Comau technology helps drive the innovative HR-Recycler E-Waste reprocessing solution

Comau contributed to the HR-Recycler project, a pilot Hybrid Human-Robot Recycling plant for electrical and electronic equipment funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program providing its cutting edge technologies.
Working with industrial partners from all over Europe to address the fact that recycling is often hazardous and time-consuming, since the categorization, disassembly and sorting of components is traditionally done by hand, Comau has leveraged its expertise in collaborative robotics to help replace manual tasks with automated solutions. The resulting pilot plant uses Comau’s industrial robotics equipment and advanced vision systems integration know-how to automate the classification and palletization of incoming electronic waste and to drive the object-specific disassembly process. Furthermore, in close collaboration with the vision systems integrator, Comau has helped develop the software algorithms used by its high-payload NJ-220 robot and the Racer-5L Cobot based on ROS environment, a solution which also adopts a novel approach using safety sensors to create effective, fenceless human-machine collaboration.

“Initiatives such as these bring immense value in terms of multi-faceted sustainability, and underscore Comau’s ongoing dedication to helping promote and enable a truly circular economy,” said  Alfio Minissale, EU project manager. “The novel use of vision system sensors to create a virtual cage that allows the high-speed industrial robot to work alongside human operators, is just one example of how Comau is committed to lending its culture of innovation and excellence to reduce the amount of non-recycled e-waste within Europe and eventually the world.”

HR-Recycler is arguably one of the first indoor hybrid human-robot recycling plants for electrical and electronic equipment within the EU.