Queensland demand boosts reverse vending machine production
SAGE Automation has increased production of its smart container deposit machines following the successful uptake of Queensland’s Containers for Change scheme, launched in November 2018. In collaboration with the University of South Australia, the Adelaide-based technology and engineering company developed the auto redemption terminals (ARTs) for South Australian company Container Deposit Systems (CDS). CDS has reported a rise from 32,000 to 230,000 containers per day through its 16 ARTs at private recyclers across six sites.
SAGE is manufacturing 30 more ARTs to meet demand as more states implement container deposit schemes. CDS plans to roll out its machines into the Western Australian market in mid-2020, with plans to explore options in the Northern Territory, NSW and South Australia.
The terminals allow customers to deposit cans, plastic bottles and glass in any condition for a refund of 10c per container. More than 344 million containers have been returned to date since the scheme commenced late last year.
The entire process takes only a few minutes. The ARTs identify and sort containers by integrating Industrial Internet of Things technology with a vision counting and sorting system, which can count up to 350 containers per minute without the need for coding or labelling.
Conveyer belts, electric motors and spinning discs sort the containers by separating common recyclables like metals, plastics and glass. The machines have seen thousands of images of containers and can identify different container types, including unwanted materials. The containers are ready to be recycled once compressed air pushes them into specific categorised cages.
SAGE Automation General Manager Paul Johnson said the terminals have a counting accuracy rate above 99%, with no serious technical or functional issues reported to date.
“The machines have been very reliable and are well supported by SAGE services nationally,” he said. “The vision system that identifies the containers is bespoke, and we hope for it to become a national solution.”
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