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Case Study: Automated Recyclable Sorting Solution

POSTED 02/25/2022

Overview
Believe it or not, the cycle of recycling begins with manufacturing, as companies nowadays are encouraged to utilize recyclable materials for their products. In the world we live in today, recycling plays a major role in our everyday lives. By collecting and sorting the products that would otherwise be thrown away as trash to fill landfills or burnt in an incinerator that may pollute the environment, it can bring huge benefits to the local economy and the environment. The benefits of recycling include the following:

  • Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators
  • Conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals
  • Increases economic security by tapping a domestic source of materials
  • Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials
  • Saves energy
  • Supports manufacturing and conserves valuable resources
  • Helps create jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries

However, before wastes can be recycled, they need to be sorted, and some of the most commonly found household recyclable items are:

  • Newspaper and cardboard (cereal box, egg carton)
  • Aluminum and other metals (cans)
  • Plastic bottles (soft drink, detergent bottle)
  • Softdrink/ glass containers
  • Electronic goods (PCBA)

Pain Points
There are several pain points to implementing such solutions to meet the varying degree of needs depending on the targeted material the solution wants to single out. And the pain points are as follows:

Efficiency
Thousands of tons of recyclable waste are collected daily and with only so many operators to sort through, often the wastes are piled up for later processing. Such waste piles are warm beds for pests, rodents, and mosquitoes infestation if not treated with urgency.

Environment challenges
Due to the use of heavy machinery such as conveyor belt systems to carry tons of recyclable waste for processing, the installed system may be subject to constant vibration. The use of such machinery generates an enormous amount of heat that creates a hotter than usual ambient temperature. If the recycling facility is positioned outdoors, machines are subject to the rain and grueling sunlight.

Waste contaminant
If you think rain is the only fluid that may come in contact with the system, you’re wrong. With recyclable waste collected from households, glass or plastic drink bottles may still have residue or fluids that can pose as threats to damage the system.

Inconsistency
Though communities push for recycling sorting at home to make recycling collection and post-treatment easier, there are still plenty of mixed recyclable or inseparable items (product as a whole with different recyclable parts). This would require manual labor to separate/ disassemble into smaller components for proper recycling treatment.

Problem Solved
To counter the pain points mentioned, our customer chose Neousys Technology’s Nuvo-8108GC series computers whose characteristics serve as the ideal computer in their sorting solution.

Efficiency improvement
Neousys Nuvo-8108GC series supports NVIDIA® RTX 30 series, RTX Quadro, and Tesla inference accelerators to enable AI machine vision capabilities. By implementing an AI machine vision inspection system that can operate 24/7 to differentiate, sort, and pick out the desired recyclable wastes (with a 95% accuracy), the recycling system can now process recyclables around the clock without piling up in the corner.

Environment to thrive in
Neousys computer systems come with patented damping brackets that can withstand up to 3Grms and are certified MIL-STD-810G for anti-shock and anti-vibration proof capability to guarantees stable operation in such environments.

Contaminant resistant
Though the SEMIL was not specifically chosen for this solution, but in response to possible fluids damaging the system, the SEMIL extreme-rugged system is certainly a viable candidate to resolve such concerns. Sealed in custom O-ring and equipped with M12 connectors for air-tight IP67 waterproof capability, it also reduces the possibilities of internal PCBA corrosion. The use of stainless steel also ensures chassis ruggedness and durability in the long run.

Inconsistency
Breaking down inconsistency The recycling solution may include a shredder to gobble up items (AI machine vision 2D/3D separation by a ballistic separator, air separation), breaking down products that may contain several different recyclable components. The broken-down components go through further sorting stages for separation ( metals sorting equipment, machine vision sorting, etc.).

Our customer has been implementing mixed recycling waste processing since 2007 and with the help of Neousys Technology’s Nuvo-8108GC series featuring AI machine vision capability, their solutions are enhanced to offer the following benefits:

  • Customizable solutions to target your recycling material needs
  • Increase recycling material diversion rate
  • Maximizing and recovery of recyclable materials (24/7 processing)
  • Possibility to remove unwanted contaminants (95% purity)
  • Improve safety (machine vision sorting)

Role of the Neousys Computer Platform

The machine vision sorting section plays an important role in the overall solution as it can be customized to identify the desired recyclable objects (glass, plastic, paper, metal, etc.). The customer chose to implement Neousys Technology’s Nuvo-8108GC series with GbE cameras for AI machine vision capability for 24/7 operation to distinguish recyclable items.