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Recycleye to showcase AI-powered robotic waste sorting system at IFAT 2022

A robotic picking system sorts waste
A Recycleye robotic picking system

After installing waste-sorting robots in material recovery facilities across the United Kingdoms, France, and Italy, Recycleye is now bringing its AI-powered computer vision system and robotic picking technology to the international waste management industry.

Recycleye is bringing its robotic sorting technology, known as Recycleye Robotics, to IFAT 2022 after participation in Veolia Germany's U-Start program. The program fosters cooperation with start-ups in the fields of circular economy, climate protection, and resource efficiency, and aims to reduce the time to enter the market with new concepts.

Confident from successes achieved elsewhere in Europe, it seems logical for Recycleye to introduce this proven technology to the country with the highest recycling rates in Europe. In September 2021, Recycleye installed an AI-driven robotic picker in England to remove contamination from a split-stream plastics line in partnership with FCC Environment.

Since then, Recycleye has installed a further 12 systems, including robotic pickers at Bryson Recycling in Northern Ireland, and several facilities in France. The company's innovations have also reached waste sorting facilities in Italy, where they have partnered with Acea Ambiente to install the first computer vision waste analysis system in the country.

These installations have achieved significant results to date, including up to 55 successful picks per minute, less than one percent contamination and an increase in output volume of target material by 12 percent at some sites.

By leveraging this technology, global waste sorting processes could sort to higher granularities with more efficiency, extracting valuable recyclates such as food-grade PET from residual lines. This would lower the cost of waste sorting, whilst increasing the profit margins on resale bales due to the higher purity of materials.

"By rendering recycling a more economically attractive proposition, our technology will prevent more of Europe's valuable recyclable materials being lost to landfill - proving that waste doesn't exist, only materials in the wrong place," says Victor Dewulf, CEO of Recycleye.

In response to the high OPEX associated with manual picking in MRFs, Recycleye developed an AI-powered computer vision system, which identifies every item on a waste stream to material and object granularity using a low-cost camera and machine learning algorithms. This human eye replicate can then be integrated with Recycleye Robotics, a robotic picker developed in partnership with FANUC, which automates the physical task of separating waste items into pure material streams.

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