Using technology to tackle waste and recycling site challenges

Written by: Fred Bell | Published:

Waste and recycling machines are built for tough jobs in tough environments, but building a successful machine for the industry is about more than just power and durability. Fred Bell, JCB’s business manager for the waste and recycling industries, explains how technology is increasingly playing a part in comfort, efficiency, safety and security.

Running an efficient and productive waste and recycling business will always be a challenge, but technology is increasingly helping the management of sites. A whole range of technologies is being introduced to mobile plant, from seemingly mundane LED lights to satellite-assisted telematics systems.

The engine of change

You’d probably expect to find technological developments in machine engines and you’d be right. Even without the need to constantly develop engines to meet customer demand, increasingly strict emissions standards have meant that engines also need to become more efficient and less harmful to the environment. Meeting the latest Stage IV/Tier 4 Final regulations while maintaining operating performance has been a challenge, but the best new engines now combine increased fuel efficiency with lower emissions while maintaining previous levels of performance.

Keeping workers safe

Technology has also played its part in health and safety on sites. New machines are fitted with brighter, longer lasting LED lights which make it easier for the operator to see and be seen while carrying out their duties. In-cab cameras also help with visibility, particularly when reversing, while automatic fire suppression and additional dust filtration systems also play their part in delivering a safe site.

An eye in the sky

Perhaps the biggest single technological development of recent years though, is the introduction of telematics – a way of transmitting and sharing management information over long distances.

Telematics systems provide a huge amount of information which can be critical to the management of the whole site. Using telematics, machine service alerts can be set up and maintenance records can be kept. This means that an issue that could develop into a machine failure can be recognised early and can be dealt with before the problem actually occurs.

The system also offers a wide range of benefits for those involved in waste management as entire fleets can be tracked and monitored remotely. The highly responsive, 24/7 nature of the technology means site operators can always be switched on to what their machines are doing.

Telematics data can be used to improve productivity, drive cost savings and maximise equipment’s value. Just by logging onto their laptop or mobile, managers can see which machines are working hard and which are idle, how much fuel is being used and where the machines are. If one machine has multiple drivers, particularly in double or triple shifts, then comparisons between operators can be produced. Different levels of productivity and fuel consumption between operators may identify a training requirement, but don’t forget that the operator that’s using the most fuel may also be moving the most material!

Telematics systems also enhance machine security. They can warn managers of suspicious behaviour, such as if a machine is moved out of a set area or is being operated at an unexpected time of day or night. This can include alerting rental companies to continued use of equipment when the hire period is over. The system can track any machine that is moved illegally, therefore helping with its prompt recovery and potentially reducing insurance premiums.

Always innovating

JCB – the suppliers of the largest range of waste and recycling machines – is constantly developing machines to accommodate changes in working practice, and the safety and comfort demands of operators. JCB’s telematics system, LiveLink, offers a wide range of benefits and all that’s required is a smartphone or PC connected to the internet. The LiveLink computer and sensors are built into the machine and information is sent, using mobile communications technology, to JCB’s secure data centre. The machine management information is then available to users.

With more than 70,000 machines currently registered and using LiveLink, JCB is constantly extending the functionality of the system, which proves that strictly functional, basic machines are a thing of the past. The latest machines can do so much more than their predecessors and they do it more efficiently thanks to the technology on board. Talk to an expert and discover how new technology is making machines to help you work more efficiently, effectively and safely.

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