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Combating Labour Shortages: The 1st Recycling Robots Installed in Ireland

One of our customers, Recyco Waste, a leading waste & recycling company in Northern Ireland, has taken decisive action to combat labour shortages by installing AI-guided robots into their recycling facility. It’s the first installation of its kind on the island of Ireland!

We recently installed two robots  – a single unit along with a tandem unit – on Recyco Waste's fibre lines to improve pick rates and bale purity. These units can pick upwards of 80 items per minute and the company has recorded up to 150 picks per minute with its tandem units. 


Owner of RECYCO WASTE, Michael Cunningham explains,

“Where the dual robot is now, I previously had four people there, running out over two shifts - so that's removing eight people per day. Where the single robot is, I'm replacing two staff per day on that. It’s doing every bit as good a job as a human labourer was doing previously.

Unfortunately, due to a mix of Brexit and COVID, we have been experiencing serious labour shortages. The robots have allowed us to take back control of our plant. The benefits I'm seeing from using robots and AI, as opposed to using human labour is that productivity remains consistent right across the shift. There are no breaks, no holidays, no sick days. We have had to move with the times, and we’re proud to be leading the way for AI-powered recycling in these islands.”

We ensured installation was carried out over a weekend to minimise any downtime and our founder and CEO, Colm Grimes says,

"As a relatively new company, it’s great to see our first robotics installation go live, with the project running very smoothly from start to finish. We started the installation on a Friday evening, and by Sunday evening we had both Cortex systems ready for the shift starting the next morning.”

The AI technology applies computer vision and deep learning to guide high-speed robotics systems to precisely identify, differentiate, and recover recyclables found in the waste stream by colour, size, shape, opacity, and more, storing data about each item it perceives. The AI platform can quickly adapt to packaging introduced into the recycling stream with recognition capabilities to the brand level—increasingly critical as demand for sufficient quantities of high-quality recycled material grows to meet consumer packaged goods companies’ commitment to use of post-consumer recycled content.

For more information on this system, click here.