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ZenRobotics helps U.S. recycler separate copper from scrap steel

A robot sorts copper from steel on a recycling line
A ZenRobotics Heavy Picker on a steel sorting line ZenRobotics

ZenRobotics has reached a significant milestone in its global expansion by securing a major deal with a prominent metals recycling company based in the United States. Under this agreement, three ZenRobotics Heavy Pickers will be deployed to separate copper from its ferrous metals stream.

With the volume of scrap metal projected to double by 2050, the demand for efficient metal sorting has risen. However, the rising copper content in shredded scrap metal presents a considerable challenge for steel producers striving to maintain the quality of their steel products. To meet industry standards, steel producers typically require recycled steel to contain less than 0.1 to 0.2 percent copper content without resorting to additional virgin pig iron. Conventional sorting technologies, such as multistage magnets and ballistic separators, struggle to effectively reduce copper contamination, intensified by the scarcity of manual labour for hand sorting.

Recognizing the need for advanced sorting solutions to address the increasing demand for copper-free recycled steel, the ZenRobotics Heavy Picker, equipped AI technology, offers precision in identifying and sorting non-ferrous metals such as copper from ferrous waste streams. Additionally, the system provides real-time reports on sorting operations, empowering users to optimize their processes and achieve desired material purities through a user-friendly intuitive interface.

By automating the sorting process, the Heavy picker robots enable scrap processing companies, particularly those that handle end-of-life vehicles (ELVs), to reduce carbon emissions and comply with stringent regulations governing copper content in recycled steel. It also enhances operational efficiency while promoting safer working conditions by minimizing the risks associated with manual sorting in hazardous environments.

"After rigorous testing, it became evident that our Heavy Picker can deliver a ferrous metal stream with less than 0.1 percent copper content, meeting the proposed targets and legislative requirements for steel producers," said Juha Mieskonen, sales director for ZenRobotics. "With ZenRobotics innovative solutions, steel producers can confidently navigate the evolving landscape of metal recycling, embracing sustainable practices while driving operational excellence while achieving a superior end-product quality."

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