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Robots are taking out the trash…and recyclables


ZenRobotics Recycler System

One problem that has plagued the recycling and trash industry for years is how to pick out items that are oddly shaped. When machines are programmed to sort only certain sizes or shapes, items are liable to get missed when sorting the trash from the recycling treasure.

A company in Finland, ZenRobotics, decided to take on that issue with the one machine that was built to do the job – a robot. Robotic recycling could be the answer for the European Union – which sees 3 billion tons of waste each year, not counting the 900 million tons of demolition waste – and the world.

ZenRobotics has devised a system that will sort through trash, basically using a picking application to pick things out that could be recycled for extra revenue, according to an article from Robotic Trends. Their design uses current model robots that are right off the shelf. These robots can be improved by adding artificial intelligence programs so they can better determine what is trash and what is recyclables.

These robots are the same kind of robots that Volkswagen uses – basically, FANUC and KUKA robots, though not exclusively. The ZenRobotics solution includes standard industrial robots that can decipher whether an object is trash or recyclable, and then can weigh the item and determine its recycling worth.

This automation would make sorting more accurate and could potentially earn countries millions in extra revenue. While a job of this undertaking would be almost impossible for human hands, the quick-paced precision of robots can make it a reality.

RobotWorx, a certified integrator of FANUC, KUKA, ABB, Universal Robots, and Motoman robotics, has several robotic systems and workcells that could work for the ZenRobotics’ solution. We have several robots with pick and place capabilities, as well as having end effectors and features like sensors and vision to help the robot handle the application.

We work with customers to design proper systems to fit their application specifications. Our engineers and technicians will work with you to develop the right system at the right price. For more information about automating with RobotWorx, contact us today online or at 740-251-4312.