Eberhard Group partners with ZenRobotics to build AI-driven recycling plant
ZenRobotics/Eberhard Group

Eberhard Group partners with ZenRobotics to build AI-driven recycling plant

AI-powered sorting robots to help convert C&D debris into secondary raw materials.

The Eberhard Group, Steinackerstrasse, Switzerland, has announced a major investment in a new recycling plant that can process 200 tons per hour, converting mixed construction debris into secondary raw materials. The plant is set to be complete in fall 2021.

Advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and smart robotic sorting technologies supplied by ZenRobotics will be used at the plant to capture high-purity fractions from C&D debris. The recycled materials will then be converted into new building materials for the construction industry. Eberhard’s plant is an example of circular economy innovation, turning waste into value and significantly reducing CO2 emissions and environmental pressures from resource extraction, the company says. 

The new plant, called EbiMIK (short term for Eberhard – Materials in Circulation) will be in Oberglatt, Switzerland. It will feature an advanced robotic sorting system by ZenRobotics that includes two parallel lines with multiple high-capacity heavy-duty robots on each line. The job of the robots is to capture high-value and high-purity materials from mixed construction and demolition debris.  

Construction and demolition debris is a considerable source of secondary materials worldwide. In the European Union, it makes up approximately one-third of the total waste generated. The EU’s target is to recover, recycle or reuse at least 70 percent of this material by the end of 2020. At present, many of the material streams from C&D debris are, however, not suitable for reuse or high-grade recycling, the company says. Instead, mixed construction debris is still widely used today as low-grade material or is even dumped. In Switzerland, maximally 10 percent of the total 7.5 million tons of C&D debris generated per year is sustainably recycled today. 

Eberhard’s investment in the new high-capacity recycling center enables the company to recover the highest quality secondary raw materials for its customers and help to lift recycling rates in the C&D industry. In addition to the state-of-the-art C&D recycling plant, a raw material storage and a component production facility also are being built for the new EbiMIK recycling center.  

"The ZenRobotics robots with AI are a very important part of our revolutionary recycling plant EbiMIK," Patrick van der Haegen, division head development at Eberhard, says. "EbiMIK converts mixed demolition waste into fully circular secondary raw materials. Mixed demolition waste no longer needs to be downcycled into low-grade materials or even landfilled."

Juha Mieskonen, head of sales at ZenRobotics, adds: "The Eberhard Group is an early pioneer in heavy-duty C&D sorting robots. The family business made its first investment into ZenRobotics’ smart autonomous waste sorting robots back in 2015. We are delighted that Eberhard is now multiplying its robot count by reinvesting into our advanced robot waste sorting system as part of this groundbreaking new plant investment."