TOMRA pioneers the use of deep learning technology in wood recycling applications
Sensor-based sorting specialist, TOMRA Recycling, has become the first to use deep learning, a subset of artificial intelligence, in wood recycling applications.
The company has combined its AUTOSORT technology with its deep learning-based sorting add-on, GAIN, to create a solution that can distinguish between and sort different types of wood-based materials, significantly enhancing customers’ sorting and manufacturing processes.
The primary application for TOMRA Recycling’s new solution is sorting Wood A – non-processed wood – from Wood B – processed wood products such as MDF (medium-density fiberboard), HDF (high-density fiberboard), oriented strand board (OSB) and chipboard.
TOMRA Recycling has been approached by an increasing number of customers who are looking to use recycled wood of a much higher purity level in their production processes. To achieve these specific purity requirements, in addition to removing the inert material and metals in the infeed stream, other impurities including engineered wood composites as well as polymers, would have to be removed.
Wood recycling is a fast-evolving market, with increasingly stringent legislation being introduced in a number of regions globally to move towards a more circular economy model.
Recognising a potential gap in the market for a solution which would allow companies in the wood recycling sector to optimise their wood sorting processes, TOMRA Recycling’s deep learning experts developed an application that combines TOMRA’s industry-leading AUTOSORT unit with its deep learning-based sorting add-on, GAIN.
TOMRA’s Wood A vs Wood B application uses deep learning technology to sort and extract impurities that couldn’t previously be detected, making it possible for the first time to detect, analyze and sort every different wood type, therefore cleaning up the real wood fraction.
TOMRA says it is the first company in the world to use deep learning technology to detect and separate different wood types, targeting Wood B (processed wood composites) as impurities to leave a clean Wood A fraction (non-processed wood), or, depending on customers’ requirement, producing individual high purity engineered wood composite fractions out of the infeed stream.
Philipp Knopp, Product Manager at TOMRA Recycling, comments: “Wood recycling is a fast-evolving market, with increasingly stringent legislation being introduced in a number of regions globally to move towards a more circular economy model.
“Our AUTOSORT with GAIN solution uses deep learning technology to create a robust and flexible solution which we are confident will be welcomed by wood good producers across to globe. It will also enable our customers to future-proof their operations as they will be better equipped to adapt and react to any future changes in the global wood recycling market such as new legislation. We are delighted to be the first in the market to offer this artificial intelligence-based solution.”
Engineering excellence in trailer redesign
A County Armagh engineering company is using the skills and knowledge of its expert craftsmen to redesign trailers to support the recycling and recovery of waste.
Re-Gen Waste’s sister company Re-Eng is based outside Newry, and Engineering Manager Glyn Gee says that the work undertaken has produced trailers that look as they would, arriving new, from any leading trailer manufacturer.
“Our team of 10 designers, welders, fabricators and painters have worked effectively to produce trailers which meet health and safety requirements, are of a high specification and meet the needs of our customers,” explains Glyn.
“In addition, eight external contractors are involved in assisting with fabrication and painting. In total, the 18 jobs add approximately £630,000 to the local economy every year.”
“We struggled to find trailers which were strong enough to suit the requirements of Re-Gen, so we decided to make our own to our bespoke requirement. We have standardised our design, production and processes, and the re-engineered trailers look like new equipment straight off the manufacturing line.
We struggled to find trailers which were strong enough to suit the requirements of Re-Gen, so we decided to make our own to our bespoke requirement.
“Our designers created a superior framework with increased strength and functionality to add to a strengthened flatbed. Additionally-supported curtains and new strengthened doors and door furniture all add to the overall makeup of these trailers.
“Side guards, access ladder and walkway were fitted as extra safety features. Each trailer was spray painted in the company colours, and new lights and crash barriers were added.”
The company has refreshed 66 trailers to date and Glyn says that working with local trades people and tarpaulin cover manufacturers has made the process run smoothly.
“The re-engineering of the trailers has been an interesting and important project. Having excellent working relationships with local suppliers providing high quality materials and additional support has added value to the work we are doing in Ballard.
“We are also fortunate to have two enthusiastic apprentices on site who have contributed to the project.”
Conor Muckian, from Newry, recently passed the first year in Higher Level Apprenticeship in Mechatronics at Southern Regional College.
“I was invited into Re-Gen Waste for an induction day where I was shown the plant, taken on a tour of the different sections and talked through the apprenticeship programme,” says Conor.
“It was interesting finding out how the company completes the recycling processes and how the in-house engineering department is very important to the facility at Carnbane Industrial Estate.
“I have been involved in every area of engineering from design to fabrication and I feel that this has really helped me understand the processes.”
Jack Murphy, who is also from Newry, is studying Mechatronics while working four days each week.
Jack adds: “I’ve learnt so much about the design and fabrication process and have had hands-on experience in making different things. Since I started working for Re-Gen, I have been given the opportunity to use mills, lathes, press breaks and plasma cutters that I would have not otherwise get to use.
“Every day is different, and I’ve never been bored doing the job. It is, mostly, a relaxed environment but at times I have deadlines to work to in get tasks completed.”
UKCM Expands into new sectors with professional sports club collaboration
Container repair and refurbishment specialist, UK Container Maintenance (UKCM), is expanding its services into new sectors, supplying a unique batch of modified and refurbished containers to professional rugby league club, Castleford Tigers.
On behalf of its long-standing client Premier Waste Recycling, UKCM has refurbished and delivered a range of wheeled waste containers to the top-tier club.
UKCM enhanced the blue and green assets at its extensive North West refurbishment plant, transforming them into bold orange and black containers in line with the club’s iconic colours, while ensuring the safety and efficiency of each.
Waste containers are at the forefront of businesses and in the public domain, so it is essential for them to be maintained to the highest of standards and consistent with the brand essence of the business, organisation or club.
Emma Elston MBE, CEO of UKCM commented: “We are delighted to be extending our offering into new sectors, and to be working with Castleford Tigers Rugby Club through our robust working partnership with Premier Waste Recycling, helping the club to maintain its corporate image through such important company assets.
“Waste containers are at the forefront of businesses and in the public domain, so it is essential for them to be maintained to the highest of standards and consistent with the brand essence of the business, organisation or club.
“Professional sports clubs are often recognised for their powerful brand identity which is conveyed across all marketing assets and channels – something that waste containers are a big, yet often overlooked, part of.”
The process brings old, and often unwanted, waste containers back to life instead of them going to scrap. The business model – refurbishment over replacement – is simple and for a third of the price of replacing a container, UKCM can restore the unit to full working order.
Johnsons Hotel Linen is now guaranteed a full load every time
Johnsons Hotel Linen, one of the UK’s largest hotel laundry and linen providers, is now using MOBA’s ‘Loadcheck’ technology to ensure that its vans never exceed their maximum weight.
“The feedback received from the drivers has been enormously positive as they now have the assurance that their vehicles comply with regulations at all times”, says the company’s Transport Manager, Philip Vayro.
“We’re so pleased with the result that we will be fitting ‘Loadcheck’ to the rest of our van fleet so that in the coming year as many as 30 vans will be fitted with MOBA’s overload protection system”, added Philip.
One of the biggest challenges for commercial drivers is knowing how much weight is on board at any one particular time and whether or not additional loads can be accepted.
Overloaded vehicles can have serious consequences for businesses. If it’s stopped and checked, and then found to be over the weight limit, a fine or a court summons could ensue. The police officer may also prohibit the vehicle from being driven further, with the owner landed with a further hefty penalty release charge.
The traditional method of accurately checking the weight of the vehicle is to use a weighbridge. However, a detour every time the driver needs to check the status of the vehicle is both impractical and time consuming. Philip Vayro, therefore, needed to find a solution that kept his drivers within legal limits and also enabled them to operate without any hindrance.
Taking two of our vehicles of the road, at first, seemed daunting, given that we’re in a busy period for hospitality, but MOBA were able to install and test on the same day so the overall impact was minimal. Not only was the price great, but the service was exceptional
Created by the amalgamation of several high-quality laundry businesses including Afonwen, Bourne, Professional Laundry Service and, more recently, Fresh Linen, Johnsons Hotel Linen operates 9 commercial laundries, across the UK, offering a nationwide service, and all supported by a substantial fleet of vehicles.
Philip did a quick web search and contacted MOBA, having seen the company’s ‘Loadcheck’ overload protection system that has been specifically designed for two-axle vehicles.
Patented solid-state sensors monitor the load on each axle. The information is then displayed to the driver on the in-cab touch screen showing a choice of views including the actual weight over each axle and the percentage payload versus capacity. The screen will warn the driver if the load has exceeded 90 per cent of capacity and an audible alarm sounds if the total vehicle, or axle weight maximum, is infringed.
So far, two vans have been fitted with Loadcheck, allowing Johnsons Hotel Linen to assess the effectiveness of the system and the impact on the business.
“Taking two of our vehicles of the road, at first, seemed daunting, given that we’re in a busy period for hospitality, but MOBA were able to install and test on the same day so the overall impact was minimal. Not only was the price great, but the service was exceptional”, added Philip.
By CMS SupaTrak
Working with HB Clark to improve operational safety
HB Clark, part of the Kitwave Group, is the largest independent drinks wholesaler in the UK who deliver to pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels across the nation. The business is committed to increasing road safety for both their drivers and vulnerable road users, and after an accident, HB Clark wanted to ensure it did everything in its power to minimise the chances of this happening again.
Darren Williams, Operations and Fleet Manager for HB Clark, explains that it was important to find a solution that would work from the foundations up. This included finding ways to training drivers in how to adopt an efficient, economical, and safe driving style while not undermining their professional experience.
The company was also looking for vehicle-based cameras to reduce insurance premiums, protect the business from insurance claims, and support the ongoing driver training programme.
HB Clark chose to implement CMS SupaTrak’s EcoTrak driver behaviour training, which combines classroom and vehicle-based training delivered by an experienced class 1 HGV driver. The CMS driver coaching specialist worked with staff one-to-one in the cab and the team at CMS monitored driving style and updated management at HB Clark with each driver’s Energy Efficient Design Index (EEDI) performance scores.
We wanted a robust, reliable and feature-rich camera solution that would allow us to stream live footage, request historical downloads, and integrate telematics data in the event of an incident.
In addition to the EcoTrak training, HB Clark also opted to install CMS’s Connected Camera solution, a dependable and robust option that captures data to mitigate insurance claims and support driver behaviour.
Since installing the system across the fleet, insurance costs have been minimised, the number of incidents have reduced, and the system has helped to protect drivers and vulnerable road users while preventing false insurance claims.
‘HB Clark is conscious about increasing road safety for everyone,’ says Darren Williams.
‘The Connected Cameras have helped protect the reputation of our brand. Safety is paramount, and the last thing the company wants is bad publicity because of an accident that could have been prevented by taking these simple steps. The cost of insurance has been noticeably reduced, and safety has never seemed easier.
‘Thankfully we have only had a single incident since the Connected Cameras were installed, as the system has complemented our driver training and has helped improved the safety of our fleet operations.
‘We wanted a robust, reliable and feature-rich camera solution that would allow us to stream live footage, request historical downloads, and integrate telematics data in the event of an incident. CMS SupaTrak ticked all the boxes and the information provided by the Connected Camera solution has been invaluable.’
Working with Teatime Tasties to optimise driver behaviour
Teatime Tasties, also part of the Kitwave wholesale group, distributes and delivers snack foods nationwide from its 20,000 sqft warehouse in Huddersfield. Their fleet include a mixture of 18T HGVs and 7T vans.
The business wanted to provide their drivers with training to help them adopt a more economical, efficient, and safer driving style. Teatime Tasties is committed to improving road safety for their divers and other road users to protect its operation against insurance claims. To keep costs to a minimum and improve the safety of the operation the Kitwave group sought a solution.
The Kitwave group discussed their goals to keep insurance policies consistent across their companies, CMS SupaTrak advised using EcoTrak Driver Behaviour technology, alongside forward-facing and driver-facing crash cameras would be the most beneficial for optimising Teatime Tasties’ goals.
Since the installation of the crash cameras and the implementation of the driver behaviour training sessions, the company has not had any accidents. Educating the drivers on exactly what the forward-facing and driver-facing crash cameras do, staff are reassured that their driving is protected.
We are saving fuel, our repair bills are down, and so far, we have not had false claims since the crash cameras were installed, which is a positive sign that the safety of our fleet has improved
The Kitwave group have also cut costs and improved the safety of their operation. Nigel Charlesworth from Teatime Tasties says that staff have become noticeably more confident in the safety of day-to-day operations.
‘Our driver performance has improved, to the extent that EEDI scores are mostly in the 90s.’
‘We are saving fuel, our repair bills are down, and so far, we have not had false claims since the crash cameras were installed, which is a positive sign that the safety of our fleet has improved.’