Robotics manufacturer Fanuc has revealed details of its year-long partnership with intelligent waste management start-up Recycleye, which saw the deployment of a bespoke AI-powered robotic waste-picking system.
The solution, called Recycleye Robotics, combines AI computer-vision and robot arm technology to identify, pick and place material at a rate of 55 successful picks per minute.
Over the last 12 months, the modular robotic picking system has been deployed at two UK material recovery facilities, on multiple plastic and paper sorting lines, and deployments in France are scheduled for later this year.
The solution, which has been designed to automate current manual operations, reportedly enabled the facilities to double their total throughput.
Yann Glauser, lead hardware engineer at Recycleye, said: “Recycleye’s intelligent robotic picker is creating long-term value for our clients, working consistently to increase throughput and reduce the cost of recycling.
“Our partnership with Fanuc is leveraging world leading expertise in robotic solutions to develop the most effective automated solution for waste sorting.”
Fanuc automation engineers designed Recycleye Robotics to weigh 75% less than existing robotic waste pickers currently in the market.
What’s more, according to Fanuc, the plug-and-play installation eliminates conventional retrofit costs.
Oliver Selby, robotics business development manager at Fanuc UK, said: “As a provider of electric injection moulding solutions, Fanuc acknowledges that increasing the use of recyclates available for the manufacturing of new plastic products is a priority for the development of a circular economy.
“By integrating Recycleye’s robotic picker into its repertoire, Fanuc can be proud to be delivering affordable automation to the recycling industry.”
Recycleye Robotics is powered by Recycleye Vision, an AI vision system, which has been deployed across the UK and French markets.
It has been developed to exceed human vision in identifying and classifying all items on waste streams, by material, object and brand.
Recycleye Vision works to constantly train and learn new object detection, enabling the robotic waste picking system to adapt to changing waste composition without need for manual upgrades.
Fanuc said it will utilise its expertise to help lead the global rollout of the Recycleye robotic pickers.