A robotics system will be installed at Paper Rounds’ materials recovery facility (MRF) to trial automation technology used to improve the efficiency of plastics sorting.
The recycling company and the robotics manufacturer Greyparrot, along with Middlesex university, have been awarded £500,000 by Innovate UK to develop and trail the “low-cost” robotics solution.
Greyparrot said it plans to retrofit the “AI system” technology at Paper Rounds’ MRF in Purfleet, Essex, in the summer for trials, following further lab tests on the system.
The AI system, which works to detect and recover plastics from mixed waste streams, will be trailed by Paper Round which will then give feedback on the “captured images” of plastics in the system.
Paper Round will also as provide Greyparrot with the waste data to train the AI vision system.
By trialling the system at Paper Round’s site, Greyparrot said that it will be able to “optimise the robotics” and allow for “greater accuracy” of sorting.
The systems waste recognition software will be then be integrated into a “third-party hardware system” and will use its technologies to solve “complex visual problems” to ensure it can see the waste with the same accuracy than humans.
Bill Swan, managing director of Paper Round said: “We are excited to be part of these trials. We see many different types of plastics on our sorting facility, and we welcome the opportunity to be able to more efficiently identify and sort these for recycling.”
Mikela Druckman, Co-founder & CEO of Greyparrot added: “We are thrilled to be working with Paper Round on this innovative project. This grant also opens up collaborative opportunities to embed our waste recognition software with machinery providers to ensure products at the end of life are captured for recycling efficiently.”