Digital teknology optimises waste handling on the island of Langeland

Thomas Strandmark ve en affaldsø i Rudkøbing
Operations Manager Thomas Strandmark, Langelands Forsyning, in front of a waste island in Rudkøbing, which is equipped with digital fill level sensors.

Langelands Forsyning A/S has optimised its operations through the digitalisation of their waste collection – including digital ­sensors that monitor the island’s waste containers.

The solution was provided by the Sønderborg-based company Maacks, and it has both saved the utility company many kilometres of driving and pleased residents and holidaymakers.

- No letters in the local newspaper ‘Øboen’ about missed waste collections is the goal, and it still holds, says Thomas Strandmark with a twinkle in his eye. He is the operations manager for waste management at Langelands Forsyning A/S, where the use of small digital sensors from Maacks, to monitor the fill levels in waste containers, has been part of their opera­tions since 2019.

In the holiday home areas on Langeland, there are no longer problems with overflowing waste containers, and along with the transition to collection points, Langelands Forsyning has been able to reduce one waste collection truck. At the same time, it is a very reliable solution.

Replacing manual routines

Previously, an employee from Langelands Forsyning had to make a 176 km round trip on the island to check the containers at 50 environmental stations. It took a day and a half and resulted in a paper report with an overview of the fill levels in the individual waste containers.

Based on this, a driver could plan a trip to empty the relevant containers. It was not only a cumbersome process, but it could also vary depending on who was to assess the fill levels.
- We spent far too much time checking the municipality’s recycling stations, says operations manager Thomas Strandmark today, and he is happy to outline the new solution and process.

A total of 220 digital fill level sensors

Langelands Forsyning approached the task systemati­cally. They initially installed about ten fill level sensors and have now reached a total of 220 sensors that ­register the fill levels in the island’s waste containers.

Today, there are about 30 waste collection points around the island, covering, among other areas, all holiday homes with 2,300 households. Each collection point has 6-7 waste containers, and in total, 10 fractions are handled – amounting to 220 containers in all. To make the collection more efficient, glass and metal are collected in one fraction.

Operations Manager Thomas Strandmark, Langelands Forsyning, in front of a waste island in Rudkøbing, which is equipped with digital fill level sensors.
Operations Manager Thomas Strandmark, Langelands Forsyning, in front of a waste island in Rudkøbing, which is equipped with digital fill level sensors.

Driving according to fill percentages

The specialists at Maacks have not only provided individual sensors, but also the BrainyBins Transport & Logistics Software, which can retrieve data from all waste containers via the Cloud. With this system, the operations manager can automatically generate a collection route, so the driving with heavy trucks is minimised – thereby reducing operation costs and CO2 emissions.

Through an app, the driver can see the collection route and, for example, the current fill levels for the individu­al waste containers.

- BrainyBins is a powerful tool that has made the emptying of our waste containers more efficient. It is easy to use and provides an overview, so we are able to delegate the planning of the service route to our driver – he is now fully in charge of the process, says operations manager Thomas Strandmark.

Every sixth hour, the fill levels are automatically updated. Normally, a waste container is added to the service route when it has a fill level of 80-90 per cent. However, every Wednesday, the data is checked one additional time for containers that might be critical­ over the weekend in, for instance, holiday home areas.
Langelands Forsyning has a service truck with a trailer for emptying waste containers, and it can handle four fractions at a time. Additionally, there are three trucks for daily waste collection.

Reliable operation

At Langelands Forsyning, the sensors are monitored centrally, and they can see if they are not working, or if they are running out of battery.

- In the first four months, we have only had one defect fill level sensor out of 220 in total, and we haven’t replaced a single battery this year, so they do provide a trouble-free operation, asserts Thomas Strandmark.

Langeland is a beautiful island with rolling landscapes. This initially posed problems when data needed to be transferred from sensors around the island; but in collaboration with Maacks, Langelands Forsyning has found a good solution in the so-called NB-IoT technology, which provides consistent data transfer about the fill levels in the containers.

Easy to expand

At Langelands Forsyning, they have a subscription arrangement with Maacks, which includes fill level sensors and the software package. If a new fill level sensor needs to be installed or replaced, it’s so straightforward that the operations manager often does it himself while he’s on the road anyway.

- It takes me 10 minutes to install a new fill level sensor and to set it up in our software, says Thomas Strandmark. He recommends other waste handling companies to install fill level sensors as well. 

- It provides some obvious opportunities to optimise operations, and the more rational effort also makes good sense for the employees, he continues. 

Thomas Strandmark has also considered new initiatives within their smart waste management.

BrainyBins Radar sensor monteret i toppen af affaldsbeholderen
BrainyBins Radar sensor mounted on top of a container from Langelands Forsyning.

- We are continuously working to make the solution even more efficient and accurate, Thomas Strandmark elaborates: The next generation of fill level sensors uses radar technology, which increases the precision in reading levels of, among other things, cardboard, paper, and plastic. Besides, we are considering working with the emptying forecasts which Maacks also can provide.

The Sønderborg-based company Maacks has supplied digital solutions for optimising routes and route planning to a large number of Danish municipalities and waste management companies. The company is the leading provider in the Danish market and has developed, with an innovative approach, among other things radar-based fill level sensors characterised by very high precision.

Do you want to know more about the digital transformation?

Feel free to contact our sales manager Torben Østerby.

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17. October 2019



17. October 2019



17. October 2019