PICVISA is a technology company that works on machine vision, robotics and artificial intelligence. Their costumers’ needs are separating different plastic and glass materials. The company is located in Barcelona and it has thirty employees. In addition, it currently serves 15 different countries.

Interview with Joan Manel Casamitjana, CEO PICVISA.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Joan Manel Casamitjana: The main areas of activity are sorting and valorization plants where a first separation is made of materials such as plastic, papers, metals and glass. On the other hand, there are purification plants where materials are classified in order to reuse them and place them back into the life’s chain of the material.

E.E: What’s the news for 2021 about new products?

J.M.C: Two new services will be launched in 2021. Firstly, the Brain service, which aims to offer artificial vision and intelligence consultancy. The second service is a flow analyzer device which allows to see all the materials that are on a conveyor belt.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

J.M.C: We have three types of products: the optical sorters Ecopack and Ecoglass and the intelligent robot Ecopick. Furthermore, we have two types of services: Our Brain consultancy service and the Test Centre, which performs in real scale any kind of test with different materials. Above all, our after-sales will support the costumers with specific contracts up to 24-7-365, including constant attention in order to not miss a minute of availability and operation in processes where stopping is not an option.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

J.M.C: We could say that there are different stages. The internationalization of our products and services in the 15 countries where we operate on allows us to see how in some countries robotics and artificial intelligence is a reality but, other countries are focusing on the automatization processes.

I would say that Europe and the USA are in the first division and South America is in the second division. The Asian and African markets are too far from PICVISA’s vision.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

J.M.C: Market trends in the recycling sector for the next coming years are:

AI algorithms are going to be very present in sorting through the robotic solutions and also the optical sorters. They’ll allow achieving further automation and better levels of separation and purity.

Data mining: Recycling is moving towards industry 4.0 through the sensitization of the plants, exploitation of the information collected by sensors and flow analyzers will be an asset in the coming years.

Chemical recycling for plastics. Innovation in this process will be very present at the end of the recycling process.

Textile recycling, how to recover this fraction in the MSW stream and further development on the technical process on how to classify, separate and recycling of different materials.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

J.M.C: PICVISA has started commercializing Ecopick, this product makes the more unpleasant works more profitable and improves recoveries, increasing the availability of the position where it is place. On the other hand, we are developing the Brain consultancy service in Spain, offering our knowledge on Machine vision in any kind of waste to other specialized multi-sectorial engineering. Also, this year we deliver a LIFE innovation project, Life Pst Sort, about a sorting solution aiming to recover secondary raw materials from Automotive Shredder Residues (ASR) of end-of-life vehicles (ELV), which are mostly landfilled or incinerated.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2021?

J.M.C: We are currently in a growth process based on three aspects:

  • Innovation markets focused on the internationalization of countries such as France, Germany, Scandinavian countries, UK… besides looking for new sectors and consolidate them in the Iberian Peninsula;
  • Organizing innovation based on business empowerment and changing versatility;
  • Technological innovation on our products, services and processes studying new business models.