A recently announced partnership between a waste technology company and a compactor manufacturer will result in a “smart compactor” that collects information about the waste stream, fullness ratings and operational health and efficiency.
BioHiTech Global Inc., a Chestnut Ridge, N.Y.-based green technology company that develops and deploys waste management technologies, and BINPAK Compactors, a Brantford, Ontario, Canada-based wholly-owned subsidiary of Modern Waste Products Inc., a Canadian company specializing in the design, production and distribution of the BINPAK Compactor, will offer customers the option of installing BioHiTech's Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
“Gaining visibility into the waste stream, and providing our customers with the opportunity to optimize this part of their businesses, which often goes unnoticed, is the key objective of both BINPAK Compactors and BioHiTech,” says Mark Hanson, president and CEO of BINPAK Compactors. “Our companies share the common goal to provide cost-effective solutions that take advantage of technology and, like all steps forward in an industry, disrupt the status quo of waste around the world for the better.”
BioHiTech will license its proprietary technology to Modern Waste Products for use on its BINPAK compaction units, providing them with real-time visibility and analytics.
“BioHiTech has years of experience in collecting, analyzing and presenting valuable food waste-related data, providing our customers with the ability to increase efficiency in areas like supply chain management,” says Frank E. Celli, CEO of BioHiTech. “The same BioHiTech Cloud technology used by our customers to analyze food waste trends will now be utilized on the BINPAK units to provide the ability to further enhance the equipment’s performance and value proposition, creating a ‘smart compactor’ solution.”
Modern Waste Products uses a modern Schneider Programmable Logic Controller to control the BINPAK compactor. Additionally, a cellular modem is installed on the BINPAK compactor to add internet connectivity to the equipment. Both the PLC and the cellular modem on each device will integrate with the existing BioHiTech Cloud platform.
The units will be equipped with a cellular modem gateway installed on the compactor, providing a secure bridge between the Schneider PLC and BioHiTech Cloud. The collection of data is initiated from the BioHiTech Cloud platform, which securely connects to the BINPAK equipment in the field and collects a variety of data elements that will be used to provide guidance for operational and efficiency improvements.
“Efficiency is the key to this technology. Compaction is designed to make waste collection efficient and cost effective, and maximizing the compactors’ abilities is what this technology is designed for,” says Hanson. “The cloud-based portal will be accessible to the customer and notification levels can be set so that events of interest, such as missed pickups, low oil levels, fullness percentage, etc., can be set to notify specified individuals on their team.”
By tracking the weight and pressure, and using comprehensive and progressive algorithms, the data collected from the compactors is used to analyze usage levels, monitor and predict fullness levels, notify hauler when the compactor will be full and document tip schedules.
“For customers of BINPAK, its SMART compactors will provide the confidence that waste services are being optimized with scheduling that works for their properties and gives customers the tools to track diversion goals,” says Hanson. “A BINPAK SMART compactor will also pre-emptively notify service techs of upcoming service needs or service schedules.”
One of the biggest challenges is balancing the need for real-time data with the costs of providing cellular data connectivity, according to Celli.
“While cellular data costs continue to drop, it is still expensive compared to traditional wired Internet access coming into your home or business. At BioHiTech, we design data collection processes to minimize cellular data bandwidth and costs, but this must be balanced by the need to provide visibility into equipment at a reasonable frequency,” he says.
Hanson says another challenge to overcome is the ability to gain useful data.
“Data is easy to generate but to make the data accurate, use it in an effective way and to maximize its usefulness, is of utmost importance,” he says. “One of our main focuses has been to be creative in our algorithms in order to make the information relevant and current for our customers.”