Combating Labour Shortages
One of our customers, Recyco Waste, a leading waste & recycling company in Northern Ireland, has taken decisive action to combat labour shortages by installing AI-guided robots into their recycling facility.
Recyco Waste, Omagh, N. Ireland.
Single & Tandem Unit.
Dry Mixed Recyclables (DMR).
Recyco Waste operate a dry mixed recycling facility. They take in co-mingled recyclable material, which consists generally of cardboard, paper, plastics, aluminum, steel, and glass and separate that into individual components, bale it up, package it up and send it onto further reprocessing.
The two main challenges they faced were:
- Labour shortages
- Contaminated waste
"Where the dual robot is now, I previously had four people there, running out over two shifts - so that's removing eight people per day. Where the single robot is, I'm replacing two staff per day on that. It’s doing every bit as good a job as a human labourer was doing previously.
Unfortunately, due to a mix of Brexit and COVID, we have been experiencing serious labour shortages. The robots have allowed us to take back control of our plant. The benefits I'm seeing from using robots and AI, as opposed to using human labour is that productivity remains consistent right across the shift. There are no breaks, no holidays, no sick days. We have had to move with the times, and we’re proud to be leading the way for AI-powered recycling in these islands."
The solution provided was a high-speed, intelligent robotics system. Two cells were installed:
- A TANDEM CELL
This is 2 robots splitting the conveyor belt over a fibre line in a quality control role after a screen. The conveyor belt is 1.4m wide and each robot takes one half of the belt and can pick 3 separate materials each. The robots are programmed to remove residue, OCC, and containers through a negative pick, leaving a high quality fibre. Each robot is able to pick up to 60 picks per minute when there are sufficient target materials available.
- A SINGLE CELL
This is 1 robot picking to both sides of the conveyor belt over another fibre line in a quality control role following an optical sorter. The conveyor belt is 0.8m wide with the robot able to pick 4 separate materials from the belt (2 to each side of the belt through custom chutes. The robot is programmed to remove residue, ALU cans and plastic containers through a negative pick, leaving a high quality fibre product. This robotic cell is able to remove up to 80 picks per minute when there are sufficient target materials available.
- Productivity remains consistent right across the shift.
- Improved bale purity.
- No downtime as installation was carried out over a weekend.
- Local after-sales support from REP-TEC.