Characterise-to-Sort (CtS) is an innovative technology specifically developed for the inline characterisation of complex heterogeneous material streams. 

Currently, VITO is upscaling the technology to industrial level, to determine the value of entire truckloads of waste without the need for expensive and time-consuming laboratory analyses. To showcase the industrial relevance of the new and innovative characterisation technology, VITO has set up a project with Ghent University and Suez and Umicore. Once the project is completed, VITO will introduce the technology as a service to the market.

How does Characterise-to-Sort work?

A bit like a metal detector that is used in an airport. Waste particles on a conveyor belt are screened by a colour camera, a 3D laser scanner and X-rays. The device recognises individual particles by means of machine learning and artificial intelligence and attributes various parameters, such as material class, shape, texture and mass. The device creates a digital twin of each sample.

A digital twin of your entire waste stream with great insights:

  • How many different materials can be found in the waste?
  • What is the nature of these materials?
  • How large are the particles and what is their shape?
  • What is the mass of each individual particle in your waste?
  • What is the value of your waste?

The benefits of characterise-to-sort

  • More precise value of the waste
  • Increased re-use and/or recycling of waste
  • Improved recycling processes
  • Development of new recycling process
  • Quality of recycled materials guaranteed

Tests have shown that Characterise-to-sort already recognises 99 % of the main particles of demolition waste correctly.  

Provides added value for

  • Waste-processing companies
  • Waste collection companies

Creating added value from waste using artificial intelligence

Even today, waste is not being recycled in the most effective way. The quality of waste materials is often difficult to measure.

Once you know exactly what your waste stream contains, you can recycle it more efficiently. Characterise-to-Sort is a detection device that identifies each individual waste particle. VITO has combined a variety of sensors within the device and developed a smart software package to interpret the scans. Not only will you get insights in the substances that can be found in your waste stream, you can also determine the value of the waste and simulate new recycling processes.