Amp Robotics Corp., Denver, has introduced Amp Clarity, artificial intelligence- (AI-) powered material characterization software that enables the recognition and classification of recyclables as they flow through the different recovery stages of the recycling process. The company says the technology provides “measurable transparency on the recyclables captured and missed during different recycling processes, as well as confirming the composition of recovered material bales destined for resale to end markets in the supply chain.”
“Data transparency in the recycling industry has been a longstanding challenge due to the complexity of mixed material streams, compounded by ongoing changes in consumer packaging,” says Matanya Horowitz, founder and CEO of Amp. “These obstacles often create impediments to accurate data collection and prevent a clear understanding of what goes into and comes out of the different infrastructure stages that support recycling.”
He continues, “Our material characterization software digitizes the real-time flow of recyclables with precision and consistency, providing opportunities to identify gaps in material capture, transparency on what recyclables are and are not recycled and a basis for standardized measurement vital to improve our national recycling system.”
Amp Clarity captures data on plastics, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP) and polystyrene (PS); aluminum recyclables such as used beverage cans (UBCs); and fiber, such as corrugated cardboard (OCC) and sorted residential paper and newsprint (SRPN). Data are collected, classified and subclassified so material recovery facilities (MRFs) can see what recyclables are flowing through different stages of their operations. Amp says this monitoring can help prevent the loss of recyclables to landfill, diagnose gaps in processing efficiency, audit the composition of material streams and create certainty about final bale content and material quality for buyers and sellers.
“Over the last year, our team has worked hard on product development, testing and delivery of Amp Clarity,” Jeff Loebbaka, chief commercial officer of Amp Robotics, says. “We partnered with an initial group of our customers to beta test our solution in the field, and the response was very positive.”
Loebbaka says Amp customers see Clarity as a means to prevent the loss of valuable material to landfill and to improve operational performance. “Higher capture rates result in increased revenue, reduced disposal costs and efficiency gains that further lower operational expenses,” he says. “Our customers are also using Clarity’s material characterization capabilities to establish confidence in the final material quality of their bales sold to plastics reclaimers, paper mills and aluminum manufacturers. Based on feedback we’ve received, Clarity can play a critical role in bridging industry standards for bale certification.”
Amp Clarity is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution available via an online web portal that can be accessed through desktop, laptop and mobile devices, the company says. Clarity is made possible through Amp’s portfolio of hardware systems, including the Amp Cortex robotic sorting system and the company’s Amp Vision system, a standalone modular enclosure that can be dropped into a facility’s existing operation for specific data collection from residual, quality control, container, paper and audit lines. Amp says Clarity can serve as a QC application for other processing equipment, such as optical sorters or eddy currents, to identify recyclables that may have missed for capture later in the operation. Clarity also can be placed before the final material quality processing stage to identify contaminants before plastics, aluminum or paper are baled for resale.
“The integration of Amp Vision and Amp Clarity provides opportunities for consumer packaged goods companies, retailers and packaging manufacturers to understand the flow and recovery of their specific containers and packaging,” says Chris Wirth, vice president of business development and government affairs, Amp Robotics. “Our technology can help producer initiatives to increase recycling rates and create new value streams for recyclables.”
Wirth adds that the technology also could create “a mechanism to support federal, state and local government programs focused on landfill diversion goals and recycled-content standards to advance a more circular economy.”
Earlier this month, PET reclaimer Evergreen said it has deployed Amp’s AI-guided robots at its Clyde, Ohio, plant. Amp says the installation marked its continued expansion of its technology with plastics reclaimers and that its technology identifies and sorts green and clear PET from postconsumer bales of plastic soft drink bottles, which Evergreen recycles into flakes or pellets and sells to end markets as feedstock for new containers and packaging.
The company also introduced automated secondary sorting facilities, which apply advanced automation enabled by AI to sort through low volumes of residue to recover plastics, UBCs and OCC.