Waste Robotics – Frequently Asked Questions

Supplier: Diverseco
25 July, 2020

The waste management and recycling industry has seen an increase in the adoption of automated recycling and waste management systems. These systems are revolutionising these industries through a combination of intelligent AI vision and robot arms.

We’ve put together a list of the most common frequently asked questions to assist you in learning about these fantastic systems.

How much is your robot?

  • Waste Robotics designs robotic sorting systems specifically adapted for the application. 
  • A complete robotic sorting application starts as low as $185k USD.

 

How many picks/min does your robot do?

  • As many as needed: 30, 60, 3000.
  • We will incorporate the number of robots necessary to achieve the application.

 

Can your robot beat my best human sorter?

  • Absolutely, because it doesn’t eat, break, or sleep.
  • Moreover, it can see the material composition that is invisible to the human eye.

 

Is your robot COVID-19 resistant?

  • Absolutely. Robots always show up for work, do not get sick or injured.
  • If health and safety of your workers is a priority, you should seriously consider getting the dull, dangerous and dirty work performed by our robots.
  • Waste Robotics robots can be serviced remotely using an internet connection.

 

How does AI keep up with the ever changing plastics containers composition?

  • It cannot. Producers of goods change their container’s plastics all the time.
  • You will be chasing your tail trying to constantly retrain either human pickers and/or AI systems.

 

How does AI recognise objects it has never seen?

  • It cannot. This facts make it difficult to use only AI in negative sorting applications.

 

How fast can your robot learn to identify new objects?

  • If you come across a new object you can scan a few dozen examples that will get uploaded to the Waste Robotics Cloud Service and a few days later, you will be able to sort this object with precision.
  • This new knowledge or ability will be available to all Waste Robotics robots under service contract.

 

Do multi-sensor robots help achieve better quality sorting?

  • You bet. If AI cannot do it all, other sensors (3D, hyperspectral, magnetic, etc.) can be added to improve quality of sorting.
  • If quality sorting is what you need, you will have to use multi-sensor robots.

 

Is your robot more expensive than the others?

  • Yes and no If you want an AI-only cheap robot with a suction cup we can make it at a competitive price.
  • If you want a quality sorting, multi-sensor robot, it will be more expensive, and it will do a lot more.
  • Waste Robotics robots can always be upgraded to enhance functionality.

 

What is the impact on the ROI, if I interlock humans with robots?

  • If your robotic sorting line cannot operate by itself, it means that the robots will stop for lunch, breaks, and will sleep at night. Not ideal for a good return on investment (ROI).
  • A fully autonomous sorting line is the way to go.

 

Will the robots do as many picks/min as the brochure claims?

  • Unlikely. If there is nothing on the belt, it will not perform 60 picks/min. If a cluster of 10 objects arrive at once it will do what it can. Picking rate in brochures often represent robotic sorting in perfect situations, which is not what happens in real life.
  • For example, if you operate a line at 1.5 m/s with a 60 picks/min robot which has a workspace of 1.5m, it means it takes 1 second for an object to cross the robot’s workspace and it takes one second to make a pick.
  • If you are lucky you may be able to pick 2 of the 10 objects arriving all at once.
  • Waste Robotics offers variable speed sorting conveyor controls to mitigate this issue and provide optimal picking rate.

 

Is having several slower robots better than having one (1) fast robot?

  • Absolutely. Several robots working in series augments the robot’s workspace and material contact time so there are more opportunities to make the picks. Two (2) 30 picks/min robots will achieve more picks than one (1) 60 picks/min robot.

 

Can your robot recognise objects that are touching or overlapping?

  • Yes, our multi-sensor robots can clearly recognise moderately overlapping objects. 

 

Can your robot de-stack objects that are overlapping?

  • Yes, our multi-sensor robots can clearly recognise overlapping objects and de-stack them.
  • In real conditions, it is impossible to have a perfect spreading of material, de-stacking is an essential functionality to system performance.

 

For economy of scale can you add more robots to your vision system?

  • Absolutely. We can attach up to 8 robots to one vision system. This reduces significantly the application footprint and price per picks.

 

Can you use any type of robot?

  • Waste Robotics has developed a software capable of integrating any type of robots (Delta, Gantry, 6-axes, SCARA, etc.) from any manufacturer.

 

Can you design a fully autonomous line that we will up and let it work by itself?

  • Absolutely. We have the experience and capability to design and deliver fully autonomous sorting lines that you fill up with material and it sorts by itself. When the feeding hopper is low the robot calls the operator to refill it.

 

Can your Robot use a gripper instead of a problematic suction cup?

  • Yes, we offer great alternatives to suction cups.

 

Can your robot use different types of grippers for different sorting applications?

  • Waste Robotics designs and fabricates specialised robotic tooling for various waste sorting applications.

 

Can an army of little robots beat an optical sorter?

  • Absolutely. It will deliver better quality sorting and sort several fractions in a single pass.

 

Can I easily reconfigure your robot to sort various types of objects in various bins?

  • You can easily configure Waste Robotics robots to sort any object you want with any gripper into any number of bins/bunkers.

 

Can you adapt your robot to fit my application?

  • That is one of Waste Robotics key differentiators. We deliver specifically adapted robotic sorting applications.

 

Do you offer a data collection and mining service that could help me with my reporting, composition analysis and potential contract negotiation?

  • Waste Robotics Cloud Service allows you to collect all the data captured by the robot’s cameras and store it indefinitely onto private and secured servers. This data can thereafter be analysed to produce all sorts of products such as composition analysis, environmental reporting, and/or contractual evidences.

 

Can you offer local service?

  • Throughout its Licensed Integrator PartnerShip (LIPS) program, Waste Robotics is building a network of specialised robotic integrators that can locally build, install and service Waste Robotics systems.
  • Diverseco are your proud Australian integration and service experts.

 

Are your robots sorting the exact same way that I need here?

  • Unlikely. Sorting applications are different from site to site that’s why we offer fully adapted robotic sorting solutions.

 

Do I have to pay a monthly license fee to use the robot I brought?

  • No, but we offer various hardware/software/data service packages to maintain equipment and keep software up-to-date. 

 

Will the robot do a perfect job, all the time, at virtually no cost?

  • Nope. Just like anything else, it costs money, and nothing is perfect.
  • At Waste Robotics, we make a point to set the client’s expectation at the right place.

 

What is the impact of the front-end to robot performance?

  • It is very important that the material presents itself properly to the robot. We work together with our client to establish a strategy to ensure optimal performance.

 

With this robot in place, will I have to do things differently than what I do today?

  • Yes. You’re installing robots for the sole reason that you want to fair better than what you are doing now. You will have to adapt the way you do things today.

 

If you are interested in learning more about the wonders of Waste Robotics technology, visit our Waste Robotics page.

If you would like to speak to an expert, please feel free to contact us!