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Messinaservizi innovates with Recycleye robot

Messinaservizi Bene Comune have today announced a collaboration with Recycleye to deploy an AI-powered waste sorting robot, the first of its kind in Sicily, at its sorting facility.

Messinaservizi Bene Comune is the company wholly owned by the City of Messina, which manages the waste collection and processing, street cleaning, and other essential services for citizens.

The city of Messina, leader in Sicily in terms of percentage of separate waste collection, today represents a successful waste management model for the cities of Southern Italy and beyond, as it has achieved an exceptional increase in separate waste collection in just a few years.

Going from 17.9% in 2018 to 53.5% in 2022, Messina was ranked 8th in the Utilitalia and ISPRA ‘Report on Energy Recovery from Waste’ concerning the 14 cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants, with a gap of 1.5 percentage points from the top five cities in Italy for urban waste management.

This encouraging data is motivating Messina to continue down this road with renewed enthusiasm, aiming, with vital contribution from citizens, to reach the 65% objective well ahead of the other large metropoles of the region, Palermo and Catania, which stand at 16% and 26% respectively.

Recycleye is a British technology company that deploys systems for the identification, categorisation and sorting of municipal waste and WEEE globally, including AI-powered robots and optical sorters.

waste sorting robot
Recycleye robotics picks contaminants consistently

Currently, Messinaservizi Bene Comune’s sorting centre processes mixed plastic packaging, which is decontaminated and then fed back into the Corepla circuit. However, Messina aims to create further value and increase the profitability of the process by creating a new, more granular fraction, such as a pure stream of PET bottles.

For this reason, Messinaservizi Bene Comune has invested in a robotic system equipped with artificial intelligence that will be used to sort specific classes of materials, as it can pick with high granularity and consistency, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, securing cost reduction and adding value to the sorted fractions. The system will be installed on the existing conveyor belt later this year, without requiring any structural changes to the plant.

This investment is aimed at achieving the sustainability targets discussed during the event ‘65% and beyond! Efficiency and Challenges in Sicily’, held last 1 February in Messina.

Mariagrazia Interdonato, President of Messinaservizi Bene Comune

“The investment is part of the strategy outlined to surpass the 65% threshold of differentiated waste collection” – continues the President – “a goal that testifies to our commitment to successful waste management and confirms Messina’s orientation towards efficiency and environmental sustainability, projecting the city towards even more ambitious goals, such as the expansion of the waste management service and the development of new treatment plants.”

The intelligent sorting system is developed by Recycleye and comprises a computer vision module that is installed above the sorting belt, identifying objects by detecting visual features such as type, shape and size, through a camera and machine-learning algorithms. The vision system then provides this data to the robotic arm, which picks the contaminants using a pneumatic suction and blowoff system by processing real-time coordinates of where the item is on the belt and which bin to sort it into.

The Recycleye AI-powered 6-axis waste-sorting robot has been installed over 30 times across the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Spain and Italy.

ai detects waste
Recycleye Vision detects objects like pet bottles using ai

On the recent partnership, Filippo Marguccio, Project Manager at Messinaservizi, said: “This investment reflects our position as innovators and our commitment to further improve the quality of Messina’s waste treatment processes. The Recycleye robot will play an important role in ensuring further purity and added value to the sorted fractions.”

“We are delighted to move towards a system that enhances the value of our output by improving the quality of the sorted fractions, and this improvement not only increases the efficiency of the waste management system, but also fits perfectly into our strategic vision,” pointed out Michele Trimboli, Director of Messinaservizi Bene Comune.

messinaservizi con recycleye
l-r: Michele trimboli (messina), mariagrazia interdonato (Messina) & turi lo sardo (recyleye)

I am excited to kick off this project together with Messinaservizi, which is further affirming its orientation towards innovation, becoming one of the first local authorities to rely on artificial intelligence and robotics to increase the purity of sorted fractions This is an important step that will considerably improve the profitability and monitoring of the treated material streams.

Turi Lo Sardo, technical sales manager (italy) at recycleye

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