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Optical Sorter Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Camera Sorter, Lasers Sorter, Near Infrared (NIR) Sorters, Hyperspectral Cameras & Combined Sorters, and Others), By End-user (Food and Beverages, Waste Recycling, Mining, Pharmaceutical, and Others), and Regional Forecasts, 2022-2029

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI106849



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The optical sorter market size was valued at USD 2.12 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow from USD 2.21 billion in 2022 to USD 3.61 billion by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period (2022-2029). Asia Pacific accounted for a market value of USD 0.81 billion in 2021. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a decline of 1.9% in 2020 as compared to 2019. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with optical sorter experiencing lower-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The report's scope comprises various optical sorter solutions and products from key players such as TOMRA, BarcoVision, Daewon GSE, BT-Wolfgang Binder, Bühler Sortex, Sesotec, and others. These players offer various sorter products for food recycling and processing applications. Optical sorting machines use a wide range of technologies such as cameras, lighting, and machine learning software for segregating the items. It helps to remove defective products and foreign materials by shape, color, and texture. For instance, Anhui Zhongke Optic-electronic Color Sorter Machinery Co., Ltd. offers plastic color sorter, rice color sorter, mineral color sorter, belt-type color sorter, nuts color sorter, custom color sorter, tea color sorter, and others. Also, Cimbria offers a wide range of advanced technology sorting food grains, seeds, industrial products, and commodities. These players offer advanced technology-based optical sorters for cleaning food grains, seeds, grains, and industrial products. These sorters utilize reflected lights for analyzing the products that have to be segregated.

There is rising demand for the product from food packers, cultivators, and food processing units for optimum sorting systems of items by minimizing wastage. It also reduces the process and delivery time required for sorting food items. These are used for discovering the flaws and distinguishing between different types. These sorters use reflected light with specified wavelengths to emphasize the distinction between rejected and accepted products. These sorters can segregate all the solid materials ranging from 0.1 mm to 100 mm.

Rising adoption and development of the advanced technology-based sorter by the top players aids the optical sorter market growth. This is primarily owing to the surge in adoption from the end-use industries, including pharmaceuticals, recycling, food & beverage industries, and others. For instance,

  • In June 2021, Satake launched an advanced technology-based large quantity sorter for food grain processing in large sizes with high capacity. The new solution launched the NIRAMI series with the latest specification of the sorter. It was designed to sort food grains, seeds, pulses, and many other food products.


Restrictions in Business and International Trade Activities Hindered Market Growth.

The COVID-19 pandemic reflected the downfall of the global market growth due to restrictions on the movement of goods and disruptions in supply chain activities. The disruption in business activities, government's lockdown measures, and limited corporate spending hampered the industry growth. The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak declined the demand owing to the closure of international trade and manufacturing activities. The fast-food industry and restaurants chain have been forced to use the advanced technology-based sorter owing to statewide lockdowns and disruption in the consumer's food shopping patterns. The global market share showed a slight decline in market size by 1.9% in 2020 compared to 2019. In terms of revenue, the market witnessed a decrease in revenue to USD 2.06 billion in 2020.

The COVID-19 outbreak has negatively impacted the major end-use industries such as mining, food & beverage, and others. However, the key players are focused on developing advanced technology-based sorters for these industries amid the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance,

  • In March 2021, TOMRA launched the TOMRA ACT, an advanced user interface with a wide range of image processors and additional data processors. This TOMRA Insight was designed primarily for the food processing industry, enabling improved optical sorting processes and enhancing productivity and profitability.


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Rising Adoption and Development of Advanced Color-based Sorting Machines to Drive Market Growth

Increasing adoption and development of advanced color-based sorting machines by the leading players is expected to drive market growth. High-precision color sorting machines segregate different types of food grains and plastic items in the recycling plants. For instance,

  • In August 2022, Bühler India Ltd. launched its color sorter manufacturing facility in Bühler Bengaluru as its ″Make in India″ project. This advanced facility offers color-based sorter products for customers in this region, an added benefit to manufacturing in India.

  • In March 2021, Hefei Meyer Optoelectronic Technology Inc., a sorter manufacturer, launched DREAM Rice Color Sorter for the food industry. It features a simplified interface with target positioning ability and remote care service available through Meyer Care Application.

Such an increase in the adoption and development of the advanced color sorter among the key players in the market is expected to drive market growth.


Increasing Adoption of Sorter in the Food Processing Industry to Aid Optical Sorter Market Growth

Rising food industry at a rapid pace owing to the global population surge and demand for packaged foods around the globe to aid the market growth. According to the Global Science Research Journals Organization, the processed food industries worldwide are valued at around USD 2 trillion, with more than 4,00,000 businesses globally. This food industry requires an advanced technology-based sorter to remove unwanted food items. 

Furthermore, increasing labor wages in various countries and growing stringent rules and regulations regarding packaged food products are driving market growth. Also, another major driving factor for the development of the sorter is rising food wastage from farmers to food processing manufacturers globally, which forces them to implement these machines as they help to remove the unwanted and rotten food items from a bunch of food products. According to the U.N. Food Waste Index Report 2021, globally, around 931 million tons of food go to waste yearly, with 17% of global total food production. Thus, various food processing manufacturers are adopting advanced technology sorter machines to avoid such wastage of food. Also, the growing focus on automation by the key players in the end-user industry, such as food and beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and others, will aid market growth.


High Costs Associated with Machine Manufacturing to Hinder Market Growth

Sorter machine is widely used in the food and beverages industry for separating defective food products. However, the high cost associated with this machine and lack of demand from small and medium-scale enterprises hinder the market growth. Sorter machine cost starts from USD 10 million, which requires considerable investment for small and medium enterprises. Hence, high prices associated with the sorter's respective food, mining, and recycling industries hinder the market growth.


By Type Analysis

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Rising Camera Sorter Demand across the Food Processing Industry Drives Market Growth

On the basis of type, the market is segmented into camera sorter, laser sorter, Near Infrared (NIR) sorters, hyperspectral cameras & combined sorters, and others (color sorters).

Camera sorter segment is expected to have the largest share in 2021. This is primarily attributed to the rising adoption of these machines across the food processing industries around the globe. Also, camera-based optical sensors facilitate the highest accuracy for sorting out food grains, coffee beans, corn, peanuts, dry fruits, and others. It detects defective pieces with high-resolution cameras to keep the processing well without waste.

Near Infrared (NIR) sorters segment is expected to grow with the highest CAGR owing to the rising demand for advanced technology-based sorters for recycling and food processing units. Several leading players are launching NIR sorter to meet the global demand for advanced sorters for the food processing industry. For instance,

  • In December 2021, NRT launched next-generation SpydIR NIR sorters at Waste Expo. This SpydIR features NIR detection for plastics, fiber film recycling units, and others. This equipment consists of in-flight sorting technology with a continuous auto-calibration system.

Such an increase in the adoption of advanced technology-based sorter aids the global optical sorter market growth.

By End-user Analysis

Rising Demand for Food and Beverages Processing Units from Leading Players Aids the Market Growth

By end-user, the optical sorter market is categorized into food and beverages, waste recycling, mining, pharmaceutical, and others (logistics and nutraceuticals).

Food and beverages segment is projected to hold the largest market share owing to the leading players' rising developments of food grain sorters. Also, rising cereal production and consumption around the globe aids the demand for sorter machines. Optical sorting machines are used to remove unwanted cereal grains and avoid contamination. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Report, in 2021, the world cereal production reached around 927 million tons, increasing productivity by almost 5% compared to 2020. Such an increase in cereals and other food grain production has created a massive demand for the product.

Pharmaceutical segment is expected to grow with the highest CAGR during the forecast period. This is primarily owing to rising demand during the COVID-19 pandemic for sorting essential pharmaceutical drugs and devices. For instance, in July 2020, ECOPACK, an optical sorter manufacturer, launched an optical sorting machine capable of detecting masks and gloves. This sorter helps to fight against the pandemic and to meet the global demand for manufacturing of disposable products such as gloves and masks.


Asia Pacific Optical Sorter Market Size, 2021 USD Billion)

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Geographically, the optical sorter market is fragmented into Asia Pacific, North America, the Middle East & Africa, Europe, and South America. They are further classified into countries.

Asia Pacific is anticipated to account for the largest market share in the global market during the forecast period, owing to the presence of leading optical sorters manufacturers. Also, the region comprises several food processing manufacturers, owing to the large size of the population that drives the market growth in this region. The company operates in this region, and the region consists of Sortex & Rice, Grain Logistics, Grain Milling, Grinding & Dispersion, Leybold Optics, and others. These players are developing advanced sorters for this region's food and recycling plants. For instance,

  • In June 2022, Inaba Peanuts Co., Ltd., Japan-based food processing manufacturer, implemented the TOMRA 5B sorter for production in volumes and product consistency. It is used for sorting various snacks such as cashews, almonds, chestnuts, almonds, fish, dried plums, walnuts, fried beans, and others.

North America is expected to grow at a moderate CAGR during the forecast period. This is owing to the rising demand from waste recycling plants with early adoption and development of the advanced technology-based sorter in this region. For instance,

  • In October 2020 - Key Technology U.S.-based sorter manufacturer introduced an advanced NIR VERYX BioPrint digital optical sorter. The sorter has NIR and hyperspectral detection capabilities with color-sensing cameras. Furthermore, it is used to analyze the higher set of data of the materials and improves the detection performance to maximize processing yield.

Europe is projected to grow with moderate CAGR, owing to rising demand from food and beverage manufacturers across the U.K., Germany, France, and Italy. In Europe, several food processing manufacturers are investing in advanced technology-based sorters to improve packaged food production productivity. According to the European Commission, the European food and beverages exports will be valued at around USD 90 billion in 2021, driving the sorter market growth.

South American countries, such as Brazil, Argentina, and others, are increasing at a slightly moderate rate owing to rising government initiatives and investment in food and beverages and recycling plants. For instance, in February 2022, Braskem petrochemical firm invested around USD 25 million to promote the waste recycling plant for a sustainable economy.

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The Middle East & Africa is growing with moderate CAGR owing to the rising adoption of waste recycling of households and food packaging units in this region. Turkey, Israel, and other Gulf Countries have shown immense growth during the forecast period.


Crucial Players in the Market are Escalating their Processes by Presenting Advanced Optical Sorter

The optical sorter market is consolidated with leading players such as TOMRA, BarcoVision, Daewon GSE, BT-Wolfgang Binder, Bühler Sortex, and others. These crucial players are investing in expanding their operations by implementing corporate tactics such as acquisitions, mergers, partnerships, product launches, and collaborations. For instance,

  • In October 2020, Satake, a U.S. based sorter manufacturer, launched an advanced sorter named FMSR-IR at Pack Expo in Las Vegas. This FMSR-IR series has all-in-one capability with the latest RGB technology, infrared, and shape-sorting capability in one machine. The machine removes unwanted products, including foreign materials, discoloration, and irregular-shaped defects from products such as dry beans, seeds, tree nuts, corn, and plastics.

  • In July 2020, NRT launched ColorPlus sorter with Max-AI capabilities that combine high-resolution color with A.I. technologies. The NRT ColorPlus with Max-AI is integrated with artificial intelligence, creating advanced sorting capabilities for high volumes with identification decision capabilities.

List of Key Companies Profiled:

  • TOMRA (Norway)

  • Buhler Group (Switzerland)

  • Key Technology Inc. (U.S.)

  • Binder (Austria)

  • Satake (U.S.)

  • Allgaier Werke (Germany)

  • Cimbria (Denmark)

  • C.P. Manufacturing (U.S.)

  • GREEFA (Netherlands)

  • NEWTEC (Denmark)

  • National Recovery Technologies (U.S.)


  • June 2022: GRIMME UK partnered with Haith Group to develop the latest technology-based joint project named mobile optical sorter. This project was designed to automate the removal of clod, stone, and foreign debris from potatoes that helps farmers to cope with labor shortages.

  • June 2022: TOMRA launched a premium quality sorting machine with BSI technology for sorting fruits and vegetables.

  • May 2022: Cimbria launched an advanced series of SEA. I.Q. optical sorting machines that combine multi-spectral vision systems and allow users to identify the correct order of items during production. This series is made for all sizes of sorting in food and beverages. This sorter is used for sorting seeds, cereals, coffee, nuts, recycling, and industrial products to deliver quality products.

  • May 2022: Snow Valley Food, a frozen food company in Asia, collaborated with Tomra to implement its sorter technology in its potato sorting plant. 

  • June 2020: Tomra, a global sorter manufacturer, launched the latest advanced sorting model for the recycling units to meet the demand for more efficient, faster, and wiser material sorting. TOMRA found two brand new products, AUTOSORT and AUTOSORT SPEEDAIR, and the company also planned to launch a third new recycling solution called AUTOSORT CYBOT.


An Infographic Representation of Optical Sorter Market

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The optical sorter market report offers qualitative and quantitative insights into the market and a detailed analysis of the size & growth rate for all possible segments in the market. It also elaborates on market research, dynamics, emerging optical sorter industry trends, and the competitive landscape. Key insights offered in the report are the adoption of automation by individual segments, recent industry developments such as partnerships, mergers & acquisitions, consolidated SWOT analysis of key players, business strategies of leading market players, macro and micro-economic indicators, and key industry trends.




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Value (USD billion)


By Type, End-user, and Region

By Type

  • Camera Sorter

  • Lasers Sorter

  • Near Infrared (NIR) Sorters

  • Hyperspectral Cameras & Combined Sorters

  • Others (Belt Sorter)

By End-user

  • Food and Beverages

  • Waste Recycling

  • Mining

  • Pharmaceutical

  • Others (Logistics, Nutraceutical)

By Region

  • North America

    • U.S. (By Type)

    • Canada (By Type)

    • Mexico (By Type)

  • South America

    • Brazil (By Type)

    • Argentina (By Type)

    • Rest of South America

  • Europe

    • U.K. (By Type)

    • Germany (By Type)

    • France (By Type)

    • Italy (By Type)

    • Spain (By Type)

    • Russia (By Type)

    • Benelux (By Type)

    • Nordics (By Type)

    • Rest of Europe

  • Middle East & Africa

    • Turkey (By Type)

    • Israel (By Type)

    • GCC (By Type)

    • South Africa (By Type)

    • North Africa (By Type)

    • Rest of Middle East & Africa

  • Asia Pacific

    • China (By Type)

    • Japan (By Type)

    • India (By Type)

    • South Korea (By Type)

    • ASEAN (By Type)

    • Oceania (By Type)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific

Frequently Asked Questions

The global market is predicted to reach USD 3.61 billion by 2029.

In 2021, the market value stood at USD 2.12 billion.

The market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period (2022-2029).

The Near Infrared (NIR) sorter segment is expected to show the highest CAGR during the forecast period.

Asia Pacific dominated the market due to rising investment toward recycling units and surging number of food & beverages firms.

By end-user, food and beverages segment leads the market owing to growing adoption of sorters for segregating food grains such as wheat, coffee, rye, and others.

High cost associated with the product for the food and recycling industry is restraining the market growth.

Increased adoption of advanced technologies based sorter with the surge in industrialization of the food processing industry aids the market growth.

Some of the top players in the market are TOMRA, BarcoVision, Daewon GSE BT-Wolfgang, Binder, Bühler Sortex, Satake Corporation, and others.

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