Weight management keeps Manchester on track

Two Self 800 weighing control systems supplied by Weightron Bilanciai are playing a crucial role in Greater Manchester's ambitious waste recycling program. Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority has cently been awarded a grant of over £7 million from DEFRA to support the implementation of kerbside recycling and a sustainable waste awareness programme based on the 3Rs (reduction, reuse, and recycling) to around 350,000 homes across Greater Manchester. Residual waste collections are now being complemented by multi-materials recycling kerbside collections.

As part of the scheme Greater Manchester Waste Ltd (GMW) is working in partnership with the districts of Greater Manchester, leading to a more sustainable waste management solution for the area, improving efficiency and reducing the costs of collecting the 1.4 million tonnes of municipal solid waste created each year. Recycling and recovery of materials from the waste stream is set to increase, resulting in higher recycling rates for Greater Manchester, in line with government targets.

The installation of the Self 800 terminals and weighbridges is part of the upgrading of GMW’s operational facilities to enable a more efficient turn around of collection vehicles. The equipment is operating at the company’s Bury waste transfer station and South Manchester materials recovery facility.

Keeping track on how much recyclable waste is collected and from which area across the region on a daily basis is a major task. GMW operates over 25 kerbside collection vehicles and the permutations of round number and vehicle are considerable. Keeping accurate records of the material collected is an important part of the programme. Data is used for both financial charging validation purposes and to assess annual collection weights versus targets.

As GMW’s Paul Knowles explains: “When we were investigating how we could implement a weight control system for recyclable waste, we recognised that we needed a solution that was straightforward to operate and did not require any manual data entry by the drivers. The Weightron Bilanciai equipment provides us with a comprehensive management system that does not impose time restraints on the vehicles and crew.”

The Self 800 is designed specifically for monitoring and controlling weighing at remote sites. Based on swipe cards, the system provides a complete waste management handling system which is designed to be easy to use by operators. Comprehensive management data can be stored and retrieved to provide full journal reports of waste activity either on site or at a remote central location. The Self800 can be networked for use in multiple weigh point applications in a conventional master- slave configuration. The optional Ethernet card and standard modem allow remote access for retrieval of data and set up.

Data input for the individual cards is carried out by the appropriate GMW line manager. Each card contains information pertaining to the collection round number, week number, day number of collection, collection district for accounts, vehicle number plate, card number with vehicle description and the product collected. The collections take place over ten working day cycles and therefore each truck has ten cards associated to it, depending on the day number and week number.

Each morning, a line manager allocates an appropriate card for the day and week number to each vehicle. The vehicle then collects waste from the specified round and returns to one of the waste transfer stations for weighing. Traffic lights control entry to the weighbridge and if green, the truck can drive on. The driver then swipes his card through the reader on the Self 800 terminal to initiate the weighing and the traffic lights turn to red until the weighing is completed. The truck can then drive off and unload. The first gross weighing is stored in the terminal and printed off in a remote office which also houses a Weightron Bilanciai D800 weight display and server. When empty, the truck drives back to the weighbridge to repeat the weighing process. The driver receives confirmation of the net weighing via a print out from the built-in printer in the Self 800. The second weighing is again printed remotely and stored in the terminal. Approximately 500 weighments can be stored and data is downloaded on a daily basis via the D800 to GMW’s central “‘Gatehouse” weighbridge control system.

As Paul Knowles concludes: “Early indications are very encouraging and the throughput of vehicles is very smooth. The data is presented in a comprehensive yet simple to analyse format. We are currently investigating the possibility of further integration for the system within our central management system.”

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