Automatic Sorting of Recycled Concrete Aggregates

Automation & Robotics for Construction
Cycle 1

Our first foray was in mobility and transportation logistics. We intended to use AI and smart sensing to perform image-based assessments and provide bus drivers with critical information to improve safety. However, we found it difficult to scale in Singapore’s transportation space for several reasons, including high cost sensitivity and certain regulatory requirements. 

We identified the construction industry as another space where our solution could create great value. Even so, we initially faced challenges. We had few resources and few relevant connections, and we had much to learn about specific industry pain points. Through BEAMP, we gained access to a learning space where we could get up to speed and overcome these challenges. 

Participating in BEAMP Cycle 1, we had a chance to work with Samwoh Corporation. They were looking for a solution that could automatically sort recycled concrete aggregates (RCA), which were sorted manually. During the Accelerated Solution Development phase, we worked with Samwoh to design a solution that could use AI and multispectral imaging to identify RCA and foreign materials.

During the Market Development phase, we built AI models into a sorting machine that automatically sorts RCA and foreign bodies, interfaced with an industrial-grade separator to sort both using compressed air. With this, we were able to achieve high levels of accuracy, compared to trained lab personnel performing the same task. This modular, customisable setup was cost-effective, reduced the need for human intervention, and took up a small footprint.

When we entered BEAMP, we were effectively starting from zero in the built environment sector. BEAMP allowed us to learn about the built environment space, work on a forward-looking challenge statement with a serious corporate partner, and access a network of industry stakeholders. 

The project was a learning journey for our team, as we had never before applied our solutions to building materials or industrial machinery. It gave us the confidence to handle more complex digitalisation and automation problems. We also gained network and operational insights to tackle more built environment problems. 

Thanks to BEAMP, we grew tremendously in this space over just one year. The built environment sector now contributes a major share of our revenue in Singapore. Working with JTC through the JTC Innovation Challenge 2020, we have since expanded our solution to include smart inspection of infrastructure, buildings, trees, and vessels. We are also looking to tender for an LTA maintenance project that requires video analytics for road inspection. 

Through our work with industry partners, we also gained more credibility as a trusted construction technology startup. 

Now that we have trusted products, we wish to capture larger projects and scale in foreign markets like Southeast Asia, Australia, and China. 

Dr Marcus Chen
Founder, Vebits

Vebits was founded in 2017 in Singapore with a mission to help enterprises accelerate digitalisation and automation to improve productivity and safety.
Published On:
October 12, 2023