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Enviro deconstruction robot offers exciting possibilities in recycling

Students at Sweden’s Umea Institute of Design have brought ERO to life as a concrete recycling robot.
Current techniques of concrete demolition require a lot of power crushing, separation and machinery and it is not environmentally sound with a large part of materials going to landfill. ERO uses water jets to crack the concrete surface to disassemble concrete and sucks up the mixed debris. It cleanly separates the waste mixture and packages the cleaned material. 
What was waste turns into a labelled packaged asset to be transferred to concrete pre-casting stations and re-moulded into new building blocks. There is no dust, no waste, no separation, only clean bags of aggregate to be reused and rust and dust free rebar to be cut and re-used directly.
The challenge with this project was to start separating materials during deconstruction. Concrete is usually reinforced with a metal mesh. Today?s techniques tend to pulverise materials, a process that creates a lot of dust and uses a lot of energy. The outcome is a mixed mound of waste, which needs to be separated in order to be re-used or sold as second grade metal, or as a filling material. 
Smart deconstruction
It was a challenge to switch from brutal pulverising to smart deconstruction. One of the goals of this project was to provide a smart and sustainable near future approach to the demolition operations.
EROs placed within a building scan the environment and determine a route with which they will execute the operation. Once the robots start working, they literally erase the building as they deconstruct it and send aggregate and filtered cement slurry separately down to a packaging unit to be contained. Clean aggregate is packed into labeled bags and sent to concrete pre-cast stations.
Water is re-cycled back into the system so ERO uses far less water than today?s systems. Rebar is cleaned from concrete, dust and rust and ready to be cut and re-utilised immediately. Every bit of the load bearing structure is ready to be reused for new building blocks.
ERO uses the hydro demolition, centrifugal decanter and omni-directional tracks as part of its core technologies. Hydro demolition is used to scarify or to get rid of concrete. It attacks the micro-cracks on the concrete surface and make it come apart. This way you don?t damage the rebar but peel off the concrete. Centrifugal decanter is a separation technology using centrifugal force to separate solids from liquids. Omni-directional tracks can move within perpendicular routes without taking turns. This allows ERO to move and re-position freely. It also allows ERO to get rid of the hydraulic stabilisers and simplifies the structure 
Omnicrawler technology was founded by Japan?s Osaka University and is being developed.
Sources: Treehugger,

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