenc ST. “We also share a long-term vision with a lot of collective experience which has given us market maturity. We hope that our collaboration will be beneficial for recycling and promising for clients.”

Jean Henin, CEO of Pellenc ST, summarises: “By combining the best of both companies, we are strengthening the industry and delivering the best possible customer experience. This partnership will bring confidence into processing and increased quality for the market, both of which are much needed.

“There are also a number of long-term digital benefits of our partnership. In joining forces today, we’re preparing for the future – this is a long-term partnership with our customers’ best interests at its core.”

The announcement comes after Pellenc ST partnered with Ampacet to produce REC-NIR-BLACK, an alternative black masterbatch said to allow dark PET packaging to be sorted on existing recycling lines.

Last year, RecyClass announced its Sorting Evaluation Protocol for Plastic Packaging to analyse the sorting behaviour of post-consumer plastics, including PET bottles and trays. It was followed by a collaboration with the European PET Bottle Platform earlier this year, aiming to transition into PET bottle production that maximises recyclability.