AI-powered robotic system operational at Zanker Recycling
Inside Zanker Recycling’s “Robot House,” where two ZenRobotics ZRR2 each have the capacity to sort eight different materials, including concrete, rock, metal, wood and waste. The robots will process 150,000 tons annually, helping Zanker reach its 85 percent diversion from landfill goal.
Zanker Recycling.

AI-powered robotic system operational at Zanker Recycling

San Jose, California-based recycler deploys robots to reach its 85 percent diversion from landfill goal.

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Helsinki-based ZenRobotics Ltd. and Westminster, Colorado-based Plexus Recycling Technologies have announced that ZenRobotics’ ZRR2 AI robots are operational at Zanker Recycling in San Jose, California.

“The advantage of deploying AI robotics to recycling differentiates Zanker from our competitors,” says Michael Gross, director of sustainability for Zanker Recycling. “Reaching the diversion goals is extremely important to us, which is why we chose Plexus Recycling Technologies as our partner in reaching these goals.”

The ZenRobotics ZRR2 operates 20 hours per day and processes 150,000 tons per year, increasing Zanker Recycling's diversion of recyclables by 20 percent, according to a news release.

This is one of two ZenRobotics ZRR2 AI Robots, each with two arms, at work at Zanker Recycling. 

Through the system, material feeding is “highly automated” from the beginning of the process, the company says. The front end operates 50 percent of the time to process inbound material. In the middle of the system are two large dosing bunkers that store up to 100 tons of material. The "ZenRobotics Brain" controls these along with all equipment downstream to allow a “very smooth” operation “focused on recovery and efficiency.”

“This is the most advanced waste material processing facility in the world,” says Dane Campbell, the project’s system engineer from T3CHCOMP. “We have combined the very best equipment available into one fantastic recycling system for Zanker Recycling.”

Owned by Zanker Road Resource Management, Zanker Recycling is a privately-owned solid waste and recycling company that began operations in 1985 by developing a landfill into a full-service resource management and composting and recycling facility. In 1998, Zanker Recycling expanded operations by permitting an adjacent landfill site as a construction and demolition debris processing facility. The facilities process more than 2,600 tons of mixed debris per day and divert more than 80 percent of waste they receive from landfill.

Plexus Recycling Technologies, the North American distributor of ZenRobotics, provided "key European equipment," including Komptech’s Terminator, Ballistor and drum screen. The system’s electrical controls were provided by Hertlein Industries, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in automatizing waste material processing systems.

“Zanker Recycling’s investment into the technology with the Plexus designed system is a testament to the ownership and management’s commitment to increasing diversion rates," says Plexus and Komptech Americas CEO Marcel Vallen. “We could not have partnered with a better group of people than Zanker to unveil the power of automation with robotics in the waste industry. All of our teams that contributed to this success are incredibly excited.”