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RFID Helps Portuguese Trash Collector Clean Up Its Operations
Passive UHF tags mounted on trucks help LIPOR quickly identify the source and quantity of the trash collected from more than 1 million residents.
Mar 10, 2009—A waste management agency in Portugal has begun employing passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags in order to identify garbage trucks entering and exiting its disposal center, as well as to make a number of business processes more accurate and efficient within the facility.
The agency, known as LIPOR, provides trash collection services to more than 1 million residents in Oporto, Portugal's largest city, and some of its surrounding municipalities. To help it develop a means of improving operations at its garbage disposal facility, LIPOR hired CreativeSystems, a value-added reseller of Alien Technology's RFID tags and interrogators, and a systems integrator that has managed RFID deployments in a number of industries.
Previously, in order to gain access to secured gates at the entrance and exit of LIPOR's main disposal center, truck drivers utilized magnetic-stripe cards to identify themselves. This required stopping at a magnetic-stripe reader mounted at one of the gates, then manually swiping the card. Once inside, each driver proceeded to a weigh station, where the vehicle was weighed before and after the load was dumped. Then, based on the load's weight, LIPOR generated an invoice for the municipality from which the garbage was collected.
There were a number of problems with this system, according to Stephen Crocker, Alien Technology's sales and channels director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and India. For various reasons, such as wet weather, the mag-stripe cards were not always immediately readable when the drivers swiped them through the reader. This caused delays at the gates, which sometimes led to a long lineup of trucks, particularly during the disposal site's busy periods. Additionally, after entering the facility, each driver was directed to a specific weigh and dump station, based on the specific municipality the truck represented. Nonetheless, drivers—whether through an error or in an effort to defraud the system—did not always proceed to the correct station, thereby resulting in the wrong municipality being charged for the garbage.
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