SamurAI robot
Photo courtesy Machinex

French recycling plant to be fitted with Machinex robotics

The company says three SamurAI robots will modernize the single-stream recycling plant in Bègles, France.


Machinex of Plessisville, Quebec, has announced the implementation of three sorting robots at Bègles, near Bordeaux, in France. The robots are part of modernization work on the single-stream material recovery facility (MRF) in the metropolitan area of Bordeaux Metropole.

The company will install these robots in a plant owned by the Veolia Group, a waste management company based in France. Their installation is expected next year.

Machinex says the three robots will handle different functions in the single-stream system. Two robots will perform the quality control of clear polyethylene terephthalate and polyethylene/polypropylene by retrieving other recoverable and unwanted materials that may be present. In addition, a third SamurAI will be placed on the rejects line to recover materials at this stage of the process.

Founded in 1970, Machinex specializes in recycling sorting systems. Its SamurAI robot debuted in 2018 and initially used artificial intelligence (AI) technology from Amp Robotics of Colorado. Machinex has since developed its own AI.* Project Director Etienne Lessard says the SamurAI robot is unique because of its grasping tool.

“We went further into development to obtain a unique and very powerful suction tool that offers excellent grasping capabilities,” Lessard says. “Indeed, no matter the artificial intelligence’s performance, the robot must capture designated materials, despite their shape or weight. Our recent experience shows us that the SamurAI performs outstandingly to grasp the hardest containers such as big HDPE (high-density polyethylene) with an irregular shape.” 

This is the second site operated by Veolia that Machinex will its robotics in. This summer, the company will put two sorting robots in a facility at Portes-Les-Valence.

*This article originally misstated that the SamurAI still used Amp's AI. Recycling Today apologizes for the error.