‘Daisy’, the disassembling robot, is Apple’s answer to reclaiming the valuable materials that go into the creation of nearly every Apple mobile and tablet device. Aluminum, cobalt, gold, silver, platinum, and many other valuable metals and rare earth can be extracted using this useful technology. Daisy’s efficiency is punctuated by an exceptional rate of recovery, disassembling, and collecting materials from outdated devices at the rate of 200 iPhones per hour.

Not only has the recycling robot enabled Apple to recover these valuable resources, but the machine’s creation process has yielded valuable information on recycling many of these materials in a cleaner and more efficient manner. New processes have eliminated the need to introduce contaminants and other dangerous substances into the recycling process, leading to an unsullied recycling process all around.

Daisy is not the first iteration of a mechanical recycler, though. Liam was the predecessor announced by Apple back in 2016. A very specialized robot, Liam was designed to specifically disassemble iPhones to access the recyclable materials inside. Some of the crucial components Liam sought, and Daisy seeks, out in each iPhone carcass include cobalt and lithium from the phone’s battery, gold and copper from the camera, silver and platinum from the device’s logic board, and aluminum from the enclosure.

Additional Charity With Apple’s GiveBack

Alongside the Daisy announcement, which coincided with Earth Day, Apple has announced the commitment to match customers’ turn-ins of devices with charitable contributions to the Conservation International environmental non-profit based in Virginia until April 30th. Some devices being turned in will even knab in-store gift cards and credit for those donating.

The press release detailing Daisy and Earth Day campaigns from Apple, along with all media associated with the announcement, can be found in the Apple Newsroom.

Cleaner Streams Of Recycling With Material Recovery Facilities

Daisy’s announcement is just one of the many emerging advancements taking place in the world of Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs). The recent WasteExpo 2018 in Las Vegas highlighted many of the recent advancements in the world of cleaner recycling and material recovery in electronics recycling, cleaning and sorting equipment, and municipal recycling endeavors.

Robotics and Artificial intelligence, in particular, are assuming significantly larger roles in the advancement of recycling efforts, enabling greater efficiencies in:

  • Heavy lifting
  • No deviation due to fatigue
  • Repetitive tasks
  • Continuously high levels of concentration
  • Purity rates and consistent and accurate identification of products
  • Pre-emptively tracking and managing work
  • Maximal operating time
  • Evolutive identification of products and more meaningful data
  • Reproductivity of results
  • Reduced labor and training
  • Lower operating costs

While these innovations in the field of material recovery have enabled companies like CleanRobotics, and AMP Robotics to function with greater efficiency, difficulties remain within the variety of materials flowing into the recycling stream. The resounding answer to the challenge emerges again and again with machine vision.

Material Recovery Pushes Advances In Machine Vision Systems

Coupled with robots on recycling conveyor systems, machine vision systems identify elements and materials according to several characteristics. Once identified, the robotic component will employ suction, grippers, and grabbers to remove materials from the conveyor and sort them accordingly, for either direct recycling or further disassembly, if necessary. Eagle Vision and Bulk Handling Systems are two entities addressing the need for more robust machine vision systems in MRFs.

Interconnectivity between MRF system components read as the Industrial Internet of things (IIoT), allows devices to “speak” with one another across the facility. The results can be presented as simply as “I’m getting too much plastic” to which screens can be adjusted to narrow or expand the flow of specific materials, according to Nathanaël Lortie, co-founder, and president of Eagle Vision.

With accuracy rates reaching upwards of 85 -95 percent, these robots and their associated systems far surpass the public shoddy-by-comparison 30 percent accuracy.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of the Industry.

The Chief Robotics Officer

With the industrial robot population on course to reach 1.7 million by 2020, enterprises the world over are reevaluating how they approach managing a mechanized workforce. To address modern manufacturing operations’ increasing reliance on automation and robotics, the C-suite is preparing to welcome a new designation among its ranks: Chief Robotics Officer (CRO).

A photograph of a Chief Robotics Officer commanding a humanoid robot

Tthe C-Suite Is Preparing To Welcome A New Designation Among Its Ranks: Chief Robotics Officer.

Addressing An Increasingly Automated Workforce

While the concept may be a new one, a study conducted by Myria Research, a Massachusetts-based research and advisory services business, puts projections of the emerging Chief Robotics Officer position in 60% for Fortune 500 executive teams. Beyond that, the Chief Robotics Officer Research Scenario predicts the Robotics & Intelligent Operational Systems (RIOS) technologies market to reach $1.2 trillion globally by 2025. The figure is tremendous when compared to the firm’s $63 billion market valuation in 2015. However, companies cannot afford to discount the increasing prevalence of RIOS in their own daily operations as well as those of their competitors. The projections include full hardware, software, and services segmentation in the figure, which represents a 30% CAGR to 2020 and 40% from 2020 until 2025.

A photo of a robotic arm working on a factory floor.

the Chief Robotics Officer Research Scenario predicts the Robotics & Intelligent Operational Systems (RIOS) technologies market to reach $1.2 trillion globally by 2025.

The Chief Robotics Officer remains a conceptual position for the vast majority of enterprises. However, research suggests that as the prevalence of integrated robotics and intelligent systems increases, CROs will become equally important sources of vital information that lend insight into research, development, and innovation in the sector. Their duties can be likened to that of the Chief Information Officer during the influx of computers into businesses during the 1980’s. Already there is an abundance of seminars professing the need for CRO’s is enterprises want to remain competitive. In short, a company’s CRO will be responsible for implementing the latest robotics and automation technologies while increasing efficiency and through the productivity promised by robotics and AI. A hands-on component is also likely for the role, where managing these robotic and digital workforces on the floor as well as in the cloud will pose unique challenges that only a human component can address.

How RIOS Affects The Labor Market

While it is already painfully obvious that automation, robotics, and intelligent operational systems are positioned to hamstring low-skilled labor, the specialized staff required to maintain and interact with these systems is grown at a steady rate alongside implementation. This leaves a wealth of opportunity for those individuals being transitioned out of low-skill positions to take the reigns and receive the training to assume the role of technological overseers.

a photograph of factory workers and the production process.

Factory Workers Need To Be Prepared For The Shift From Low-Skilled To Specialized. Fortunately, Many Corporations Are Supporting Them Through The Transition.

Many companies are already supporting workforces keen on being promoted from within. The most prominent example comes from Amazon, which is offering sizable grants and educational opportunities in-house for any employee willing to beef up their background in robotics, automation, and IT.

Human-Robot Interaction In The Workplace And Beyond

Thanks to the stories spun in science fiction and technological horror films, humans have developed a healthy apprehension of integrating machinery too deeply into their lives. However, the buffer may be unfeasible as the efficiencies these machines and processes provide are simply too valuable to ignore.

a photo of a Chief Robotics Officer and a robot discussing information on a computer monitor

Advances in artificial intelligence bring machines to a higher level of competency regarding cooperation and collaboration with their human counterparts

The results? A new classification of workplace interaction. Questions are already emerging about human-robot interaction in the workplace and beyond. Coworkers want to know how they’ll split the workload, if their vacation time and salary will be affected, or if there will be robots on their departmental teams with a say in how projects are carried out. It may seem a silly distinction to make at this point in time but as advances in artificial intelligence bring machines to a higher level of competency regarding cooperation and collaboration with their human counterparts, these human anxieties may become increasingly more valid.

Robot Personhood And Emerging Legal Frameworks

At a higher level, governments are interested in how commerce is positioned to be improved and how administrations will have to adopt new legal frameworks to address things like liability and taxation. The EU is already considering granting personhood to robots. While corporate personhood in the US bestows certain rights and privileges to business entities, the proposed rules placed in front of EU legislators suggested by EU legislators are seeking to address these issues of liability, safety, and changes in the labor market. A study on the notion of the robot, its implications, and the question of consciousness, authored by Nathalie Nevejans, Université d’Artois, Centre de Recherche en Droit Ethique et Procédures, can be found here. Rapporteur Mady Delvaux’s (S&D, LU) EU Commission report on liability, social impact, and request for legislation can be found here.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.