Volvo Group tests self-driving refuse truck

Volvo Group, Gothenburg, Sweden, together with Renova, a waste management company headquartered in Gothenburg, is testing an autonomous refuse truck that has the potential to be used across the urban environment. The project explores how automation can contribute to enhanced traffic safety, improved working conditions and lower environmental impact.

“There is amazing potential to transform the swift pace of technical developments in automation into practical benefits for customers and, more broadly, society in general,” says Lars Stenqvist, chief technology officer, Volvo Group. “Our self-driving refuse truck is leading the way in this field globally and [is] one of several exciting autonomous innovations we are working with right now.”

Volvo Group’s autonomous refuse truck is designed to make the driving safer in built-up areas, especially when reversing. Sensors are designed to continuously monitor the vehicle’s vicinity, and the truck is designed to stop immediately if an obstacle suddenly appears in its path. The route is preprogrammed and the truck is designed to drive itself from one container to the next. The driver, who walks ahead of the reversing vehicle, can focus on refuse collection and does not have to climb into and out of the cab every time the truck moves to a new bin.

“One important benefit of the new technology is a reduction in the risk of occupational injuries, such as wear in knee joints—otherwise a common ailment among staff working with refuse collection,” explains Stenqvist.

The joint project with Renova will continue until the end of 2017. The autonomous truck currently being tested is fitted with a sensor system for identification, navigation and monitoring of the vehicle’s vicinity.

Dust Control Technology changes name to BossTek

Dust Control Technology, Peoria, Illinois, has changed its name to BossTek to better reflect its product lines. These include OdorBoss odor suppression technology and KoolBoss crowd cooling technology for large outdoor events.

BossTek President Laura Stiverson says the company’s expansion into other aspects of industrial air quality has come as a result of repeated inquiries from businesses.

She says, “Over time, we began to realize that we were not simply a supplier of dust suppression equipment but rather a solutions provider with the expertise to address a much wider range of applications.”

Stiverson adds that the newer segments of BossTek were growing beyond the company’s expectations and the company felt the need to update the name based on its expanded customer base and industry applications.

The company maintains a domestic rental fleet of industrial-strength misting cannons of all sizes for dust and odor suppression, as well as for crowd cooling. The firm also customizes equipment for sale in North American and international markets.

“We’re always developing new technologies and get very excited when we’re presented with new opportunities for product designs,” Stiverson says. “It’s our customers, first and foremost, that drive our innovation and passion, and they will always remain our primary focus.”

BossTek manufactures dust suppression, odor control and crowd cooling equipment, serving a wide range of applications. The company’s equipment carries a three-year, or 3,000-hour, warranty.

GreenWaste upgrades system

San Jose, California-based GreenWaste Recovery, has decided to expand more than 10 years after it commissioned its first 40-ton-per-hour mixed waste materials recycling system in May 2007. That system received the Solid Waste Association of North America 2008 Gold Award for Recycling Excellence.

GreenWaste has selected Bulk Handling Systems (BHS), Eugene, Oregon, to provide the new mixed waste processing system. The new two-line system is designed to double overall throughput capacity to more than 80 tons per hour and features updated technology, including five new Max-AI autonomous quality control (AQC) units.

Three SpydIR optical sorters from Nashville, Tennessee-based National Recovery Technology (NRT) and four Max-AI AQC units work together to create an autonomous container line. A Max unit with dual robotic sorters operates on the residue line to recover plastics, metals and paper. BHS Tri-Disc screens will replace a trommel screen.

The system also includes BHS bag breakers, single drum separators from Amsterdam-based Nihot, BHS polishing screens and a NRT FiberPure optical sorter that targets fiber or plastic film.

GreenWaste, a privately owned recycling and waste diversion company specializes in collecting and processing residential and commercial waste, yard trimmings, curbside recyclables, food waste and construction and demolition (C&D) debris.

GreenWaste CEO Frank Weigel describes the MRF as “one of the most innovative processing facilities in the world.” He says it is capable of sorting and recovering 98 percent of recyclable materials and 75 percent of trash for a total facility diversion rate of 88 percent for household and commercial waste.

“For more than a decade, our exceptional team has pushed our existing equipment to operate beyond its designed throughput rates,” Weigel says. “Adding capacity and new NRT and Max technology will really boost our performance. The new technology is exciting for our team and our stakeholders; we’ll be able to increase our diversion rates while adding the necessary capacity to accept more material.”

“GreenWaste has been an exceptional partner to BHS throughout the years,” says BHS Max-AI Managing Director Rich Reardon. “From their expert maintenance and operations staff to their forward-thinking executive team, the organization has and continues to write the book of industry best practices.”

Reardon adds, “In 2008, GreenWaste was the first MRF in the country to embrace modern mixed waste processing. Today they are on the leading edge of autonomous sorting.

Diversified Plastics opens manufacturing facility in Georgia

Rotational molding manufacturer Diversified Plastics Inc. (DPI), Latta, South Carolina, has opened a second manufacturing location in Union Point, Georgia, where it manufactures its rotational molding product line and custom rotomolding products.

DPI produces 2-, 4-, 6- and 8-yard waste and recycling plastic containers, material handling plastic carts, industrial plastic poly drums and custom rotomolding products.

The 35,000-square-foot plant in Georgia currently houses two rotomolding ovens from Brazil-based Rotoline, and the company says it plans to add more machines in the future. DPI says the new facility also has a large outdoor storage area.

Since 1976, DPI has manufactured custom and standard material handling carts and plastic storage containers. Its waste and recycling plastic containers are used in restaurants, sports venues and stadiums, apartment and condominium complexes and corporate offices.

DPI also manufactures bulk material handling carts, plastic utility carts, bulk containers, tote boxes, round containers, spring platform trucks and tilt trucks.