The global optical sorter market is projected to generate USD 5,325.9 million revenue by 2030, advancing at a CAGR of 9.7% during 2022–2030. This can be ascribed to the increasing adoption of sorters in the food industry, stringent government regulations regarding food safety, and the growing focus on automation in various industries for increasing productivity.
Optical sorters are used in a variety of applications in several industries, such as the separation of plastics by any color and resin type, removing non-glass contaminants including metals and ceramics, and sorting of mixed glass by color (green, amber, blue, and flint). These are also helped in the separation of contaminants including PVC or metals from mixed waste streams and the recovery of steel, ferrous, and non-ferrous metals from auto shredder residue and pre-shredded metal scrap.
The food industry held the largest revenue share, of 40%, in 2022. This is mainly because these sorters can maximize recovery and yield, decrease the wastage of food, and ensure primary quality. The best-suited machine used in the industry is the camera-sorting machine, which is most effective for frozen food, vegetables, and organic products. Also, infrared cameras are more beneficial for sorting, as these can discover specifics that are not get differentiated by visible light.
Moreover, the demand for optical sorters is increasing, due to the rising need for packaged food around the world. For instance, the requirement for packed food increases by over 90% year-on-year, especially during the holiday season. Also, food wastage is increasing at a very high pace from farmers to food-processing companies levels. This is forcing governments to incorporate these machines since they are helpful in the removal of rotten and unwanted products from the whole lot.
Globally, the APAC market is expected to grow at the highest CAGR in the forecast period. This can be mainly because of the presence of a large population in the region. In 2022, China had the largest population in the world, with more than 1.43 billion people, and India had the second-largest population, with just above 1.4 billion inhabitants. In addition, the region has the presence of major manufacturers of sorting machines, and they are developing various new innovative technologies.
For instance, a Japan-based company Inaba Peanuts Co. Ltd. is continuously improving its product consistency and production volume by acquiring a TOMRA 5B optical sorter. With this, the variation in the quality of food is eliminated and the standard of end products has become stable comparatively. Also, the volume of end products has increased, as machines work faster than laborers.
Moreover, in India, the metal and mining sectors are growing, which, in turn, boosts the demand for sorters. Globally, India is the second-largest crude steel producer, with more than 100 MT of crude steel produced in 2021. Also, the mining industry is one of the strong growth pillars to become a $5,000 billion economy. Further, the government has adopted many initiatives to promote mineral development and exploration, which is increasing the number of blocks up for sale.
The extraction of minerals is selective in a deposit with a high-strip ratio. This leads to the loss of a large amount of valuable minerals. Thus, optical sorting is used to process the whole extracted deposit, which recovers a higher proportion of the beneficial mineral, which would be lost otherwise. Hence, the demand for optical sorters is increasing in the mining sector.
Major players operating in the optical sorter market include TOMRA Systems ASA, Bühler AG, Hefei Meyer Optoelectronic Technology Inc., Satake Corporation, Allgaier Werke GmbH, Key Technology, STEINERT GmbH, Aweta, Pellenc ST, and Techik Group.