TOMRA Sorting Tobacco developed the world’s first tobacco sorting machine integrating string removal, small product fragmentation, metal detection, and product singulation / monolayer formation, all within one compact machine: the Cerberus.
TOMRA developed Cerberus in conjunction with Italian tobacco machinery manufacturer COMAS, and TOMRA’s Cerberus is the first of its kind and makes it an exemplary piece of advanced tobacco sorting technology. Cerberus uses COMAS’s industry proven SRS-type string removal system which contains a set of scalping rollers fitted with Velcro strips to agitate the product and remove any strings.
Following this, a precision-engineered set of disc-type rollers installed in cascade combine with high speed accelerating belts to gradually increase the speed of the product. This creates an optimal monolayer spread of tobacco product which is essential for further downstream sorting techniques. The roller set-up also ensures that small tobacco fragments are segregated from larger tobacco parts, which are known to be the most contaminated product fraction. This bi-directional belt underneath the rollers then provides the option to either process the small tobacco fragments separately or keep them combined with the product over the rollers.
The product monolayer is then processed further by passing an electromagnetic (EM) sensor which detects both ferrous and non-ferrous items at an accuracy level beyond what is achievable with existing systems. TOMRA Sorting Tobacco is able to deliver this by combining Cerberus’s EM sensor with its SUPPIX image processing technology which has been successfully used by TOMRA’s global recycling business for over 15 years.
Where other systems use one large drop flap to remove contaminants, Cerberus combines the EM sensor and SUPPIX technology to allow it to employ extremely accurate high pressure air valves to expel metal fragments.
Cerberus also significantly reduces both the floor space needed to accommodate such a system and the amount of equipment which requires cleaning and maintenance, as it is much more compact and has fewer components than the traditional multiple ring loop metal detection and conveyor machines currently available.