Measurement of the quality of the paper to be recycled

Italy: objective quality


Twelve new automatic devices for measuring the quality of the paper to be recycled have been installed in Italy so as to increase the capacity and quality of the recycling process in Italian paper mills: team work which has seen some Italian companies, paper mills and others, under the guidance of Assocarta and the support of Comieco, working on an ambitious project which has made Italy stand out in the field of managing waste recycling.

The installation of the first twelve automatic devices for measuring the quality of paper to be recycled has been completed in Italy. A year and a half after the launch of the installation programme in the factories at Cartesar, Cartiera Ciacci, Cartiere del Polesine, Cartiere Modesto Cardella, DS Smith Paper Italia, Pro.Gest, Reno De Medici and Smurfit Kappa Italia and SRI Società Recupero Imballaggi, twelve automatic infra-red systems have been integrated into the companies’ quality control systems and are operating at full capacity, analysing each load of paper to be recycled which comes into the production plants.

Companies which – alone – represent about half the recycled paper produced in Italy. Thanks to the intervention of Comieco, which, two years ago, issued a call for the supply of these automatic machines, Italy is now the world leader for the number of working systems. The installation of this 4.0 technology in other Italian paper mills is expected in the next few months.

Systems which meet CEPI recommendations

The test period has shown that the devices are fully reliable and that the data accuracy obtained is in line with the standards provided in the guidelines which Assocarta in March 2015 and with the technical specifications recommended by the manufacturer. Moreover, the systems installed meet the suggestions provided by CEPI dell’Industria Cartaria Europea [Confederation of European Paper Industries]) and are now the subject of a standard currently being defined at CEN [European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation] level.

In this development period the operators have concentrated, in particular, on the measurement of humidity parameters and plastic material content, carrying out, overall, thousands of comparisons in parallel with traditional laboratory techniques. In the future similar results are expected also for measurements of ash and lignin (pulp) content.

The advantages of this evaluation

It is undoubtedly the possibility for a paper mill to have information on what enters the factory, how much material there really is net of humidity and plastic, and how much paper can be produced from this material: a tool which allows any negotiations with the supplier to be carried out on the basis of objective rather than subjective factors, and which protects both parties.