To date, Sadako has two robots operating in Spanish waste plants. One of the companies, Ferrovial Sevices, is currently at the fine-tuning stage and is using the robot at the Ecoparc4 treatment plant, located in Hostalets de Pierola, Barcelona. It hopes the robot will be fully functional in early 2016, eventually sorting 125 tons per year of PET packaging material. The second is being used by a joint venture lead by Sacyr-Valoriza in the Maresme Integrated Centre for Waste Recovery, also near Barcelona.
“In the beginning, customers told us that it’s going to be difficult to pay for a robot that hasn’t been proven,” Eugenio admits.
As a result, a revenue sharing model is in place with the two Spanish waste companies. In essence, each robot has to earn its keep – revenue generated from its picked waste is split between Sadako and the client. Half goes to Sadako and the other half goes to the waste plant. For example, if the robot picked 200 tons of a material that was sold for €10,000, then the customer would take €5,000 and Sadako the rest.
Once proven, the company intends to sell the robots upfront at a cost of arounf €90,000 per unit, with an estimated return on investment of a year.
“Our system is of course cheaper,” says Eugenio. “To be cost effective we want the ROI to be one year. Normally a NIR machine costs three times as much as one of our units but then it would sort three times as much. So the ROI is the same as NIR units.”
By the end of 2016 the company, which now has a team of 13, expects to have sold four units and is targeting international sales the following year.
Rumoured to also be in discussion with major recycling equipment manufacturers, the CEO adds: “We have talked with other companies. It makes a lot of sense to have an agreement with a big industrial company. We don’t have industrial facilities or big workshops to produce equipment on a big volume so it makes sense to have an agreement with a big player.”