Digitalizing the recycling stream of lamps: Using blue light and electromagnetic induction, lamp waste can be detected with up to 100% accuracy. The investigations were carried out in cooperation with OUT e.V.
EucoLight, the European Association of collection and recycling organizations for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) lamps and lighting, has carried out successfully a study with Fraunhofer IZM on the technical feasibility for the automatic identification of lamp types in the collected lamps waste stream for recycling.
The study focused on the technology assessment for the separation of collected End-of-Life (EoL) lamps, more specifically the technical possibilities for separating conventional gas discharge lamps (GDLs) from conventional light-emitting diode (LED) lamps. The project consisted of first a theoretical phase in which technological possibilities for sorting methods were explored and described. Based on this potential analysis, following the testing phase, concentrate on static and dynamic testing with three promising sorting technologies.
Ultimately, however, only two methods, the blue light, and electromagnetic induction tests were considered promising and carried out in detail. Test results showed: The correct detection of non-broken GDLs totaled 100 percent in the electromagnetic alternating field. Broken GDLs cannot light up in the electromagnetic alternating field, since the gas has escaped, which is needed to generate the light in combination with the mercury.
The tests with the electromagnetic coil have also shown that the large chip area of the LED filament lamps can light up due to induction, this should be excluded by employing filters in the Hg and Arranges. The correct detection of LED lamps amounted to 60-90 percent with blue light. The recognition rate can be increased by aligning the lamps so that they can be lit directly and with sensitive optical sensors which require further testing. Since a few GDLs also showed a reaction to the blue light, these exceptions would have to be sorted out manually or via image recognition. The use of filters for certain spectral lines would not be suitable here, since the LEDs and GDLs that light up while being exposed to blue light do not show any difference in emitted wavelengths.
After all, a combination of both methods e.g. integrated into one optical detection lens leads to a promising approach for a practical application enhancing existing recycling plants or newly designed technologies.
In particular, Fraunhofer IZM investigated the success rate of the electromagnetic approach and also recommends combining it with optical detection. Using samples from one of the German lamp treatment plants, it was successfully demonstrated that the combination of sensitive optical sensors, electromagnetic induction, and selection via blue light improves the sorting and recycling process not only in terms of quality but also in terms of processor speed.
The study is available to the public and can be found under www.eucolight.org/eucolight-publications. Based on the knowledge generated by this study EucoLight hopes to initiate the development of recycling processes to make them more efficient and to gain a high level of materials to be reused.
EucoLight is The European association of collection and recycling organizations for WEEE lamps and lighting. On behalf of its members, EucoLight engages with everything related to the WEEE Directive, legislations and standards affecting the collection and recycling of WEEE lighting. Its members collect and recycle, in aggregate,80% of the lamp waste collected in the 19 countries in which they operate. EucoLight is the voice of European WEEE compliance schemes specialized in managing the collection and recycling of WEEE lighting; working to make the circular economy a reality for lighting products. EucoLight has 19 PRO members: AMBILAMP (Spain); Appliances Recycling SA (Greece); Ecolamp (Italy); Ecosystem (France); Ekogaisma (Estonia); Ekolamp s.r.o. (Czech Republic); Ekolamp Slovakia, Ekosij ZEOS (Slovenia); Electrão (Portugal); Electro-Coord (Hungary); ElektroEko (Poland); FLIP (Finland); Lightcycle (Germany); LightRec (Netherlands); LWF (Denmark); Recolamp (Romania); Recolight (UK); Recupel (Belgium); UFH (Austria) and one affiliate member, LightingEurope. Founded in mid-2015, EucoLight has quickly embarked into constructive dialogue with relevant stakeholders to provide expertise in the field of management and treatment of WEEE lighting and to promote the positive role of Extended Producer Responsibility schemes on the environment and society.
For more information, visit the EucoLight website www.eucolight.org, follow EucoLight on Twitter (@EucoLight), or contact the Secretary General, Marc Guiraud (email@example.com)