The municipality of Dunkerque in Northern France had been successfully implementing a bagged recyclables co-collection program for over a decade. However, they faced a significant challenge when it came to extracting bags from the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream before it entered their incinerator. Manual bag extraction involved strenuous and hazardous work conditions, which violated French regulations and exposed workers to dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks.
Dunkerque turned to Waste Robotics, seeking an automated solution to overcome the bag extraction problem. Waste Robotics responded by designing a fully automated robotic sorting line specifically for bag extraction. The solution centered around three FANUC six-axis robots equipped with AI vision capabilities.
The implementation of Waste Robotics’ robotic sorting line has yielded substantial results for Dunkerque Municipality:
- Cost Savings: By automating the bag extraction process, Dunkerque is now saving $300,000 per year. The elimination of manual labor and increased operational efficiency have significantly reduced labor costs and improved overall financial performance.
- Rapid Payback: The investment in the robotic sorting line has proven to be financially advantageous for Dunkerque. With the cost savings achieved, the municipality achieved a remarkable two-year payback period on the robotic line, demonstrating the cost-effectiveness and long-term value of the solution.
- Increased Efficiency and Compliance: The automated sorting line has enhanced operational efficiency by processing up to 24 tons per hour and extracting 3600 bags per hour. This streamlined workflow has improved productivity and ensured effective separation of bagged organics.
Additionally, the automation has allowed Dunkerque to comply with French regulations by eliminating the need for manual bag extraction, thereby improving working conditions and adhering to safety guidelines. A second line has been added with 2 robots