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Zigzag Material Separation

A fully adjustable air-based cleaning solution, simply using air to efficiently remove lightweight debris from the material stream.

Solution Overview

The zigzag separation system can be installed at a conveyor junction and is typically applied to clean the unwanted contaminants and debris from the 0-100mm material stream. The contaminated material discharges the feed conveyor into a zigzag cascade enclosure where the material falls through an upwards travelling air stream and density separation occurs.

Contaminated material is fed into the zigzag system via a variable speed rotary valve. The falling material cascades over a series of zigzag baffles ensuring efficient removal of debris which is collected via a material separator for further processing/disposal. Variable air volumes and adjustment dampers also ensure minimal loss of valuable recyclable material to provide maximum flexibility and highly efficient cleaning of the material. The Zigzag Separation System is available in a range of sizes to suit your process and material throughputs.

Common applications include, but are not limited to:

• Trommel Fines
• DMR (Dry Mixed Recycling)
• Glass Recovery/Cleaning
• MSW (Municipal Solid Waste)
• SRF (Solid Recovered Fuel)
• RDF (Residue Derived Fuel)
• Gypsum/Plasterboard
• Plastic
• Metals

We have also supplied Zigzag Systems to separate less common applications such as:

• Astroturf grass and rubber crumb
• Cassette tape and the plastic cover
• Shredded coffee pods and filters
• Circuit boards and fibres
• Shredded CD’s/cases and fibres
• Shredded mattresses and metal springs
• Dry food waste and packaging
• Shredded car dashboard foam and rubber
and many more!


Contact us to find out which Zigzag Separation solution is suitable for your material stream.


  • Ideally suited to 5-60mm material fraction
  • Dosing controlled via variable speed rotary valve
  • Fully adjustable air flow controls both via manual dampers and electronic fan speed controls
  • Outstanding results to significantly improve the cleanliness of material stream
  • Minimal loss of valuable recyclable material during cleaning operation
  • High material throughput capabilities
  • Suitable for a wide range of material applications, such as rigid plastics / plastic containers recycling process
  • Used in conjunction with the Impact range of material separators and dust filtration

Case Study

Paper and Glass Separation

Impact Air Systems was contacted by one of the UK’s leading waste management companies to help them improve their process following the recent introduction of domestic glass into the material stream. The company involved have requested to remain anonymous, but currently operate 6 large scale operations in the UK.

Impact provided a highly effective system, of which was installed at the end of the 5-25mm fraction discharge conveyor from the trommel. A specially adapted drop chute/suction chamber was installed which the mixed glass and paper material has to enter. The difference in material density would mean that the lighter paper material would be drawn upwards in an adjustable conveying air volume and the heavier glass material would fall under the action of gravity from the base of the drop chute into a storage bunker below.

Glass Recycling

After a successful trial at our test facility in Leicester, Impact had the pleasure of supplying and installing a three piece zigzag system at a glass recycling facility.

In this case, the Zigzag’s application was to clean glass around 0-50mm in size. Lightweight material such as paper and fibre are removed, leaving a clean glass stream. This system is very capable of handling large amounts of material, the hourly throughput of this system is around 50tph.

Impact have many years of experience with systems that transport highly abrasive materials such as glass, therefore ensuring our systems are designed for maximum durability.