Improving material handling efficiency with AI powered soft sensors

How to increase the lifetime value of existing equipment? Unikie and BMH Technology partnered to create a software only solution for real-time insight of the production line.
BMH Technology

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BMH Technology is a Finnish technology and project house rooting back to 1929. The company is one of the global leaders in demanding material handling systems and industrial scale TYRANNOSAURUS® waste refining solutions. BMH’s mission is to provide innovative technology that reinforces the use of sustainable fuels, helps customers reduce their CO2 emissions, decreases landfilling as well as increases material recovery and recycling.


Optimizing waste refining process

BMH’s shredders for waste refining represent smart technology, raw power and excellent availability with high capacity. BMH had been looking for new ways to collect relevant data from current-generation shredders to monitor the performance of the waste processing line. Suboptimal processing of waste mass can even lead to unnecessary costs.

As Unikie was mapping BMH’s needs, we identified that understanding the throughput of a single shredder and related conveyor belt system will be valuable in improving the mass balance of the entire system. Currently, the overall throughput is not monitored because the installation of monitoring hardware is complicated or even impossible.


Soft sensors offer an alternative way

At the start of the process, Unikie and BMH discovered real-time measuring of weight and volume of shredded material entering the conveyor belt is needed in order to monitor the throughput of the shredder. As the installation of a physical scale and other monitoring equipment was not an option, we decided on an alternative way of gaining a real-time view of the key parameters with currently available data.

Utilizing the actual throughput data and existing parameters from the shredder system (such as motor torque), our development and data scientist team was able to create AI powered soft sensors for measuring weight and volume. Soft sensors were trained to act like a HW sensor utilizing Unikie AI Vision framework.


A piece of software trained to act as a hardware monitoring device.


Two main approaches to building: AI model or physical model.


Hardware sensors are not available or are hard to install.


Aim to reduce purchase and maintenance costs. Generate insights from existing data streams.


Real-time insight with software only

As an end result of the project, Unikie developed a software based solution for BMH using existing shredder system parameters for accurately measuring in real-time the throughput of the shredder with more than 95% accuracy.

Soft sensors can be taken into use easily and cost-effectively in existing BMH shredder systems without any additional hardware installation. They provide new real-time insight for optimal operations, which was not available before.

Key results