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Waste-Management System Cleans Up With UHF RFID

Compta is powering its Bee2Waste system with an RFID solution from TechSigno using Chainway RFID readers to capture data from hundreds of thousands of waste bins as they are commissioned, and each time they are emptied.
By Claire Swedberg
Apr 09, 2019

European waste-management company Compta is using RFID technology to automatically gain visibility into bin collection as part of its Bee2Waste program. The passive UHF solution was installed by TechSigno using the latter's cloud-based software, as well as RFID reader technology from Chainway.

Compta has employed RFID for more than a decade to track almost 250,000 containers used by its customers throughout numerous European cities. The system has employed low-frequency (LF) technology, which was captured and managed by a variety of processes and software platforms, depending on the municipality or company. The technology company sought a more seamless solution that would make the management of bins easier and universal across all of its clients' sites, says Sérgio Spinola, Compta's product and systems engineer. So for the past five years, the firm has been migrating to a UHF-based solution that could be used across its customer base. With UHF technology, the readers could capture tag ID numbers at a distance of several meters, and enable workers to capture and input tag data more quickly and easily than they did with LF RFID.

Users of the TechSigno solution, employing Chainway technology, are now applying an off-the-shelf UHF RFID tag to each bin as it is distributed to a customer's site. They then read the tag via a handheld Chainway C4050 RFID reader and link the tag's unique ID to customer data in the Chainway software, according to Mike Cui, the company's international technical support manager.

The C4050UHF is an Android-based rugged mobile computer with a quad-core processor, as well as a built-in RFID reader module. According to Cui, it can not only read UHF tags, but also accomplish 1D and 2D bar-code scanning, and can send data via a 4G cellular or Wi-Fi connection. The device detects its GPS location, and that data is linked to the tag ID as the tag is being read, as well as to the customer's information, such as his or her name and address. In this way, operators can quickly associate one or more bins to a specific location.

Waste-collection vehicles are equipped with a Chainway fixed RFID reader, attached to the hopper, to automatically track when and where each bin is emptied. As a bin is raised to the hopper for dumping, the reader captures its tag ID, and a wireless unit aboard the truck can forward that data to the software, along with the GPS location, via a cellular connection.

In some cases, Spinola says, waste collectors use handheld readers as well. For example, on the island of Sao Miguel, on the Portuguese archipelago of Azores, waste collectors capture RFID tag ID numbers via a handheld reader each time they empty a bin, and the GPS data on the handheld helps to confirm not only that the bin has been emptied, but that it is located in the proper place.

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