How to make your facility more productive and circular with AI and robotics

European recycling infrastructure is in high demand. Tightening EU regulations, higher volumes of waste and the absence of manual labor are putting pressure on material recovery facilities in the DACH region. Front-running operators are investing in AI and robot technologies to turn this into a business opportunity. So can you, and here’s how.
Photo: ZenRobotics

Like most things, waste management too has gone through big changes during the pandemic. We’ve seen a rise in household waste as people have consumed more single-use plastics and packaging while being stuck in their homes. Completely new waste types like facemasks have flooded waste streams with consumers unsure of how to recycle them. Waste operators are not only dealing with bigger volumes but also new tasks for quality control.

At the same time, the push for a circular economy is getting stronger. Starting this year, the EU will be collecting a tax of €0.80 per kilogram from all non-recycled plastic packing waste from member states. Further down the pipeline are new recycled plastic content requirements and other plastic waste reduction measures for packaging materials. As Europe begins to recover from the pandemic, money will likely pour into projects that reinforce these developments.

Operators in the DACH region have a head start in cashing in on the opportunity. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) systems are already playing a key role in lifting high recycling rates and reducing unnecessary packaging materials in the region. We’ve also seen increasing investments into large packaging waste facilities across the region. Coupled with high labor costs and the absence of manual sorters, many operators are looking into automation technologies to increase productivity, recover more high-purity fractions and advance the circular economy. Luckily, operators need not look far to find just the right fit for their unique sorting needs.

Automate operations with AI-powered sorting robots to boost recovery with minimal effort

The good news for operators is that intelligent sorting robots can be easily integrated to different types of MRFs as they fit most sorting tasks and facility setups seamlessly. Since they do not require huge investments or changes into existing capacity, these smart robots are today accessible to a variety of operators.

Photo: ZenRobotics

A great example is ZenRobotics’ Fast Picker which sorts light packaging waste made from plastics, fiber and/or metal. So, bottles, lids, cans, tray cups and alike made from different colors and polymers including HDPE, LDPE, PET or PETE, PP and PS. The robot also sorts grey and brown fibers including beverage cartons, and metals such as used beverage cans (UBC). It’s optimal for both quality control and residue recovery.

Thanks to its compact size, the Fast Picker fits most picking stations without major additional modifications. The robot can be easily fitted into a single sorting bay or retrofitted for different conveyor widths and multi-lane conveyors. It can be comfortably integrated to side streams, reject recovery lines, and perform quality control after optical sorting. In other words, the fast speed robot is ready to perform any given sorting task with minimal effort.

ZenRobotics: a local and experienced partner for smooth operations

An experienced and independent technology partner like ZenRobotics is ready to collaborate closely with operators to find the best solution to fit their unique sorting needs and facility requirements – and also partner flexibly with other suppliers where needed for a comprehensive solution. WIth long-run market presence, local experts and customer references, the company has unique insight into the needs of operators in the DACH region.

Thanks to a decade of experience in developing AI and robotics exclusively for waste sorting, ZenRobotics knows what it takes for sorting robots to perform optimally in the harsh and unpredictable waste sorting environment. If you would like to upgrade your facility to meet modern requirements, get in touch with a provider such as ZenRobotics today to learn more about how your operations can benefit from robotic waste sorting.



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