Numerical investigation of optical sorting using the discrete element method
Automated optical sorting systems are important devices in the growing field of bulk solids handling. The initial sorter calibration and the precise optical sorting of many materials is still very time consuming and difficult. A numerical model of an automated optical belt sorter is presented in this study. The sorter and particle interaction is described with the Discrete Element Method (DEM) while the separation phase is considered in a post processing step. Different operating parameters and their influence on sorting quality are investigated. In addition, two models for detecting and predicting the particle movement between the detection point and the separation step are presented and compared, namely a conventional line scan camera model and a new approach combining an area scan camera model with particle tracking.