Equipment Report

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Recent news from suppliers to the recycling industry

May 2, 2022

Willie Goode, CEO and an owner of WB Waste & Recycling
Photo courtesy of Machinex

Machinex helps WB Waste & Recycling upgrade sorting capacity

Machinex, headquartered in Plessisville, Quebec, with North American offices in North Carolina, has helped WB Waste & Recycling upgrade its Capitol Heights,  Maryland, Olive Street Recycling Facility. The retrofit included the addition of two Mach Ballistic separators and the dual-eject Mach Hyspec optical sorter, which ejects polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and mixed paper, increasing the material recovery facility’s (MRF’s) overall performance. The MRF processes residential single-stream and commercial materials.

The Olive Street MRF was awarded several new contracts for processing additional tons of residential single-stream material, so the company needed to improve its recycling capacity to meet these requirements. As a result, WB Waste & Recycling contacted Machinex to retrofit the recycling system.

On the container line, a magnet removes ferrous metals, such as tin cans, and an eddy current removes nonferrous metals.

As it does in many cases, during the upgrade, the Machinex engineering team had to cope with a tight existing building with a low roof.

As a result of the retrofit, the MRF’s sorting capacity increased from 10 tons per hour to 25 tons per hour.

Dave Taylor, director of recycling at WB Waste and Recycling, says the company experienced six weeks of total downtime while Machinex upgraded the Capitol Heights MRF.

“Working with Machinex, with their customer service, it was incredible how quickly we were able to get this project off the ground and completed,” he says.

Photo courtesy of Evergreen

Amp Robotics supplies multiple units to Evergreen

Evergreen, an Ohio-based producer of food-grade recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET), has announced it will be installing artificial intelligence- (AI-) enabled bottle sorters at its Albany, New York, plastics recycling and rPET manufacturing facility.

When the installation is completed in mid-2022, Evergreen says it will have deployed 15 “high-speed, highly accurate robotic lines at three of its United States locations.”

Amp Robotics Corp., headquartered in Denver, Colorado, will supply the robotic sorting equipment to be used in Albany. Amp also installed AI-enabled robotic sorting equipment at the Evergreen facility in Clyde, Ohio, in April 2021 and supplied sorters to the Evergreen Riverside plant in California last August.

“With demand for recycled PET (rPET) at the highest levels in history, we simply can’t rely on outdated ways of doing business,” says Evergreen President and CEO Omar Abuaita. “Evergreen is playing for keeps. Automating our sorting lines allows us to support ever-larger PET recycling streams, provide the millions of pounds of food-grade rPET our customers have committed to purchasing and achieve a safer, more efficient work environment for our team.”

Abuaita says replacing previous manual sorting processes with high-tech robotics is part of the company’s strategic vision to transform not just the company but [also] the overall plastics recycling industry.

“Evergreen is a leader in the transformation of recycling processes, and its application of AI-guided sortation is increasing plastic recycling rates and helping to close the loop on PET,” says Matanya Horowitz, founder and CEO of Amp Robotics. “Evergreen’s repeat orders of our systems is a testament to the operational benefits of our AI and automation solutions, and we’re proud to play a role in the company’s expansion and modernization efforts.”

In February, Abuaita revealed that Evergreen, a portfolio company of private equity firm the Sterling Group, has invested more than $200 million in modernization, capacity expansion and acquisitions over the last 12 months. The Amp Robotics units are part of that investment.

General Manager Greg Johnson says the AI-enabled sorting lines are an absolute necessity to increase the speed and accuracy of sorting the growing volume of PET bottles Evergreen processes.

“With the use of AI-powered robotics, we can identify and pick more contaminants from the stream, leaving high-quality clear and green PET bottles to be recycled,” he says. “The consistency and reliability of the robots has revolutionized our process. Our goal is to capture all bottles we can use in our food-grade rPET pellets.”