Why Recycling Facilities are Using Robots and AI

The recycling facilities use robots and artificial intelligence as it becomes easy to separate the products and recycle them. 

FREMONT, CA: Most individuals forget all about content when the correct plastic or paper is placed in the right place, and that's not the end of the road for the actual recycled products, but instead the start. Much of it is transported to a unique recycling plant, where it is poured on a concrete floor abruptly. Front-end loaders scoop bottles, documents, and countless other materials on conveyors that zoom in various directions, sometimes ascending to multiple levels such as stairs.

AI for Better Sorting

For years, robots have worked on assembly lines, like in-car plants, where they repeatedly perform the same job. But businesses are figuring out how to combine robotics with artificial intelligence to enable them to make the kinds of decisions required to filter recyclables.

It is not the kind of high-profile activity commonly linked with machine learning, like driving cars or detecting cancerous growth in medical scans, but it can save recycling businesses and, by implication, money for municipalities.

Both recyclables need to be separated into different categories. When it is remelted for reuse, aluminum should not be combined with paper and plastic. At the time of collection, the separation can be achieved, so specific bins are persnickety over what gets thrown in. Some recycling centers will accept all the material mixed in a few or even a single stream, known as material recovery facilities or MRFs, as they do the separating themselves.

In different situations, machine learning, neural networks, or the catch-all concept of artificial intelligence mean different things. AI is used by MRFs, which is an algorithm linked to a computer vision device that can identify materials determined by visual indications. Computer vision and machine learning can be combined to identify various colors, polymers, materials, forms, sizes, and patterns.

Robotics and Machine Learning

The robotic arm can use a gripper, like a human hand, or a suction cup to pluck objects off the conveyor, both propelled by compressed air from the factory. The robot is often configured in a delta style, with three arms attached at the middle, giving a spider's appearance with long legs. Using robotics provides some new versatility for facility managers.

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