In the newest edition of his blog, Recycleye CEO Victor Dewulf shares the significance of digitalisation at IFAT 2022.

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With the success of our AI-powered waste-sorting robotics rippling through our client base across Europe, the Recycleye team is heading to international environmental technology trade fair, IFAT, at the end of the month to bring data-driven transparency and automated efficiency to German waste management.

Bringing AI waste-robots to Germany, leader in European recycling

Having automated waste sorting in facilities across the UK, France and Italy, Recycleye Robotics has begun making waves across Germany, decreasing costs of sorting in their wake. Reprocessing more than twice the amount of municipal solid waste than any of its peer big 5 nations, according to the EEA, Germany’s commitment to recycling rates deems their material economy ideal for further value extraction through automation.

Our story at Recycleye so far has seen us redefine the analogue and manual waste sorting quality control process into one of automation and transparency. Whilst many European waste management players may have already engaged with waste-sorting robots in the past decade, we are bringing a new tide of 2nd generation robots with previously impossible capabilities to the continent.

New and different – Set apart to transform DMR sorting

After observing how existing robots being applied to MRFs were large and heavy robots with excessive installation costs, we developed a second generation of lightweight 6-axis robotic pickers which are retrofittable to existing belts. Purpose-built to sort DMR, so far, our clients have spent next to nothing installing Recycleye Robotics over weekend downtime.

From installing the first robotic picker of this kind in England at FCC Environment-managed facility re3, to the first AI-driven waste analysis system in Italy with Acea Ambiente, Recycleye has become an established pioneer for innovating sorting technologies across Europe. Meanwhile, our project with Citeo, Valorplast and Total Energies is refining differentiation between food-grade and non-food-grade PP through our computer vision-driven robot, spearheading industry research and development.

Hence, not only have our robotics enabled more efficient sorting than manual pickers, but our AI has also enabled sorting to an object-level, previously impossible with NIR. This has consequently expanded profit margins and opened new revenue streams for MRFs, and, in some cases, even forged new material resale markets.

Yet beyond the firsts and superlatives, most importantly, we have retrofitted Recycleye Robotics in 4 sorting sites spanning the continent and spent the first half of 2022 signing 15 units for the next cohort of future-proofing-ready MRFs. We often hear visitors pass our trade show stand saying “robots – they are going to be the future!”, so it’s exciting to share how waste-sorting robots are already solving real problems in real MRFs as we speak.

I’m really proud of what our team has achieved thus far, and every time I visit our clients’ sites, their excitement in our technology’s results reminds me of the 30 experts who are committed to turning waste into resource through Recycleye’s innovations.

The time is right: innovation in digitalisation at IFAT 2022

Our attendance at IFAT 2022, the leading trade fair for environmental technologies, in Munich at the end May is a key step in realising this vision of commodifying Europe’s household waste.

In sharing how our tried-and-tested robots have automated household waste sorting for clients such as FCC Environment and Bryson Recycling, we are preparing to meet the many other waste management companies at IFAT 2022 who are joining the current of future-proofing sorting facilities, reducing labour headaches and achieving record-breaking outputs.

The overarching theme of digitalisation across the event’s speaking programme, including titles such as “Data-driven waste management: the results are already here”, is a worthy testament to the waste management industry’s increasing readiness to transition towards data-driven automation. With lingering labour turnover issues and pressures to increase sample sizes by imminent EPR schemes, the digital innovation topic rings true for the context our industry is operating in.

It is fitting that Recycleye’s stand is situated next to the Innovation stage at the event: we look forward to being part of the conversation about the latest technological developments as we bring our pioneering computer vision and robotics technologies to visitors.

I’m expecting to have lots of conversations about how automated quality assessment can help plants meet stringent sampling requirements and how AI can identify waste items to object level, enabling new capabilities impossible with NIR. As plant managers navigate a context of EPR transition, DRS schemes and volatile resale pricing, I’m confident that intelligent automating technologies can provide an answer.

If you are heading to IFAT and are interested in automating your quality control through AI and robotics, book a meeting on our stand here. The Recycleye team and I will be exhibiting in the Start-Up Area (139/338) in Hall B4, on Stand 34.