The idea that cameras and image processing systems can be used to sort electronic waste already came to the core team of the Swedish start-up whilst at university. The basic premise behind it was to quantify the value of the waste before it is even recycled; perfect for recycling management with its slim profit margins. ‘It was easy to say that the idea could be realised, but the actual implementation in the industry proved much more difficult. The batteries aren’t lying on the table under laboratory conditions; rather, they come in highly diverse angles and conditions’, says Farshid J. Harandi, Head of Mechatronics and Co-Founder at Refind, explaining the challenges.
A lot of research and development was necessary to complete the first model of the ‘Optical Battery Sorter’, which currently sorts eight batteries per second. The company from Göteborg, with six employees, is now generating around half a million euros in turnover annually, and it is the sole solutions provider. The clients primarily come from the recycling industry, using the machines to increase their revenue and reach.