Optical sorters use different ejection methods to process materials more efficiently and with high purity rates. But not everyone knows what a recycling robot looks like or how these machines leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to benefit recycling facilities.

“Recycling Robots, Take Two,” an e-book from TOMRA Recycling, a division of Asker, Norway-based TOMRA Group, explains the similarities and differences between optical sorters with valve block and robotic arm ejectors. The book describes how both types can be used to improve sorting performance. It also details what is at the heart of AI and how AI is evolving.

TOMRA is part of a growing field of companies making equipment with “deep learning” capabilities. Deep learning is a subfield of machine learning that structures algorithms in layers to create an “artificial neural network” that can learn and make intelligent decisions on its own, like the human brain.

Readers learn about the critical components shared by all optical sorters, what different sorting technologies are available for the recycler’s toolbox, and software’s role in sorting. The book discusses how processing software tailored to the equipment in use is critical to the sortation process so recyclers can maximize material recovery.

The e-book concludes with the message that, while not new to the recycling industry, the use of AI is expanding, which is helping to increase material processing speed, achieve higher recovery rates, and maximize circularity by bringing more high-quality materials into the loop.

You can download a copy of “Recycling Robots, Take Two” here.


Photo courtesy of TOMRA Recycling. Caption: “Recycling Robots, Take Two” is an e-book available from TOMRA Recycling by sharing your name and email address on the company website.

Dan Hockensmith

Dan Hockensmith

I'm a native Ohioan who since 2014 has called Maryland home. My background includes print, broadcast, and digital journalism; government contracting; and marketing communications.