When AI meets Industry:
Using AI for Smarter Bottle Recycling
Normally in Thailand the beverage industries' used glass bottles will move on a conveyor belt in order to be examined. Then they will be sorted into groups of whether they can be reused and recycled or not. ThaiBev, Thailand’s largest beverage company, has set a goal to achieve a bottle recycling rate of 80%. However, the previous single-camera system proved to be inaccurate. To solve this problem,the screening process needed to be automated with AI.
“Bottles are one of the wastes that come from business, creating a lot of trash,” said Orathai Sangpetch, vice president of CMKL University.
Dr. Sangpetch, reached out to Marios Savvides, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of CyLab Biometrics Center, in order to collaborate on a project using an algorithm for automatic bottle screening.
“What really excites me even further is taking the basic research of how we design pattern recognition and AI algorithms to look for defects in bottles.” said Marios Savvides
The bottles meet a system equipped with four cameras that snap images of the bottles’ neck, bottom, and two sides. At he end of the conveyor belt, all bottles will be categorized by AI in real time. In addition, ThaiBev’s researchers gathered data on a wide variety of bottles from each of the categories and sent to Savvides and his team in Pittsburgh to train the AI algorithm model. The system mainly focuses on information about texture and minor details of the bottle and filter it into‘Reusable,’ ‘Clean before reuse,’ and ‘Non-reusable’ categories. The project is still a work in progress, but so far, the results have been positive.
This project is not only an opportunity to collaborate between CMKL University and Carnegie Mellon University, but it is a great chance to improve AI technology and potentially adapt into different factories.