June 21, 2019      

ERI today has released new video footage of two of its artificial intelligence-driven robotic systems, nicknamed SAM and ERNIE, helping workers in the company’s Fresno, Calif., facility. The robots can assist with the shredding of electronic assets such as flat panel monitors, as well as separating aluminum, copper, yellow brass, capacitors, and printed circuit boards from other materials.

The robots, designed by Colorado-based AMP Robotics, are integrated into ERI’s scrap metal sorting line. SAM, which stands for “Super Automated Machine”, separates shredded materials into a clean stream, based on a vision system that identifies the target material. An AI system (the ‘brain’) then determines the action for the robot, and picking is done through a vacuum system. ERI said that SAM can achieve about 70 picks per minute, with 10 different streams of shredded material.

recycling robots SAM and ERNIE ERI

Image: ERI

ERNIE, which stands for “Electronic Recyclers Next Innovative Efficiency”, is a robotic flat-panel monitor processor. This technology can automate e-waste recycling, with the ability to shred 5,000 pounds per hour of flat screen TVs and monitors in a controlled environment, utilizing a carbon fume scrubber, ERI said. The company said ERNIE was developed to prepare for a future in which there will be fewer CRT devices in the end-of-life stream, and more flat-screen TVs.

“With steady growth of 10 to 15% per year, we are always looking for innovative ways to enhance efficiencies,” said John Shegerian, ERI’s co-founder and executive chairman. “Working with our friends at AMP, we developed smart technology that will continue to increase our sorting accuracy as our processing volume increases, so we can free up our employees to perform ITAD and data wiping services. We are very proud of SAM and ERNIE, and being the first in our industry to incorporate robots and AI into the process.”

Shegerian said the company will add additional robotics and AI system to its other facilities across the country by the end of this year.