- The Carton Council of North America and AMP Robotics have announced the installation of an AMP Cortex robot that will be used to sort food and beverage cartons at a Dem-Con Companies recycling facility in Shakopee, MN, according to an emailed press release.
- The AMP Cortex robot will be capable of picking up 60 cartons per minute from the sorting line, which exceeds the human average of 40 cartons per minute.
- This installation follows a March pilot program to test the robot at the Alpine Waste & Recycling materials recovery facility in Denver.
While the waste industry has been slow to implement new or advanced technologies, there has been a growing need for innovative ways to decrease contamination and increase diversion — and robots have proven to be a realistic solution. Recently BHS debuted a Max-AI robotic sorter at an Athens Services MRF in Los Angeles, ZenRobotics introduced a wind-powered robotic sorting system in Sweden, and AI recycling bins have been developed to detect the types of items that are tossed in them.
For The Carton Council, AMP Cortex robots could be a silver bullet to dramatically boost recycling rates. While carton recycling is now available at 60% of U.S. households, it's not beneficial without the proper — and most effective — resources in place to sort the material. The Council has expressed interest in installing more AMP Cortex sorters at various facilities nationwide, the probability of which may be accelerated by the robot's likely success at Dem-Con.
At the 2017 WasteExpo, attorney John Cruickshank warned industry employees that automation will likely be a workforce disruptor. "It's kind of mind blowing how much you can do by machine now," he said, referring to a number of robotic advancements that could alter the fate of existing jobs. As technologies become more widely available across the industry, employers will have a responsibility to balance operational efficiency while maintaining worker compensation and loyalty.