Zanker Recycling: first West-Coast artificial intelligence powered robotic waste sorting system

Zanker Recycling awarding a contract to Plexus Recycling Technologies, the North American distributor of ZenRobotics. The ZenRobotics ZRR2 AI Robot will be the second to operate in the U.S. and operational by fall 2018.

Zanker Recycling currently handles 2,600 tons of C&D material daily processed through three recycling systems. This high volume taxes the limits of these systems. By providing a fourth processing line featuring the ZenRobotics system, Zanker Recycling will dramatically increase diversion from landfills and decrease in overtime and operating costs.

“The advantage of deploying AI robotics to recycling differentiates Zanker from our competitors,” said Michael Gross, Director of Sustainability for Zanker Recycling. “In this case it means identifying the sweet spot where a hybrid mix of our employees and robot delivers the biggest payback, both to the bottom line and also to our employees while increasing the diversion of recyclables.”

The ZenRobotics ZRR2 AI will operate 20 hours per day with total system production at 150,000 tons per year increasing diversion of recyclables by 20%. The operation will only allow a very small amount of human interaction to the sorting process, possibly as quality control, thanks to the two ZenRobotic Recyclers installed on the 3D material sort line handling the majority of difficult to handle materials.

In a new twist for recycling systems, material feeding will be highly automated from the beginning of the process. The front end will only have to operate 50% of the time to process the inbound material. In the middle of the system are two large dosing bunkers that can store up to 100 tons of material. The ZenRobotics Brain will control these along with all equipment downstream to allow a very smooth-running operation focused on recovery and efficiency.

“This will be the most advanced waste material processing facility in the world,” said Dane Campbell, the project’s System Engineer from T3CHCOMP. “We have combined the very best equipment available, into one fantastic recycling system”. Plexus Recycling Technologies will provide key European systems such as the ZenRobotic Recyclers, Komptech Terminator, Komptech Ballistor and Komptech Fines Drumscreen. To bring all of these systems together, along with key equipment from Action, Steinert and Keith, Plexus selected Krause Manufacturing of the CP Group.

“This will be a substantial milestone for all of us.” said Ashely Davis director of Sales and Marketing for CP group. “Bringing the Krause name back to lead the C&D material processing industry again, with such a great team to support Zanker’s automated system will be amazing. We are able to showcase the new Air Drum Separators and superior Glass Breaker fines screen next to technology partner Plexus’s equipment offering.” The entire system’s PLC Electrical Control will be provided by Hertlein Industries.