AI waste picking robot in Italy

Il Solco, based in Italy, today announced a new partnership with Recycleye, a technology company which intends to bring AI robotics to the global waste management industry.
The AI-powered robotic waste picking system at the RE3 site in Reading (Source: Recycleye)

Il Solco, calling itself social cooperative recycling experts,  is investing in two AI -powered waste picking robots, the first of their kind to be installed in Italy, which were developed by the London-based company. The main drivers for this investment are Il Solco’s desire to support growth and stability, allowing the organization to improve waste management services for the Municipalities and the many private citizens and companies in the Cesenate basin and neighbouring provinces.

Producing quality waste for recycling and reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill is a key consideration, with the ultimate goal being to sustain the long-term strength of the B-type social cooperative. Established in the 1990s, the cooperative aims to support disadvantaged people, living with physical and mental disabilities or addiction, and to fulfil its purpose of providing reciprocity, solidarity and commitment to all its member and non-member workers.

This announcement follows a recent statement by Recycleye, confirming its status as an accredited supplier of industrial equipment in Italy. The timing of their investment decision means the team at Il Solco will benefit from a tax credit of up to 40% on the cost of the new equipment, making it perfectly timed.

With this investment, Il Solco will be able to access the latest in robust AI-powered robots, which sort dry mixed recyclable waste accurately and consistently 24/7 and are able to operate efficiently in even the most adverse of conditions. The robot works alongside manual pickers at Il Solco’s site, allowing them to safely operate as before, but supported by the additional data and quality assurance provided by the robot’s computer vision.

The 6-axis system, known as Recycleye Robotics, was developed specifically for sorting household and commercial waste and can pick up to 33,000 individual items over a 10-hour shift, using its unique pick, rotate and shoot mechanism.

Recycleye Robotics customers elsewhere in Europe have already benefited from this solution. It has delivered results including a 12% increase in target material picked with less than 1% contamination on a plastics line at FCC’s re3 plant in Reading, England, as well as a 10% increase in target material picked on a mixed paper and board line at Bryson Recycling’s MRF in Mallusk, Northern Ireland.

The robot is easily installed by a small team over two days, at a low cost, without the need for any heavy machinery – and it can be retrofitted to any existing line. Once installed, the robot operates with a relatively low energy use compared to alternatives, such as a delta robot.

Speaking about the investment decision, Gianni Angeli, Director of Il Solco said “At Il Solco we are all about creating opportunities for the disadvantaged people of our community, which we have been doing successfully for over 30 years. Investment in this 21st century technology, while benefitting from the tax break offered under the Industry 4.0 rebate scheme, means we can continue to strengthen our business and our work and do even better in the future.”

Turi Lo Sardo, Technical Sales Manager for Recycleye based in Bologna, Italy said “We are delighted to work with Il Solco to help them bring consistent quality to their site at Savignano sul Rubicone. As an Italian national, I am also personally very proud that this first AI waste robot will be helping to directly increase the of recycling in my own country and for a cooperative doing such important work in the community”.


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