The company highlights that these robots have delivered numerous benefits, resulting in time and cost savings. Specifically, the automation of tasks by the aluminium-line robot has notably slashed labour expenses, “as the robot is able to pick consistently and continuously across both shifts.”
In terms of productivity, the residual-line robot has taken on the responsibility of recovering beverage cartons that were previously overlooked and not chosen for resale.
The robots have also helped the company to have recorded a 100% success rate for material scanned which helps provide compositional trend insights for the material it receives.
The Ballymount MRF is a mixed dry recycling facility which processes the co-mingled recycling collection from 400,000 homes from around Dublin and the surrounding area and produces paper, plastics, aluminium and steel for reuse.
In November 2022, Panda Ireland’s site saw the installation of a team of robots, consisting of two units dedicated to purging contamination from a mixed paper line. Another robot was tasked with cleansing the aluminium can line, while the final robot was responsible for reclaiming beverage containers from a residual line.
This system incorporates a camera positioned above the conveyor belts which employs computer vision algorithms to identify each item within the waste stream, categorising them based on their object type and material. Subsequently, it issues instructions to the corresponding robotic arm, guiding it to pick up the item and dispatch it to the appropriate bin.
The company said it has been able to scan 100% of the input into the site since the installation.
Tom Harrison, technical sales manager for UK and Ireland at Recycleye, commented, “We are proud to support the Panda team in automating their sorting operations to achieve more reliable resource recovery through a robust, cost-effective and retrofittable solution.”
Liam Dunne, head of project management office at Panda, said of the innovation, “The Recycleye robot system has provided a cost reduction and allowed us to achieve a more accurate picking solution at certain points in our process.
“The single biggest reason we decided to go with Recycleye is that they fit their machine into our existing infrastructure. The installation process was carried out over 2 weekends, out of production hours, within our schedule. All we had to do was prepare the area – Recycleye looked after everything else.”
Many MRF operators have begun installing robots as ways to automate their facilities. This helps in the long-term to tackle difficulties in recent years with recruiting staff.
Earlier this year, Northern Irish waste management company Bryson Recycling also acquired four robots from London-based start-up Recycleye, which will be installed at its materials recycling facility (MRF) on the outskirts of Belfast.
Two of the four robots will be installed over a fibre line with the objective of picking non-paper items such as plastics, cans and cardboard to reduce contamination.
The remaining two robots will operate on a residual line, where they will target the removal of recyclable materials, diverting higher volumes into recycling, rather than to EfW.
To find out more please visit the MRF conference on 2 November, to book a ticket please click here.