Taking technology on board

On-board vehicle technology is nothing new to the private sector, but one body-building firm is increasingly getting calls from local authorities wanting a similiar set-up

With the question of household and commercial waste moving beyond weekly collection and recycling, Linktip is predicting a shift in onboard vehicle technology. The body-building specialist anticipates more local authorities adopting the kind of kit already used in the private sector in order to analyse what we're throwing away and whether we should be charged for it.

Wayne Hodgetts is the new managing director at Linktip. He explains: "This is still a relatively new area for many local authorities, but bin-weighing technology is already being used by commercial operators. We're receiving an increasing number of calls from local authorities investigating this area."

It's not just food, green or general household rubbish that local authorities are concerned about, either. Many also pick up commercial waste and this has been an area where charging could be well conceived. Small businesses that only throw away minimal amounts of waste have often felt they pay a disproportional amount, while larger operations with a high volume of waste pay less than they should.

Environmental departments are considering a number of options for the future and, in line with that, transport departments are going to have to deliver vehicles that can achieve local authority aims.

Hodgetts adds: "The technology already exists and is being used by commercial waste collectors - it's just a matter of time before it crosses over into the public sector."

Linktip has just delivered its latest vehicle body with weighing cells to Enviroco, a leading hazardous waste management company that has a diverse customer base - from local authorities to oil and gas operators. The vehicle is a three-compartment recycling body able to handle glass, paper, and other commercial waste, with a total of three bin lifts - two on the side and one at the back.

A triple lift
It is unusual in the fact that it has three bin lifts and is able to collect large volumes of waste, but it also has weighing cells to record the weight of individual collections. Hodgetts says: "It's a simple but very effective system, where you replace the central teeth of the bin lift with a weighing cell. While it can still be lifted and tipped safely, you can now accurately record its weight too."

The weight of the bin can be recorded in the cab and anything over weight will trigger an audible alarm.

Hodgetts adds: "At the moment most tenders we see merely specify the size of the bin an authority wants that particular vehicle to pick up. We're urging them to look to the future as most vehicles have a life of between five and ten years, and this is the kind of technology that could be essential in a few years' time.

"The technology is already available - bins can already have microchips installed in them so that operators can identify a particular customer's waste and how much it weighs. But the weighing cells are certainly a first - and very useful - first step."

Flexibility for the customer
Linktip doesn't manufacture the weighing cells itself and is not tied in to any one manufacturer. It also designs and manufactures its own bin lifts, so there's no bias towards any system. This allows flexibility for the customer.

According to Linktip, Enviroco asked for a very specific piece of equipment with the number of bin lifts and the weighing cells. Linktip was able to liaise with the technical department, and the customer, to ensure it had a vehicle considered fit for purpose.

"The fact that we manufacture our own bin lifts, and have no preferred suppliers, means we can give the customer exactly what they're looking for," says Hodgetts. "So, whatever way waste and recycling goes in the next few years, local authorities can be sure they will have the specialist vehicle bodies to do the job."

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