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AI-powered robotic waste sorting system installed at Zanker Recycling facility

Plexus Recycling Technologies commissioned to install system for C&D sorting

The ZenRobotics sorting system layout.
The ZenRobotics sorting system layout.

San Jose-based Zanker Recycling, a U.S. leader in construction and demolition (C&D) materials processing systems and recycling, has announced that its awarding a contract to Plexus Recycling Technologies, the North American distributor of ZenRobotics the world's leading, and most experienced AI robotics team for sorting waste materials. The ZenRobotics ZRR2 AI Robot will be the second to operate in the U.S. and operational by fall 2018.

Zanker Recycling currently handles 2,600 tons of C&D material daily processed through three recycling systems. This high volume taxes the limits of these systems resulting in excessive overtime. By providing a fourth processing line featuring the ZenRobotics system, Zanker Recycling will dramatically increase diversion from landfills and decrease in overtime and operating costs.

"The advantage of deploying AI robotics to recycling differentiates Zanker from our competitors," said Michael Gross, Director of Sustainability for Zanker Recycling. "In this case it means identifying the sweet spot where a hybrid mix of our employees and robot delivers the biggest payback, both to the bottom line and also to our employees while increasing the diversion of recyclables."

The ZenRobotics ZRR2 AI will operate 20 hours per day with total system production at 150,000 tons per year increasing diversion of recyclables by 20%. The operation will only allow a very small amount of human interaction to the sorting process, possibly as quality control, thanks to the two ZenRobotic Recyclers installed on the 3D material sort line handling the majority of difficult to handle materials.

In a new twist for recycling systems, material feeding will be highly automated from the beginning of the process. The front end will only have to operate 50% of the time to  process the inbound material. In the middle of the system are two large dosing bunkers that can store up to 100 tons of material. The ZenRobotics Brain will control these along with all equipment downstream to allow a very smooth-running operation focused on recovery and efficiency.

"This will be the most advanced waste material processing facility in the world," said Dane Campbell, the project's System Engineer from T3CHCOMP. "We have combined the very best equipment available, into one fantastic recycling system for Zanker". Plexus Recycling Technologies will provide key European systems such as the ZenRobotic Recyclers, Komptech Terminator, Komptech Ballistor and Komptech Fines Drumscreen. To bring all of these systems together, along with key equipment from Action Equipment Company, Steinert and Keith Manufacturing, Plexus selected long time C&D system leader, Krause Manufacturing of the CP Group.

"This will be a substantial milestone for all of us," said Ashely Davis director of Sales and Marketing for CP group. "Bringing the Krause name back to lead the C&D material processing industry again, with such a great team to support Zanker's automated system will be amazing. We are able to showcase the new Air Drum Separators and superior Glass Breaker fines screen next to technology partner Plexus's equipment offering." 

The entire system's PLC Electrical Control will be provided by Hertlein Industries, one the most experienced and knowledgeable teams ever used for controlling and integrating waste material processing systems.

The ZenRobotics artificially-intelligent sorting robot.
The ZenRobotics artificially-intelligent sorting robot.

"Zanker's investment into the newest and best technology available is a testament to the ownership and management of Zanker" Marcel Vallen, CEO of Plexus and Komptech Americas says. "We could not have partnered with a better organization than Zanker to unveil the power of ZenRobotics ZRR2 AI Robot in California. I am very excited."

Denver-based Plexus Recycling Technologies is changing the face of the environmental solutions industry by combining years of experience with premier technologies that solve entrenched problems. It's not enough to just be the best solution today, at Plexus Recycling Technologies, we look towards the future. As a full line recycling solutions provider, we scour the globe for high end, highly efficient comprehensive solutions so our customers don't have to.

San Jose-based Zanker Recycling, owned by Zanker Road Resource Management Ltd., is a privately-owned solid waste and recycling company that began operations in 1985 by developing a landfill into a full-service resource management and composting/recycling facility. In 1998, Zanker expanded operations by permitting an adjacent landfill site as a construction and demolition debris processing facility. These two facilities process more than 2,600 tons of mixed debris per day. Currently, Zanker operates four nationally-recognized recycling facilities: The Zanker facilities are national leaders in construction of demolition debris diversion and composting. Through its aggressive and innovative recycling efforts, Zanker diverts more than 80 percent of waste they receive from landfilling.

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