Green Recycling, a United Kingdom-based industrial and commercial waste specialist, purchased a Max-AI AQC (Autonomous Quality Control) from Bulk Handling Systems (BHS) to increase recovery of recyclables without adding additional manual labor at the company’s commercial and commingled dry recyclables MRF in Maldon, Essex. Green Recycling is the first company in the U.K. to invest in this technology, which has already been successfully installed in three U.S. MRFs. Green Recycling’s Max-AI AQC will be operational in Q1 2018.
Launched in 2017 by Oregon-based BHS, the Max-AI AQC incorporates an AI-powered vision system to identify recyclables and make decisions, along with a robotic sorter that picks items and places them into chutes. The artificial neural network technology mirrors the neural framework of the human brain to identify recyclables in a similar manner to a person. When the recyclables have been identified by the vision system, a robotic sorter then does the picking.
At Green Recycling’s facility, equipment is used to open bags, collect plastic film, OCC and segregate material using screen and air separation technologies. The Max-AI AQC will follow that equipment, working on the recovery line to capture card, news and pams, HDPE natural, PET bottles and wood.
The Max-AI AQC intelligent vision system is trained using a process called deep learning and can immediately identify these various recyclables, something that simply cannot be achieved using most widely available recycling technologies. Max-AI AQC is also capable of making various decisions including prioritizing the picking order based on size, value and location, and then directing the robotic sorter to pick and place the recovered end products into chutes.
The Max-AI AQC is capable of making approximately 65 picks per minute, a productivity rate that would require Green Recycling to source and employ staff in two manual sorting positions. When the new kit is in place, Green Recycling will be able to run this section of the recovery line with no human sorting at all.
“We believe that this technology will revolutionize MRF operations and we’re excited to be the first to introduce it here in the U.K.,” Rob Smith, managing director at Green Recycling said in a statement. “Our aim is to deliver a flexible and efficient recycling process to our customers and we’re always on the lookout for the latest technology to further automate and improve our process.”
BHS appointed Steve Almond to the position of sales consultant for the U.K. and Ireland earlier this year.
“MRF operators consistently face challenges when humans have direct contact with the waste stream: staffing problems, high labor costs, health and safety risks, and management and performance-related loss,” Almond said in a statement. “ I’m looking forward to delivering this unit and helping a valued customer overcome these challenges and increase operational performance.”