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TOMRA Sorting Tobacco launches Cerberus

TOMRA Sorting gives tobacco processors added bite with launch of revolutionary Cerberus all-in-one system at TabExpo.

20 October 2015

TOMRA Sorting Tobacco will launch the world’s first tobacco sorting system integrating string removal, metal detection, product singulation and fragmentation all within one compact machine at TabExpo London 2015, October 20-23.

Named Cerberus after the mythical three-headed dog which guards the underworld, this system can be considered a tobacco processor’s watchdog for improved quality.

TOMRA Sorting Tobacco developed Cerberus in conjunction with Italian tobacco machinery manufacturer COMAS, taking only nine months from creating, designing and testing the system’s specification to its production. TOMRA and COMAS representatives will be exhibiting Cerberus together at TabExpo London 2015 on TOMRA’s stand which is located at F30 within ExCel.

Cerberus first utilises COMAS’s industry proven SRS-type string removal system which comprises a set of scalping rollers fitted with Velcro strips to agitate the product and remove any strings. Following this, a precision-engineered set of disc–type rollers installed in cascade combined with high speed accelerating belts to gradually increase the speed of the product. This creates an optimal monolayer spread of tobacco product which is essential for further downstream sorting techniques.

This roller set-up also ensures that small tobacco fragments are segregated from larger tobacco parts, which are known to be the most contaminated product fraction. The bi-directional belt underneath the rollers then provides the option to either process the small tobacco fragments separately or keep them combined with the product over the rollers.

The product monolayer is then processed further by passing an electromagnetic (EM) sensor which detects both ferrous and non-ferrous items at an accuracy level beyond what is achievable with existing systems.

TOMRA Sorting Tobacco is able to deliver this by combining Cerberus’s EM sensor with its SUPPIX® image processing technology which has been successfully used by TOMRA’s global recycling business for over 15 years. The technology enhances electromagnetic sensor resolution and allows greater recognition accuracy of ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

Utilising SUPPIX® means that, in addition to detecting metal items more accurately, Cerberus also provides tobacco processors with a more efficient way of removing the contaminants.

Where other systems use one large drop flap to remove contaminants, Cerberus combines the EM sensor and SUPPIX® technology to allow it to employ extremely accurate high pressure air valves to expel metal fragments. Doing so delivers a significant reduction in the amount of good tobacco that is rejected along with defects compared to other systems.

Cerberus also significantly reduces both the floor space needed to accommodate such a system and the amount of equipment which requires cleaning and maintenance, as it is much more compact and has fewer components than the traditional multiple ring loop metal detection and conveyor machines currently available.

A high speed discharge belt then ensures that the product is sent into either continued processing or, for those tobacco processors with a TOMRA Sorting Tobacco machine, such as the Helius or TB5, directly into the sorter’s free-fall or belt infeed arrangement.

Commenting on Cerberus, TOMRA Sorting Tobacco area sales manager, Lars Janssens, says: “Cerberus provides processors with a more accurate and efficient integrated metal detection and string removal system which has never before been available.

“By combining TOMRA Sorting’s technology portfolio with COMAS’s outstanding design and manufacturing capability, we are able to provide increased tobacco product quality and enhanced yield for roll your own, post threshing and PMD laminas as well as Oriental leaf applications.

“In addition, Cerberus’s relatively small footprint and multifunctional capability means it will save space and the time needed for doing intensive maintenance within any processing environment.”


  • String removal, based on COMAS’s SRS industry proven string removal system
  • Roller deck-based product opener/fragmentizer with directional discharge
  • EM-based metal detector incorporating TOMRA Sorting Recycling’s proven SUPPIX® image processing technology and multi-ejector based removal system
  • High speed belt accelerator to enhance product singulation and monolayer formation

Find out more about the Cerberus on our dedicated Cerberus webpage


Topics: food


Written by TOMRA Food