AMP Robotics began in 2014 with the idea that artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics could change the economics of recycling. The challenge was determining how to distinguish individual objects despite being dirty, smashed or torn and within a cluttered environment. We solved this by developing AMP Neuron™, our AI platform. Using advanced computer vision and machine learning, the platform trains itself by processing millions of material images. Learning from experience, it gets better and better while identifying more specific material categories.

We then focused on making the installation, maintenance and scaling of robotics within a facility as easy as possible—with little downtime and no need for a costly retrofit. This helps make the technology affordable and accelerates the return on investment for our customers.

Our applications accelerated. We took on more installations and improved our system performance. We’ve reached very high purities in difficult applications, achieved more than 80 picks per minute per robot and expanded in new sectors like construction and demolition, e-scrap and more.

In 2019 it’s been exciting to see industry acceptance and excitement for AI and robotics. We see this with larger deployments of robotics and with deeper deployment of our technology in our customers’ operations. By installing an AMP vision system, operators know exactly what’s happening at that location—from inbound material volume to outbound product quality. The industry wants tight real-time operational control but previously didn’t have the capability. With our vision system, it does.

Demand for our technology meant we had to scale operations to manage installation and training. We needed team members who understood material recovery facility (MRF) operations. We brought on leaders with deep industry experience, such as Robb Espinosa, vice president of operations, who has helped create a culture of operational excellence and process rigor here at AMP.

We’re committed to innovation and to expanding the use of this technology, adding C&D recycling and e-scrap applications with our partner Ryohshin and with ERI.

We’ve also introduced the AMP Insights™ data management system, which monitors the material stream and allows recycling plants to begin operating like advanced manufacturing facilities where processes and outputs are closely monitored to ensure product quality.

The AMP system does not replace traditional sorting technologies; it enhances them through the data feedback loop and by applying robotics to automate other operations.

As a company founded on innovation, we’re committed to developing robotics, AI and superior systems integration to advance the recovery of valuable raw materials, improve how plants function and increase the revenue that can be generated from these complex recycling processes.

We see a quickly approaching future where facilities are increasingly automated at low cost, reducing operational friction and creating even more value. We also see the potential for new types of high-value commodity categories created as our AI becomes precise down to the consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand level and even the UPC and SKU level. As our technology adapts to new material types in the recycling stream, more value will be created for the circular economy and its stakeholders.

Facility operators are innovating with us and adapting quickly to the rapid, fundamental changes concerning the economics of recycling. Yes, our industry is changing. But it is doing so through innovation in technology, process and economics. These changes present opportunities for our industry across the board. We’re excited to continue bringing new technology that will aid the transformation of our industry and contribute to the success of our customers.