Australian technology and engineering company SAGE Automation will manufacture an additional 30 smart container deposit systems called Semi Auto Return Terminals (ARTs) to meet the demand for recycling solutions that can help decrease the country’s landfill.

Adelaide-based SAGE Automation and the University of South Australia have developed the machines for South Australia’s Container Deposit Systems (CDS).

As part of recycling efforts, South Australia introduced a container refund scheme in 1977, whereas other states have only recently started refunding bottles and containers.

Queensland launched its ‘Containers for Change’ scheme in November. Since then, CDS has recorded an increase from 32,000 to 230,000 containers per day through its 16 Semi Auto Return Terminals (ART) at six private recyclers.

Customers can return deposit cans, plastic bottles and glass in any condition for a refund of A$0.10 per container at these terminals. More than 344 million containers have been returned so far.

The ARTs integrate Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology and a vision counting and sorting system developed by SAGE to identify and sort containers.

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“Employees at the recycling depot load the containers onto a vision and sorting system hopper, which uses vision technology to count up to 350 containers per minute.”

Employees at the recycling depot load the containers onto a vision and sorting system hopper, which uses vision technology to count up to 350 containers per minute.

The containers are sorted based on common recyclable material such as metals, plastics and glass.

Customers will be able to view the counting in real-time for a predicted refund amount on a TV screen.

A refund receipt is generated automatically and customers can choose cash return, instant bank transfer or donation.

The company remotely monitors the machines from its Adelaide operations centre.

The machines help recycling depots reduce operational costs.

SAGE Automation general manager Paul Johnson claimed that the terminals are more than 99% accurate, reliable and supported by SAGE services across the country.

CDS intends to deploy the machines in the West Australian market next year and explore the possibilities for their introduction in the Northern Territory, New South Wales, and South Australia.