The goal of this strategic partnership, which brings together the expertise of Vow, ETIA and Picvisa, is to valorize the waste generated on cruise ships and passenger vessels. Waste management on board poses several challenges we can respond to through smart robot solutions. These include:

▪    The need to intervene to ensure less plastic ends up in our oceans. This is a key driver behind the project for Scanship: ‘with our technology for waste water treatment, food waste and managing food aboard cruise ships, along with our aquaculture industry solutions, we will make progress in attaining the sustainable development goals SDG 14’, according to their website.
▪    The need to design easy-to-install flexible automation solutions on cruise ships, which can coexist and work with people.

PICVISA and the Norwegian company VOW have identified the market opportunity to develop robotics solutions based on Artificial Intelligence and Vision and have joined forces to develop this category of robots for cruise ship installation. PICVISA’s experience in the recycling sector and VOW’s knowledge in tech proposals to avoid pollution also mean that these solutions can be offered to other industries to help them treat waste.

 

A partnership to move forward in sustainable waste management

Thanks to this partnership between PICVISA and VOW, progress will be made in sustainable waste management. The smart robot solutions we are proposing as a result of our partnership will help companies committed to circular economy criteria to achieve the goal of minimising pollution and increasing re-use of waste. New circular economy model holds that the best waste is that not produced. The unavoidable waste must be considered a resource that can be re-used, repaired, and recycled.

 

Streamlining waste management on cruise ships.

According to the UN; 300 million tonnes of plastic waste are produced every year, of which eight million end up in the ocean. The situation is rapidly threatening to become unsustainable. Therefore, both the public and private sector are increasingly taking measures to reverse this trend.

Passenger ship companies are subject to strict rules for preventing pollution. They must minimise the environmental impact as much as possible, streamlining waste management and guaranteeing waste water treatment.

In the case of cruise ships, rubbish bags are sent to a deposit that exists on every vessel. The bags are put in a recipient area and are opened to prepare materials for classification. Such waste is manually disposed of on a conveyor belt, separating what can be repaired and re-used from fully disposable waste. The stage of the process can be streamlined by using smart robots able to select and classify different types of waste.  And this is where Picvisa and VOW see the opportunity underpinning their partnership: install on board cruise ships a smart robot system which will replace this traditional manual waste classification process with an automatic classification process.

This solution, fully compatible with safety standards, can be quickly and easily installed on vessels in the space taken up by the rubbish deposit, complying with the design already in place (human access, machine location, etc.).

 

Advantages of smart robots in the recycling process

Smart robots increase efficiency in the classification and triage of recoverable waste. They capture information through a computer vision system using image-capturing sensors that analyse in real time through deep learning algorithms able to understand the context and take decisions, interpreting changes in context and adjusting to these.

ECOPICK by PICVISA is an example of this robot category. This is a fully flexible robotic arm that can adjust its gripping system based on the type of object collected. Through an Artificial Vision system, its scans the different products (PET bottles, PEAD, tetrabrick packs, paper/cardboard, etc.) to identify them among the rest of the waste and separate them for recycling and valorization at a later stage.
Artificial Intelligence makes this robotic arm more efficient in terms of selection capacity and increases waste recovery, boosting compliance with circular economy goals.

If you want to find out more about the Vow and PICVISA partnership, further information is available on the Vow and ETIA website