Waste sorting has been traditionally performed by human pickers. However, many waste companies are finding it harder and harder to find motivated staff for this hard, repetitive and physically straining work. Staff turnaround is a major problem in the industry.
Today, robotic sorting has overcome its limitations and is ready to carry the torch. Robots are ready to work alongside humans or even operate completely autonomously in robot-only processes.
Automation in waste industry is finally here
In many industries, industrial automation has for decades provided improved efficiency and constant productivity day and night. Unlike car manufacturing, for example, waste processing is a chaotic, unstructured environment that is extremely difficult to automate.
At ZenRobotics, we took on the ultimate challenge of introducing robots to waste sorting already a decade ago. Combining durable robots with our own smart software has proved to be a perfect solution – our customers are happy to have robots working at their sites.
Humans vs. robots at the sorting line
Humans are very perceptive, they are pretty good at making fast decisions and their hands work very accurately and quickly together. For decades, these characteristics have made them kings of the hill at waste processing sites.
However, robots today match human perception and flexibility – and exceed them.
Here’s how robots beat human pickers in waste sorting:
- Robots overcome human limitations in speed, strength and endurance.
- Robots do not get tired – they work at constant, predictable speed.
- Robots do not suffer from back pains and are immune to hazardous materials.
- Robots do not switch jobs – they get software updates.
- Robots do not make humans obsolete, however. When adding robots to your process you provide new work as sorters become robot operators.
Secret of the smartest robots
ZenRobotics’ technology relies on a highly integrated solution that is optimized for waste sorting. This means we don’t just have a robot, but we have an intelligent combination of image recognition, machine learning, motion control with gripping and throwing, and many years of experience in waste processing.
Experience has shown us that robots have to deal with complexity. For example, our robots are more durable and designed to survive hits and collisions, in contrast to traditional industrial robots.
In addition, our unique AI software goes beyond pre-programming and allows our robots to work with real-time information. When software and hardware are developed hand-in-hand, we know the technology inside out and can further develop it for improved performance over time.
It’s time for humans to pass the torch to robots.