Environmental service company Balcones Resources has selected San Diego-based CP Group as the equipment provider for Austin, Texas-based Balcones’ materials recovery facility (MRF) in San Antonio, Texas. Set to open in 2024, the facility aims to significantly increase the city’s recycling capacity.
“The MRF will enable the city and the business community to make major progress toward their recycling goals,” says Joaquin Mariel, Balcones’ chief commercial officer. More of the recoverable plastic, metal, glass, cardboard, and other materials in the recycling bins will go to an end market that can add value to San Antonio’s program. “The same will be true for any hauler or neighboring community that will use the Balcones San Antonio MRF as their recycling partner,” Mariel adds.
With only 5–10 manual sorters, the equipment represents the latest in automation and technology in the industry. The MRF will have a processing capacity of 50 tons per hour and will service both residential and commercial recycling streams in the city of San Antonio. It will be integrated with the ability to receive and bale high volumes of post-commercial, post-industrial paper, and plastic to benefit the region’s growing distribution infrastructure.
“CP Group has been a tremendous partner throughout this process,” says Adam Vehik, Balcones CEO. “Their team collaborated closely with us to design a best-in-class system that would provide superior recovery rates and economic value to the city of San Antonio, and we knew that their reputation of reliability and consistent performance would serve to strengthen our proposal.”
One of the advancements will be implementing CP’s auger screens, which eliminate the presort station. A primary CP auger screen will be used to scalp 6 inches minus material, and two patented OCC Auger Screens will scalp 8 inches minus material and produce a clean OCC (old, corrugated cardboard/container) product.
Located ahead of any sorters, these three machines allow for downstream sorting efficiency of fractionated material streams. “Fractionation,” a term CP uses to describe its auger screens, concerns splitting the inbound material stream into large and small fractions, so they are more homogenous and manageably sized.
The auger screens remove OCC and other large materials from the remainder of the automated recovery process. The material that’s removed in this process is like the material removed from a presort stations including bulky ridges, bulky metal, residue, and cardboard. The material that moves on includes mixed paper, small OCC containers, and glass.
Those materials head to a four-deck Glass Breaker Screen and LightsOut™ ADS to remove and clean glass. After the glass is removed, material goes through two high-volume disc screens—a CP Anti-Wrap Screen™ for the mid-size fraction, and a CPScreen™ for the small fraction material. These screens help liberate conjoint material and fines such as dirt or grit. Disc screens split material by mechanical properties so the downstream automated sorting equipment can achieve the highest efficiencies.
The system will use a high degree of sorting automation including five MSS FiberMax™ optical sorters, which run at 1,000 feet per minute on 112-inch belts. Depending on the unit’s position in the MRF, these machines will use different sorting recipes to sort fiber, OCC, and contaminants.
On the container line, three MSS PlasticMax™ optical sorters will sort PET, HDPE, and PP plastics. A magnet will remove ferrous material and an eddy current will remove nonferrous. Two MSS artificial intelligence (AI) units will be used to quality control containers, specifically PET and aluminum.
The system will incorporate CP’s new silo designs, which include leveling augers and silo augers. Having the augers in silos will provide maximum use of space and an accurate material source to the baling lines to eliminate half bales or bale re-runs. The facility will have three balers, one single ram for cardboard and two two-ram balers.
“We’ve incorporated the latest and greatest in MRF technology and automation into this design,” says Branden Sidwell, CP Group design engineer. “The system will be operational with as few as five sorters. This exceptionally low headcount comes thanks to material fractionating along with the automated recovery and quality control of nearly every commodity.”
The San Antonio site and building design are focused on rapid turnaround time for city collections, haulers, outbound recipients of baled commodities, and businesses. “This building is not a typical MRF,” Mariel says. “It is a recycling campus with a Class A-quality office building, a community recycling drop-off center, educational facilities, employee amenities, and a modern and sustainable architectural design that will add to the general building landscape of the city.”
Photo Caption: Balcones San Antonio front-end rendering. Courtesy of CP Group.