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Smart Waste Management with Sensor Technology 4.0

Ultrasonic technology is used in smart waste management solutions.

In 2030, almost two thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities. This fact requires thedevelopment of sustainable solutions for urban life already nowadays. Efficient and energy-saving street lighting and traffic light systems, water and wastewater management, reducing CO2 and vehicle exhaust emissions—these are just a few examples for the demands of future cities. In views of that, the efficient use and responsible handling of resources become more and more important, too.

Smart City Concepts

In Barcelona, Smart Waste Management is part of the Smart City project.
In Barcelona, Smart Waste Management is part of the Smart City project.

These trends are the reason for the development of so called Smart City concepts which are intended to improve the situation in urban areas, for example by using innovative technologies. The “Internet of Things”provides new opportunities for making cities smarter. Parking guidance systems, for instance, can help reducing gas emissions as cars are guided directly to free parking spaces. Intelligent and flexible automation solutions are the basis for such approaches.

Thus, MOBA Mobile Automation AG, a company based in Limburg, Germany, opted for sensor technology from Pepperl+Fuchs when they developed their Smart Waste Management System. This solution enables garbage containers to report automatically that they are full.

Smart Waste Management as part of Smart City concepts

What might sound unrealistic has already become reality within Barcelona's Smart City Project. Garbage containers transmit signals to indicate that they are over 80 percent full and should be emptied. Via the mobile communications network, the signals are sent to a web-based software application used by the waste management company.

In the software, the capacity of the container is visualized in a traffic light system, which is taken as a basis to plan the best route for waste collection—garbage trucks travel only to those containers that actually need to be emptied.

The fill levels of the garbage containers are visualized with a traffic light system in a software platform developed by MOBA.

Fill level measurement with innovative ultrasonic technology

The ultrasonic sensor in the container lid detects the fill level.
The ultrasonic sensor in the container lid detects the fill level.

MOBA‘s waste fill level measurement device is based on ultrasonic technology. A robust ultrasonic sensor is integrated into the lid of every garbage container and detects the fill level regardless of what has been deposited inside. MOBA particularly appreciates the reliability andintelligence of Pepperl+Fuchs’ ultrasonic sensor in this matter. It automatically adapts to changing surfaces and different kinds of waste.

On a regular basis, measured data and sensor information are transmitted to the cloud via the mobile communication network. For this, the fill level measurement device is equipped with a SIM card. The advantage: existing telecommunication networks can be used for data transfer.

Also maintenance, service and diagnostics are possible via the cloud, sensor data are monitored online and fewer on-site services are needed. As the sensor consumes very little power, the lithium battery of the measurement device lasts up to ten years, making it an energy-saving and durablesolution.

Intelligent sensors for Sensor Technology 4.0

By introducing the Smart Waste Management System, Barcelona has taken a key step towards becoming a Smart City. The targeted waste collection saves time, money, and fuel and alsoreduces exhaust gas emissions and noise levels for local residents. MOBA assumes that garbage truck tours can be reduced by 30 %. There might be more cities benefitting from this system in future—twenty other countries are currently testing MOBA’s Smart Waste Management System for rollout.

This application is an example of the type of intelligent sensors that are becoming more and more popular. Such sensors deliver a differentiated image of reality and can transmit this image in real time via web-based communication. This is not yet Industry 4.0 but a real piece of Sensor Technology 4.0.

At a glance

  • Smart ultrasonic technology combined with GSM communication technologies
  • Regular reporting of measured fill levels and sensor data via mobile communication network
  • Robust ultrasonic sensor detects fill level regardless of the kind of waste
  • Fill level measurements as a basis for optimized routes for waste collection
  • Reducing gas emissions and noise levels


mpascual 25.02.2016 3 8948
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  •  mobact_greece: 
    Dear Mr Kouskouris,

    thank you for your comment and your interest regarding MOBA Waste solutions. Mobact is MOBA dealer in Greece. We will get in contact with you and give you all the answers regarding all your questions.
    Please send us your contact details on the following e-mail:

    Best regards,
    Michalis Karizonis
    0 points
  •  climent: 
    Dear AKOUSK,

    We have hundreds of projects were we have implemented our systems and they go from big and very populated cities, like Buenos Aires or Barcelona, till very small towns were only one truck is managed. Therefore, the advantages of our systems can be adapted to all cases. We also offer the Software as a service, which means that an initial investment for expensive licenses is not necessary,so,it does not penalize customers or cities with very little fleets.
    We adapt our system to all different types of collection system. We have solutions for door to door collection, communal containers on the street, underground containers, etc. The electronics can be implemented in all type of trucks too (side loader, rear-end-loaders, crane loaders, etc).
    We do have a dealer in Greece. Please check:
    Best regards,
    Climent Vilatersana
    2 points
  •  AKOUSK: 
    Dear Sir

    I would like to know about the following:

    1. How much would be an average population for a city to use 'smart waste management.

    2. Does the city must had a special infrastructure to install your collection system.?

    3. Do you have any dealer in Greece?

    Sincerely yours

    Andrew Kouskouris
    1 point
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