ZenRobotics units picking C&D materials in Europe

Terex subsidiary ships more sorting devices to Spross Transport & Recycling in Switzerland.

zenrobotics spross switzerland
Newly delivered robot sorting at a Spross facility in Switzerland will pick concrete, wood and other saleable materials from a mixed stream.
Photo courtesy of Terex Corp./ZenRobotics

Spross Transport & Recycling AG, a Switzerland-based hauler and recycler of mixed C&D loads and other materials, has taken delivery of additional ZenRobotics Heavy Picker robot arms at its Spross Recyclingwerk Zurich RWZ site.

ZenRobotics, which was acquired by United States-based Terex Corp. this August, says Spross began working with Finland-based ZenRobotics in 2019. Subsequently, Spross manager of disposal services Josef Binzegger “has been so impressed by the ZenRobotics safe sorting robots that he, along with the team at Spross, have decided that they warrant further investment,” the company says.

In Zurich, the robot technology has been installed to sort through 180,000 metric tons of discarded C&D materials and “bulky household waste” annually. Spross and ZenRobotics say the additional robot arms—which will triple the amount of Heavy Picker robot arms at the Zurich facility—will help Spross sort fractions at a rate of up to 6,000 picks per hour

“So far, the robots have been recovering mainly concrete and stone for concrete production, as well as wood and plastics and some metals,” according to ZenRobotics. The robots’ artificial intelligence (AI) can be instructed to add other materials “with ease,” according to the technology vendor.

Safety has been a leading consideration for family-owned business Spross. “We are working 13 meters [42 feet] above ground, and what amazed me was that these robots work perfectly in these difficult surroundings,” Binzegger says. “This environment is dusty, it is not heated, and the ground vibrates all the time.”

“Our robots are custom made and are a perfect fit for this plant despite the challenging environment," says Juha Mieskonen, head of sales at ZenRobotics. "Because our [recycling] sorting robots work so well under challenging circumstances, they have increased work safety by replacing manual labor and have created a workplace that actively promotes safe sorting. Thanks to the robot’s high performance and reliability, the team at Spross have been able to increase their own production.”

A sorting robot can sort up to four different types of fractions and can be programmed to detect a new material by running samples through it and “telling” the robot this item needs to be collected, according to ZenRobotics.

The sorting robot also is easy to use via a touch screen, Binzegger says, adding, “If you know how to use an iPhone, you also know how to use this robot with no difficulties."

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