First Max robot set for UK MRF

Commercial and industrial waste business, Green Recycling, has become the first company in the UK to invest in a Max-AI autonomous robot.

The sorting robot will be delivered in February. Once operational, it will increase recovery of recyclables at the company’s commercial and commingled dry recyclables MRF in Maldon, Essex.

The BHS robotic vision system, Max-AI

Green Recycling is the first business in the UK to purchase the technology, which has already been successfully installed in three US MRFs (see story).


Launched in 2017 by Oregon-based Bulk Handling Systems (BHS) the Max-AI AQC (Autonomous Quality Control) uses a vision system to identify recyclables and sort them out.

According to BHS the technology system 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 work on the recovery line to capture card, news and pams, HDPE natural, PET bottles and wood.

The Max-AI AQC intelligent vision system, said BHS, is trained using a process called deep learning and can immediately identify these various recyclables. Max-AI AQC is also capable of making various decisions including prioritising 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.

One of Green Recycling’s collection vehicles

Max is capable of making approximately 65 picks per minute. 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, BHS reports.


Commenting on the investment, Rob Smith, managing director at Green Recycling, said: “We believe that this technology will revolutionise MRF operations and we’re excited to be the first to introduce it here in the UK.

“Not only is the technology capable of sorting up to six different end fractions in one location, but it is also adjustable should the material or markets change, and will deliver significant operational improvements. We can’t wait to put Max to work!”

Jamie Smith, general manager at Green Recycling, added: “With the addition of Max-AI to our team not only will we significantly improve our recycling efficiency but more importantly we will shift job specification to a technology based outlook.

“Green Recycling has opted to embrace innovation and as the first in the UK to introduce this technology, I’m confident that the investment will be as successful for the company as it is noteworthy.”

Steve Almond

“While the perception would be to replace human sorting, here at Green Recycling it will actually be creating opportunity with a new technology based position for a brand new member of staff.”


Earlier this year, BHS appointed Steve Almond to the position of sales consultant for the UK and Ireland.

Mr Almond said: “MRF operators consistently face challenges when humans have direct contact with the waste stream: staffing problems, high labour costs, health and safety risks, and management and performance-related loss. I’m looking forward to delivering this unit and helping a valued customer overcome these challenges and increase operational performance.”

“Green Recycling has opted to embrace innovation and as the first in the UK to introduce this technology, I’m confident that the investment will be as successful for the company as it is noteworthy.”

Green Recycling

Green Recycling provides a wide range of waste management and recycling solutions to commercial and industrial businesses throughout the South East of England. The family-run company has over 30 years’ experience and is based in Maldon, Essex.

Above: A video interview with the director of recycling operations at Penn Waste in Pennsylvania, with footage of a Max-AI in action 

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