Color-based optical sorter with Artificial Intelligence
The additional layer of intelligence creates new sorting capabilities by combining the ColorPlus sorter’s high volume and high confidence capabilities with Max’s person-like identification decisions.
The ColorPlus sorter employs a high-resolution RGB color line-scan sensor to identify and sort recyclables by color. Max-AI technology employs a camera and deep learning based AI to identify recyclables similar to the way a person does. Max-AI technology, launched by NRT parent company Bulk Handling Systems (BHS) in 2017, is already at work in more than 100 installations. While most of these installations use the technology in collaboration with robotic sorters, the Max-AI VIS (Visual Identification System) is also installed as stand-alone equipment and has already been integrated into the NRT SpydIR with Max-AI.
“From the beginning we realized Max was a game changer, not just for robotic sorters, but really for the industry on a system-wide level,” said BHS CEO Steve Miller. “This is another step forward as we continue to integrate Max into more of our equipment and intelligent system controls. NRT optical sorters are the best in the world at identifying material at very high confidence levels by color or material composition, but sometimes the most effective sort requires the type of characterization that a person can make – that’s where Max comes in. Cardboard isn’t always brown and a clear PET container isn’t always desired in the end product. The ColorPlus with Max-AI is going to solve a lot of sorting challenges for our customers and we are thrilled to introduce it to them,” Miller concluded.
The first ColorPlus with Max-AI is installed in a European paper recycling facility to purify the fiber stream by removing non-paper fiber. In this case, Max-AI technology identifies material by type (ex., pizza box, cereal box, OCC, craft board, book, etc.). The ColorPlus technology is tuned to aggressively detect brown fiber. The combination of proven color detection and the added layer of AI ensures the ultimate removal of non-spec fiber. The technology has the flexibility to change what material types are targeted, allowing the customer to adjust along with market and material fluctuations.