AMP Robotics marks major AI-driven recycling milestone
Demand for artificially intelligent robotic sorting has accelerated as recyclers turn to automation
AMP Robotics Corp. (AMP), a pioneer in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics for the recycling industry, has announced the achievement of one billion recyclables processed during the 12 months ending March 31, 2020.
AMP has also announced it has named longtime industry executive Marcel Vallen vice president of international sales, along with continued expansion of operations and forthcoming new innovations to help recycling facilities further improve productivity through automation.
"AMP had a strong first quarter of 2020," said Matanya Horowitz, AMP founder and chief executive officer. "Revenue is up more than 50%, and our project pipeline continues to grow rapidly due to market adoption of our technology and the value it creates for our customers."
"We also marked a very important company milestone: identifying, sorting, and picking our one billionth piece of material over the last 12 months. This achievement demonstrates the productivity, precision, and reliability of our AI application for the recycling industry. It also represents a meaningful environmental metric in the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by approximately half a million metric tons."
The ‘one billion' milestone means that AMP's technology has specifically targeted and removed one billion individual recyclable items from billions of other materials in the waste stream.
This milestone also illustrates the power of the company's AMP Neuron AI platform that uses computer vision and machine learning to recognize different colors, textures, shapes, sizes, patterns, and even brand labels to identify exactly what the material is and whether it is recyclable. Neuron then guides robots to consistently perform sorting tasks more than twice as quickly as humanly possible, with much greater accuracy, and over long durations of time.
AMP's technology recovers plastics, cardboard, paper, metals, cartons, cups, and many other recyclables that can be reclaimed for raw material processing. For example, the AI platform visually identifies with precision different types of plastics like Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE), High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), Polypropylene (PP), Polystyrene (PS), sorted further by color, clarity, and opacity, along with different form factors (e.g. lids, tubs, clamshells, cups, and many more).
AMP's technology can quickly adapt to new container packaging introduced into the recycling stream. And it can swiftly pivot to handle sudden shifts in material volumes, happening now as a result of the pandemic, to recover high-demand materials, like paper, tissue, cardboard, and other packaging. This capability is especially critical as demand and prices for commodities fluctuate, given the role recyclables play in feeding the domestic supply chain for manufacturing.
Keeping facilities operational with automation
Recycling has been classified as an essential industry and service by the Department of Homeland Security during the COVID-19 pandemic. The demand for AMP's AI and robotics technology has accelerated as recycling businesses turn to automation to remove their employees from harm's way, navigate chronic labor shortages to remain operational, and adapt to spikes in residential volume and material types caused by sudden shifts in consumer buying patterns.
"The pandemic has hit the recycling industry hard, with many facilities struggling to maintain operations and productivity levels amid worker safety concerns, social distancing requirements, and skyrocketing residential volumes," said Joe Benedetto, president of Virginia-based RDS. "Fortunately, we had already deployed AMP's robotic systems, which are helping us weather this crisis. We're fully operational and can handle the heavier volumes of recyclables driven by shelter-in-place orders and rapidly changing consumer behavior. We're meeting the increased demand for paper and cardboard while protecting our employees and controlling costs."
Recycling veteran Vallen joins AMP
AMP also named longtime industry executive Marcel Vallen vice president of international sales. In this role, he is responsible for sales and business development efforts in new geographies, establishing and executing a global sales strategy aligning with the company's growth objectives.
"Welcoming Marcel to the team is key to our strategic growth plans, including in Europe and other international markets," said Horowitz. "Marcel has a deep understanding of the challenges faced by the recycling industry both domestically and abroad, as well as the opportunities and value created by innovative and technology-driven solutions like ours."
Vallen brings more than 35 years of recycling and waste management industry experience to AMP. His background spans the design and build of materials recovery facilities (MRFs) to systems commercialization and general management of facilities around the world. Most recently, he served as president and CEO of Komptech Americas and Plexus Recycling Technologies where he was instrumental in bringing the ZenRobotics Recycler robotic waste sorting system to the United States.
"Smarter, more efficient recycling that produces reusable commodities is the future of the industry," said Vallen. "AMP is at the forefront of helping recyclers modernize and automate their operations with the help of artificial intelligence and robotics, and I'm eager to advance these efforts by driving increased demand for our solutions in new and existing markets."
Facility expansion sets stage for continued growth, innovation
As part of the company's growth, AMP has added another manufacturing facility in Colorado dedicated to the increased production of its robotic systems. Furthermore, AMP doubled the size of its engineering innovation lab for the development of new AI and robotic applications for the recycling industry. The company is planning the release of a series of new products and performance features in the coming months to help further automate MRFs and make recycling even more efficient and cost-effective.
AMP was on a growth trajectory and scaling its business prior to the pandemic, having raised $16 million in Series A funding in November 2019, led by Sequoia Capital with participation from Closed Loop Partners, Congruent Ventures, and Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners ("SIP"), backed by Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL).