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Our new machine to sort plastics

This topic contains 44 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  Milan Thottathil 1 month ago.

8
Matoha matoha

Our new machine to sort plastics

27/02/2018 at 16:07

Hi guys,

We are a group of students and we have created a low-cost machine for immediately identifying plastics using infrared rays – see our video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEFnh86olhg

And we would like to ask for your help! We are interested in how you currently sort plastics and if you have any good hacks for it. Additionally, if you would like to be one of the first people to test our machine, please do let us know!

The best way to get in touch with us is to go to https://matoha.com/pp/.

Be sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter page as well!

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helper
23/03/2018 at 10:33
1

@matoha

Hi,
sorry in advance for many pictures below:

In our lab we use PE sheets for CNC milling.

To produce frames for other CNC machines.

We buy such HDPE sheets here: https://www.fdplast.ru/list-pnd/

So after milling we have a lot of waste.
Which could look like ships.

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helper
23/03/2018 at 10:36
1

And like solid pieces.

If you see, that sheet consist of 3 layers (black/gray/black).

I tried to melt it in coca-cola can, and that rod do not float like regular HDPE.

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helper
23/03/2018 at 10:43
0

After that I noticed thatmaterial from black layer floats, and gray layer sinks.

I tried to call on factory which produced them, and they said that whole sheet made of HDPE.

But I do not understand why gray material sinks.

Could you analize it on your machine, I will send you examples?!

P.S.
Also I could send you pieces of Polyoxymethylene (POM).

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starter
24/03/2018 at 18:43
1

I would love to build one to help you out with testing, we work on recycling plastics at user point. I see it still in development, but if we could work with you to improve it ready to release opensource then that would be great! Drop me a message if you want.

starter
24/03/2018 at 20:41
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@copypastestd

That looks very interesting! Please send us the samples and we will have a look at them (for sure please send us the oxymethylene as well!).
When we tried the flotation method ourselves it was really inconclusive, and there were instances where the same plastics behaved differently in the same solvent. In general many other factors are at work, which changes the buoyancy. So better to trust our machine! 😉

starter
30/04/2018 at 05:30
1

This is a wonderful invention! :-). On what operating system does it run, Mac, PC? Also, are the results audible, so that someone who cannot see well sort plastic? I use a lighted magnifier to read the recycle markings on plastic. And even that proves very difficult at times. This would definitely speed up the sorting process. I would love to be a beta tester. 🙂

starter
06/05/2018 at 18:27
7

Hi @jtdoma,

Thank you! The device is based on Raspberry Pi which runs Debian Linux. It connects to your internet / WiFi (to communicate with our cloud where the analysis is done) – which also means you can access the web interface from any other device which has an internet connection – your phone/computer/tablet, independent of the operating system.

In the latest version it now has an embedded touchscreen (see the attached photo). We are also working on adding a loudspeaker which could provide an audible indication that the item has been scanned (like barcode scanners in supermarkets) – I’m sure it could be modified to include the name of the identified plastic, if necessary.

Currently, it looks like we will provide the machines into long-term loans – machine+access to our Cloud, which could be around £55 / month – we are still working on getting everything working nicely so we don’t have any definite numbers. I know it’s not super-cheap, but definitely much much less than the £30k spectrometers currently out there.

Stay tuned for updates, we hope to have it ready for beta testing in 3 months!

Martin / Matoha Ultrascience

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starter
11/05/2018 at 16:07
2

     The new prototype is looking fantastic! 🙂 Thank you very much for the detailed response. I am currently in the process of working on my business plan for a PP subsidiary in the US. I will definitely include this piece of technology in my business plan as a must-have. My ultimate goal is to hire all blind employees for my PP subsidiary. This will definitely make the plastic sorting go much quicker. Again, thank you, and keep up the excellent work!

starter
13/05/2018 at 16:40
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Hi @jtdoma ,

I was wondering why do you need audible results, now it makes sense. We are quite curious how you will manage to overcome the inherent difficulties associated with employing blind people for sorting which even with our machine still requires at least some vision. For example, you know how there can be thick films wrapping PET bottles or yoghurt cups – it’s easy for a person with good vision to scan the piece of plastic outside the label/printing, the cleanest part. If you scan the label you might end up getting signals either for the plastic the label is made of (which is often different) or bad signals because of the inks from the labels also having a spectral signature – in both cases the identification reliability will be reduced. I mean you can feel the labels with your fingers (to some extent) – I’m just saying what is important from the point of view of our machine.

Good luck!
Martin / Matoha Ultrascience

starter
16/05/2018 at 13:11
1

Hi @copypastestd ,

We had a look at the samples you sent us (thank you!) and acquired the spectra. A detailed write-up with the spectra is here. In short, we found that the black composite is composed of one layer of pure HDPE and one layer of HDPE+additive/different polymer. The POM/acetal sample gave us some nice spectra!

Thanks again for sending the samples!
Martin / Matoha Ultrascience

starter
16/05/2018 at 20:14
3

      I use the word blind as a generalization of anyone who has low vision or is totally blind. In the US, one must have a visual acuity of 20 / 200 or greater, in order to be considered legally blind. I am one of these people.
With that being said, there are machines called cctvs, also known as closed circuit televisions. They are great for all sorts of tasks including: reading recipes, newspapers, excetera. I’ve also known some women to paint their nails underneath of one 🙂 You may want to check them out online for curiosity sake. They are wonderful tools but alas, they are also expensive. I have a portable version, but a standalone version would be more practical for this use. This is another device that I will put into my business plan.
     Back to the topic at hand. I will mitigate the problem of films and thin plastics by, simply not accepting them. There is a grocery chain here in the States called, Publix.  This store readily excepts that type of plastic, along with other recyclables.
     There is a company here in Georgia called, Georgia Industries for the blind. They were established I believe in, 1937. They employee blind people of all vision acuities. As part of my for starting my own PP, I am going to interview and visit some of the staff in their factory setting. This will help to give me more of an Insight on ways of making the production area safer. Mind you, this is far off in the future, of which I am speaking; at least a good 2 to 3 years. I want to make certain that I have everything prepared, when the time comes to hire employees.
     For now, I’m collecting plastic, and working on my business plan. The world’s problem with plastic didn’t happen overnight. As with this business venture, it will take time to get everything prepared. 

starter
31/12/2018 at 05:39
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i need one of this!!! 🙁

starter
26/01/2019 at 22:26
1

Hi guys,

Maybe a stupid question, but I would like to ask:
Will be possible to use the NIR camera and led light of an smartphone to use it as a plastic identifier ???

Maybe will be not-perfect or have sorting errors but could work for at least identify some kinds of plastic?

Thanks and keep the great work!

starter
18/06/2019 at 20:21
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Great idea and keep up the good work friends. Such techniques are the need of the hour.

I was wondering how the sensors would respond in your design to multi layer packaging waste. The difficulty with current machine sorters are they often mistake and misplace the multi layer waste depending upon their outer layer. Is there a way to overcome this ?

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