San Jose, California-based recycler deploys robots to reach its 85 percent diversion from landfill goal.

Helsinki-based ZenRobotics Ltd. and Westminster, Colorado-based Plexus Recycling Technologies have announced that ZenRobotics’ ZRR2 AI robots are operational at Zanker Recycling in San Jose, California.



“The advantage of deploying AI robotics to recycling differentiates Zanker from our competitors,” says Michael Gross, director of sustainability for Zanker Recycling. “Reaching the diversion goals is extremely important to us, which is why we chose Plexus Recycling Technologies as our partner in reaching these goals.”

The ZenRobotics ZRR2 operates 20 hours per day and processes 150,000 tons per year, increasing Zanker Recycling's diversion of recyclables by 20 percent, according to a news release.

Through the system, material feeding is “highly automated” from the beginning of the process, the company says. The front end operates 50 percent of the time to process inbound material. In the middle of the system are two large dosing bunkers that store up to 100 tons of material. The "ZenRobotics Brain" controls these along with all equipment downstream to allow a “very smooth” operation “focused on recovery and efficiency.”

“This is the most advanced waste material processing facility in the world,” says Dane Campbell, the project’s system engineer from T3CHCOMP. “We have combined the very best equipment available into one fantastic recycling system for Zanker Recycling.”

Owned by Zanker Road Resource Management, Zanker Recycling is a privately-owned solid waste and recycling company that began operations in 1985 by developing a landfill into a full-service resource management and composting and recycling facility. In 1998, Zanker Recycling expanded operations by permitting an adjacent landfill site as a construction and demolition debris processing facility. The facilities process more than 2,600 tons of mixed debris per day and divert more than 80 percent of waste they receive from landfill.

Plexus Recycling Technologies, the North American distributor of ZenRobotics, provided "key European equipment," including Komptech’s Terminator, Ballistor and drum screen. The system’s electrical controls were provided by Hertlein Industries, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in automatizing waste material processing systems.

“Zanker Recycling’s investment into the technology with the Plexus designed system is a testament to the ownership and management’s commitment to increasing diversion rates," says Plexus and Komptech Americas CEO Marcel Vallen. “We could not have partnered with a better group of people than Zanker to unveil the power of automation with robotics in the waste industry. All of our teams that contributed to this success are incredibly excited.”

MerQbiz, a solutions and analytics provider for buyers and sellers in the recovered paper (RCP) industry based in El Segundo, California, has released BaleVision. The tool provides companies with actionable insights to the quality of their recovered paper (RCP). It also helps RCP buyers to maximize supplier performance and sellers to earn a fair price for their product.

MerQbiz is a joint venture between German equipment company Voith Gmbh and Boston Consulting Group Digital Ventures.

Conventional measurement methodologies, such as ocular inspections and bale breaking, can be costly, labor intensive and subjective. According to MerQbiz, data collected by those methods can be unreliable and provide little information for process optimization. 

BaleVision is a device for more effective quality measurement and a system for data analysis and visualization. According to a news release from MerQbiz, the quality assessment tool analyzes the bale from the inside out, collecting detailed data on fiber content, moisture, plastic, ash and other bale contaminants. MerQbiz has partnered with the manufacturer, PTS, to be the exclusive distributor of the device in North America.

According to MerQbiz, BaleVision helps to increase the volume of bales that can be inspected and delivers data analytics that provide information transparency via dashboards. MerQbiz reports that the tool combines customer data with market and seasonal data and it supplies trend analyses for quality, operations, procurement and finance. The company also tailors the solution to each customer’s requirements, and it can be integrated with existing enterprise technology platforms or function as a standalone system.

Additionally, MerQbiz is launching a new analytics platform that will house the dashboards and related services such as claims management and an RCP export procurement solution. The BaleVision tool is now available in North America and will soon be rolled out in other international markets. 

Foam Recycling Coalition awards county $50,000 grant to complete construction of polystyrene processing center.

Residents in Otsego County, New York, will have the opportunity to recycle polystyrene through a county program thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Foam Recycling Coalition (FRC), Falls Church, Virginia. The county’s program will focus on receiving cups, plates, takeout containers, egg cartons, trays and blocks from local commercial businesses and self-delivery from residents, according to a news release announcing the grant.

The new grant funding allows Otsego County to purchase and install a densifier, finish its polystyrene processing center build-out, collect materials and “focus on education and outreach.”

“We’re excited and grateful for this award from the Foam Recycling Coalition,” says Karen Sullivan, Otsego County’s planning and solid waste director. “Our new polystyrene processing center will divert more material from our landfill, saving county taxes and positively impacting our environment.” 

The county committed to establishing a foam polystyrene recycling program as part of Otsego County’s 2018 Solid Waste Management Plan. The program partners with local nonprofit Arc Otsego, which will provide staffing at the existing ReUse Center. The county will assist with promotion and marketing.

Lynn Dyer, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI), Falls Church, Virginia, which houses the coalition says, “Otsego County has shown a progressive attitude toward diverting as much county materials as possible. The county’s latest efforts on foam recycling mean these valuable materials are being recovered instead of landfilled.”

The county, which has about 60,000 residents among 24 communities, supports recycling of traditional materials, while also providing options for batteries, electronics, mattresses, medications and fluorescent lightbulbs.

The grant is made possible through contributions to the FRC, which focuses exclusively on increased recycling of postconsumer polystyrene. Its members include Americas Styrenics, Cascades Canada ULC, Chick-fil-A, Dart Container Corp. and many others.

Otsego County is the 11th grant recipient to receive FRC funding since 2015. More than 3 million additional residents in the U.S. and Canada can recycle polystyrene as a result of FRC grants. Click here to learn more about previous recipients or apply for a grant.

Amut Group, headquartered in Novara, Italy, says it offers several solutions designed to support the circular economy that will be on display at K 2019, Oct. 16-23 in Dusseldorf, Germany. The company will be exhibiting in Hall 16–A05 and Hall 3-B92.

The company’s friction washer for polyethylene terephthalate/high-density polyethylene/low-density polyethylene (PET/HDPE/LDPE) features “strong cleaning force” that enable the outgoing flakes to be re-used in many applications, according to the company.

Amut will focus in part on a project carried out in partnership with Ecoplasteam, an Italian company that recycles polyethylene and aluminum polycomposite (POAL) from Tetrapack® packages. POAL is sorted from the cellulose at the paper mill and shipped to Ecoplasteam, where it is washed and pelletized into Ecoallene. The entire process uses Amut equipment. Ecoallene pellets can be extruded and thermoformed or processed by injection molding.

Amut also will feature the bottle-to-packaging application developed in collaboration with German company Erema. The extrusion line is designed to process 100 percent postconsumer PET bottle flakes into single-layer foil certified food-grade thermoforming. The line can be configured for net widths ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 millimeters (roughly 39 inches to 78 inches) with one layer, three layers or up to five layers with thicknesses ranging from 0.15 to 2 millimeters and output of up to 2,000 kilograms per hour (4,409 pounds per hour).

The company also will display a video featuring an in-line thermoforming plant for polylactic acid (PLA) cups. The Amut technology—extrusion and thermoforming units—can change easily from using polypropylene (PP) to PLA, Amut says.

Additionally, Amut will present its new ACS 2000 cast line for stretch film production, which includes the Q-Catcher that has been presented during the Stretch Film Conference in Barcelona, Spain, Plastics Extrusion World Expo in Cleveland and the Chinaplas exhibition in Guangzhou, China. However, only at the K Show will Amut host a live demo.

The Q-Catcher permits repeating previously saved parameters to produce film with exactly the same mechanical properties.

The ACS 2000 has a seven-layer, five-extruder configuration and produces a width of up to 2,000 millimeters (roughly 6.5 feet) with an output of 1,300 kilograms per hour (nearly 2,900 feet per minute). Amut says the upgraded technology includes the T-Die Essentia with die splitter, movable vacuum box for cleaning without dismantling, jumbo type chill roll unit, AD Scan X-Rays thickness control system, the Prowind 4.0 super-fast winder for hand, machine and jumbo rolls without any hydraulic components.

The ACF820 thermoforming machine to be presented at K 2019 has three stations: forming, cutting and stacking. It can be equipped with additional chain rails between the oven and the forming mold, an 80-ton forming press for integrated forming and cutting and a vision system for quality control.

Automatic Food Box Packaging Machine

The ACF820 will be operated using 100 percent recycled PET foil produced with the above-mentioned AMUT/Erema line and with metalized foil using Glue Less technology.

Recycling Today's October issue will include our updated list of wire chopping lines in North America. If you have wire chopping equipment to process aluminum or copper cables, whether it is operational or not, please take a moment to provide us with the information for your facility by filling out the form at www.RecyclingToday.com/form/2019-wire-chopping-list-form.

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