AMP Robotics Corp. this week introduced new robotic recycling facilities outside of Atlanta and Cleveland. The Louisville, Colo.-based company said the two high-diversion production facilities are based on its infrastructure model for advanced secondary sortation.
The AMP-owned operations are designed to economically process and aggregate low volumes of difficult-to-recycle mixed plastics, paper, and metals sourced from residue supplied by primary materials-recovery facilities and other material providers.
“With the success of the pilot facility we launched last year in Denver, we’ve been working hard to bring online additional facilities powered by our application of AI for material identification and advanced automation,” stated Matanya Horowitz, founder and CEO of AMP Robotics.
“This secondary sortation model is helping to address the millions of tons of recyclables and billions of dollars worth of material feedstock lost to landfill, despite the demand for high-quality recycled content from consumer packaged goods companies and brand owners,” he said.
AMP Robotics said it is applying machine learning and robots to increase recycling rates and economically recover recyclables reclaimed as raw materials for the global supply chain. With deployments across North America, Asia, and Europe, the company helps recover recyclables from municipal collection, precious commodities from electronic scrap, and high-value materials from construction and demolition debris.
AMP Cortex and Neuron learn at speed
The AMP Cortex robots automate the high-speed identification and sorting of recyclables from mixed material streams. The company said the strength of its AI makes secondary sortation technically and economically feasible.
The AMP Neuron AI platform continuously trains itself by recognizing different colors, textures, shapes, sizes, patterns, and even brand labels to identify materials and their recyclability. It recognizes 50 billion objects on an annual basis—a number that AMP said continues to exponentially increase as its installed base expands.
Neuron then guides robots to pick and place the material to be recycled. Designed to run 24/7, all of this happens at superhuman speed with extremely high accuracy, claimed AMP.
“Data is at the heart of what we do. Our AI platform, AMP Neuron, continues to achieve breakthroughs in data accuracy and classification of different polymers, form factors, and other packaging types,” said Amanda Marrs, senior director of product at AMP Robotics. “Our neural network is built on a data engine that has recognized more than 50 billion containers and packaging types in real-word conditions.”
AMP Clarity provides key recycling data
Data is seen as key to improving recycling and recovery rates for a circular economy, according to AMP Robotics. As part of the National Recycling Strategy released last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cited measurement standardization and increased data collection as one of its five objectives.
In addition to secondary sortation, AMP Clarity provides data and material characterization on what recyclables are captured and missed, helping recycling businesses and producers maximize recovery. The company is adding the following features to its software:
- Mass estimation
- Robot pick assignments, alerts, and status tracking
- Expanded reporting capabilities to help materials-recovery facilities (MRFs) and converters take a data-driven approach to optimizing operations, increasing recovery revenue, and reducing costs
“These advancements in material recognition continuously improve performance for our customers and open the door to other categories of packaging that have been historically challenging to identify, such as plastic films and flexible packaging—an area we’re heavily focused on in new product development,” said Marrs.
Secondary sortation model changes economics
Through its secondary sortation model, AMP Robotics recovers mixed paper, metals, and a portfolio of No. 1 to 7 plastics in a variety of form factors and attributes with high precision and purity, with a special focus on plastic blends uniquely enabled by AI. The company resells these commodities, including bespoke chemical and polymer blends needed by processors and manufacturers, to end-market buyers.
AMP said its secondary facilities drive down the cost of recovery while creating contamination-free, high-quality bales of recycled material for resale. The company added that its business model also introduces market certainty, lower disposal costs, and new revenue streams for established MRFs by creating a destination for residue that they would otherwise have to pay to landfill.
The business model can also help demand for mixed or impure plastic streams that may not have strong end markets, said AMP.
“We’ve had AMP’s AI-guided robotics systems installed since 2019, and they’ve helped us lower labor costs, increase recovery, and boost capacity,” said Joe Benedetto, president of Recycling & Disposal Solutions (RDS) of Virginia. “Now that we’re working with AMP on residue, mixed plastics, and containers for secondary processing, we’re seeing lower disposal costs and a new source of income.”
“Moreover, we’re better fulfilling our commitment to ensuring more recyclables are actually recycled,” he said.
AMP seeks more partners as it expands
Demand for robotics to retrofit existing recycling infrastructure continues to grow. The industry needs capacity to meet the 2025 goals of consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies that have committed to the use of post-consumer recycled (PCR) content.
AMP already has about 230 deployments of its AMP Cortex robotic sorting systems in nearly 80 facilities across three continents, and it has doubled year-over-year revenue for three consecutive years. AMP plans to introduce more facilities in the second half of 2022.
The company is seeking relationships with waste management companies to accept or buy residual or secondary materials as well as strategic partnerships with plastics reclaimers, chemical recyclers, and other plastics manufacturers for offtake of recovered plastics.
AMP sponsored, exhibited, and spoke as part of several sessions at WasteExpo 2022 this week in Las Vegas.
- Marrs joined “MRF and Software Technology” panel
- Chris Wirth, vice president of marketing and government affairs, participated in “Government’s Role in Funding Recycling Infrastructure”
- Jonathan Levy, director of government affairs, spoke as part of “Recycling in the '20s” panel
Visitors can meet AMP’s team at Booth 3405 through today to learn more about its AMP Cortex robotic sorting system and AMP Clarity recycling intelligence tool.
About the Author
Eugene Demaitre is editorial director of Robotics 24/7. Prior to joining Peerless Media, he was a senior editor at Robotics Business Review and The Robot Report. Demaitre has also worked for BNA (now part of Bloomberg), Computerworld, and TechTarget. He has participated in numerous robotics-related webinars, podcasts, and events worldwide.
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