Brussels, 15 June 2022 – The Digital Watermarks Initiative HolyGrail 2.0, driven by AIM – European Brands Association and powered by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, has achieved a new significant milestone with the successful semi-indutrial validation of its second prototype detection unit combining digital watermarks and NIR detection. Developed by the machine vendor Tomra and the digital watermarks technology supplier Digimarc, the detection unit demonstrated high results across all tested categories of plastic/fibre-based packaging material of 99% detection, 96% ejection and 93% purity rates, on average. The industrial scaled tests are planned to start in 2022.
Timeline and detailed results
The semi-industrial tests of the Tomra/Digimarc prototype started in March 2022 at the Tomra Headquarters in Germany. The purpose was to evaluate the technology by replicating real-world industrial conditions. Success criteria included detection efficiency, ejection efficiency, purity, prototype stability and routine function, ease of programming the sorting operation, and counting capabilities of the prototype.
Final validation tests were completed this month at the headquarters of Tomra, with the following results.
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About Digital Watermarks Initiative HolyGrail 2.0
The Digital Watermarks Initiative HolyGrail 2.0 – driven by AIM - European Brands Association and powered by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste – is a pilot project with the objective to prove the technical viability of digital watermarks for accurate sorting of packaging waste as well as the economic viability of the business case at large-scale. Digital watermarks are imperceptible codes, the size of a postage stamp, covering the surface of a consumer goods packaging and carrying a wide range of attributes. The aim is that once the packaging has entered into a waste sorting facility, the digital watermark can be detected and decoded by a high-resolution camera on the sorting line, which then – based on the transferred attributes (e.g. food vs. non-food) – is able to sort the packaging in corresponding streams. This would result in better and more accurate sorting streams, thus consequently in higher quality recyclates benefiting the complete packaging value chain.