PhD or Postdoc Research Position on Robotic Sorting for Recycling

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
September 18, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
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PhD or Postdoc Research Position on Robotic Sorting for Recycling

(ref. BAP-2023-536)

Last modification : Friday, August 18, 2023

The KU Leuven research group on Life Cycle Engineering (LCE) of the Department of Mechanical Engineering has, in close cooperation with their industrial partners, acquired significant experience in re- and demanufacturing, or in other words the dismantling of products into their components and the sorting of materials for the purpose of reuse, repair, repurposing, remanufacturing and recycling. The KU Leuven has recently established the Re- and Demanufacturing Lab in Heverlee to support these research activities. The ten-headed team working in this lab has in the framework of various national and international projects developed and installed various setups in this lab with state-of-the-art automation, spectroscopic, computer vision and ICT equipment for material characterization, robotic sorting and robotic demanufacturing. The group's ambition is to further develop its lab and infrastructure, together with the related software and expertise in this field. This to support system integrators and reuse, repair, remanufacturing and recycling companies in the development of the next generation of more sustainable processes. In addition, it is the objective to support original equipment manufacturers in developing more sustainable products in the ongoing transition towards a more circular economy. Description of the research topic Within the Horizon European Reclaim project (AI-powered Robotic Material Recovery in a Box, https: // reclaim- ) KU Leuven will collaborate with the organizations Forth, University of Malta, Hellenic Recovery Recycling Cooperation (HRRC), IRIS, Robenzo, Aimplas, AXIA, ISWA and ION. In this project KU Leuven will contribute to increasing the flexibility and sorting efficiency of the pilot robotic sorting line by facilitating a quick and easy customization to respond to changes in the material supply and waste characteristics. For this purpose, different methods to characterize the geometry of the waste stream based on the images of the computer vision system will be explored and the suitability of different grippers considering these characteristics will be mapped. Considering that multiple robots will cooperate for sorting, we want to investigate methods to define the optimal (hybrid) gripper designs and combination of grippers to be used. In this way, the objective is to implement collaborative behaviors for multi-robot/multi-gripper sorting systems. For this the distribution of roles and tasks among the robots in a way that maximizes global efficiency and balances the work and wear of the different grippers and robots is targeted. You will be involved in the development and evaluation of sorting performances with the available sorting lab setup and pilot setup under development and the integration of the different system components throughout the project in close cooperation with the experienced project partners.

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  • You are member of a multidisciplinary research group working on the topic of Life Cycle Engineering (LCE) in the re- and demanufacturing lab and the automation, vision and robotics (ACRO) at KU Leuven under the supervision of Prof. Jef Peeters and Prof. Karel Kellens.
  • You follow up on literature, patents, company releases, conferences, etc. and use the obtained information to determine the state of the art and to identify opportunities for novel contributions.
  • You are responsible for the development and evaluation of innovative gripper designs and grasping algorithms and contribute to organizing and performing validation experiments with the lab setups available at the laboratories of KU Leuven and the pilot system under development at the location of the project partners in Greece, Crete.
  • You report to your supervisors and to industrial partners during project meetings and at international conferences.
  • We offer you the opportunity and support to publish in international scientific journals.
  • Profile
  • You hold a Master's in Science, Engineering, or equivalent degree which you obtained with a high GPA or a PhD in the field of operational research or robotics.
  • You like to work in a multidisciplinary team of international researchers and show willingness to learn and explore innovative technologies and techniques.
  • You have a creative mindset, take initiative, and are not afraid to address innovative ideas and new opportunities.
  • You are fluent in English.
  • Offer
  • We offer a varied and challenging job in close cooperation with industry, combined with an attractive salary package.
  • We offer a research position in a stimulating and multi-disciplinary environment and a strong industrial network.
  • We provide the opportunity to work towards obtaining a PhD degree and/or to grow your academic experience and track record within an international network.
  • Interested?

    For more information please contact Prof. dr. Jef Peeters, tel.: +32 16 32 25 69, mail: [email protected].

    KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at [email protected].

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