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In Waste management & research : the journal of the International Solid Wastes and Public Cleansing Association, ISWA

End-of-life vehicles (ELVs) provide a particularly potent source of supply for metals. Hence, the recycling and sorting techniques for ferrous and nonferrous metal scraps from ELVs significantly increase metal resource utilization. However, different kinds of nonferrous metal scraps, such as aluminium (Al) and copper (Cu), are not further automatically classified due to the lack of proper techniques. The purpose of this study is to propose an identification method for different nonferrous metal scraps, facilitate the further separation of nonferrous metal scraps, achieve better management of recycled metal resources and increase sustainability. A convolutional neural network (CNN) and SEEDS (superpixels extracted via energy-driven sampling) were adopted in this study. To build the classifier, 80 training images of randomly chosen Al and Cu scraps were taken, and some practical methods were proposed, including training patch generation with SEEDS, image data augmentation and automatic labelling methods for enormous training data. To obtain more accurate results, SEEDS was also used to optimize the coarse results obtained from the pretrained CNN model. Five indicators were adopted to evaluate the final identification results. Furthermore, 15 test samples concerning different classification environments were tested through the proposed model, and it performed well under all of the employed evaluation indexes, with an average precision of 0.98. The results demonstrate that the proposed model is robust for metal scrap identification, which can be expanded to a complex industrial environment, and it presents new possibilities for highly accurate automatic nonferrous metal scrap classification.

Li Yifeng, Qin Xunpeng, Zhang Zhenyuan, Dong Huanyu


Recycle, classification, convolutional neural network, nonferrous metal scraps, superpixel