Machine Reverse sale of plastic containers.

Machine Reverse sale of plastic
Machine Reverse sale of plastic

Machine Reverse sale of plastic containers. Today we will show a project in which we are working. It is a bottle recovery machine, cans of soda, and other types of packaging.

Based on the reverse sale machine or RVM. (Reverse Vending Machine) that are seen in some countries. This is able to receive, sort by type or color, different containers that will later be recycled.

The idea is that these machines deliver a reward to the user for each package deposited. The reward could be points to redeem for products in stores.

These businesses or sponsors could advertise their products or services on the screen and thus also obtain a benefit.

In this way it is encouraged to see the packaging as a raw material or as a re-usable and recyclable product and not as waste.

Advantages of this system

This machine can be powered with solar panels since it has a low power consumption.

The Recycling circuit

In this way, many of the containers and containers of the products we consume could be returned directly to the recycling circuit instead of going to landfills.

Since once the plastic waste reaches a landfill or dump is very difficult to be recovered for further recycling.

Consequently, the volume of plastic waste that causes so much damage to the environment would be reduced.

Another point in favor of the development of this type of machine is given by the generation of job opportunities. For maintenance personnel, machine manufacturing, software development, and for recycling companies to obtain a product or raw material more economical and clean.

The collection and classification process is automated, this gives a greater value to the containers recovered by this method.

Project status

Although the project is in the development phase, we already have this prototype that fulfills all the most important functions. On which we can make tests and improve.

We are currently working on the implementation of a compaction system to significantly reduce the volume of packaging.

Operation of the Machine

Visión Artificial con Python y openCV
Visión Artificial con Python y openCV

Regarding the operation of the machine we can comment that it works by means of artificial vision.

The inside of the machine

A webcam captures images of the bottles entered and recognizes the barcode of each container. By means of a product database previously loaded in the program, it is able to store each type of container in a different container. In this way we manage to have the most ordered containers and facilitate their recycling.

Transport system

Transport system

It also has a transport system to enter the bottles inside the machine. Then the software will direct each bottle or container to a different container. This can be configured for the separation of different colors of plastics or material types (HDPE, PET, Aluminum ETC).

Electronics and Motor Control

For the control of the motors we use arduino UNO, a bridge h and a load cell that takes the weight of each bottle to avoid that bottles with liquid are entered. Since in a later version of this machine we will implement a compacted mechanism, to reduce the volume of each container entered and thus take more space from the containers.

Separation of Bottles

For the separation of the bottles we use a small conveyor belt and a pair of gates or arms. By means of servos s3003 they are responsible for diverting each container to the correct container.


Separación de residuos

Packaging Recognition

For the recognition of packaging we use a program made in Python. Which through opencv is able to recognize the bar codes and compare them with the codes stored in a file.

The entire program currently runs on an old netbook. This has the Raspberry deaktop operating system installed. This will allow us then to carry all the software to Raspberry Pi without major modifications.

To read the load cell, control the DC motors and control the servos we use an UNO arduino.

This communicates with the main program in Python through the USB serial port.

At the same time the program in Python controls a small serial thermal printer. Also connected via USB via a USB serial converter.

Most of the parts, the transport mechanism and the conveyor belt were designed by computer and manufactured by means of 3d printing.

Finally I leave a video and some photos of the machine in question.

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