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Radio Frequency Container Identification Systems (RFID)

At present, it is a priority to incorporate RFID container identification systems in the tenders of public entities in charge of waste collection.

Urban services, including waste collection, require comprehensive control to improve service quality and task optimization. The improvement in the management of urban services is one of the priorities in public entities due to their high consumption of human and mechanical resources, the high cost they entail and their high level of involvement with the environment.

Among other requirements, public administrations and private service companies require systems to control whether containers have been collected, when and where. This information is essential to know the degree of compliance with the service for both public administration and private companies. Therefore, hundreds of public entities and service companies have been opting for more than 15 years to incorporate RFID container identification systems. These systems must be backed by technical development and innovation departments that can advance them with new functionalities and adaptations in order to always be at the forefront of technology while avoiding the dreaded obsolescence.

Distromel, due to its extensive experience in installing these systems and its R&D departments, implements RFID identification systems in all types of collection, waste and elevators. This system is composed of the following differentiated parts:

  • Transponder (tag): element that internally stores a code and is housed in the container or object to be identified. Recommended type of communication: FDX-B.
  • Reading antenna: placed in each specific application or tool, it is the one that is designed according to the distance and the reading conditions. For trucks with elevators, the reading antenna must be installed in the appropriate place of the collection vehicle, so that the tag reading occurs fully automatically during the container loading maneuver, not impeding at any time, or delaying said operation .
  • The reader module: fulfills the mission of interpreting the data read by the TAG’s reading antenna and sending it to the on-board electronics, to the handheld terminal or to any suitable terminal for it.
  • Associated electronics: stores and sends the data wirelessly (identification, location, weighing …).
  • Light warning system so that the operator can visualize when the element loaded at that time has been identified.
  • Lifting kit: A system that is capable of detecting the elevation even if the container does not have the TAG installed, generating an elevation record without TAG reading, and transferring that circumstance to the management software system. This functionality is obtained thanks to the installation of an inclinometer.
Tag installed in top-loading containers

When the reading antenna is installed in the waste collection elevators, the TAG reading occurs fully automatically during the elevator load maneuver without impeding at any time or delaying said operation. The system is also able to determine if the container does not have the TAG installed, moving that circumstance to the appropriate management system.

The Distromel identification system complies with the relevant and specific UNE EN regulations on how to identify waste containers and also guarantees that no mass identification of containers that have not been collected is made thanks to the use of low frequency RFID technology. In the case of door-to-door collection, RFID identification technology is Ultra High Frequency, UHF.

Operating principle

The reader and the transponder (hereinafter TAG) work as a magnetically coupled communications system without wires. The reader provides energy to the TAG by generating an electromagnetic field, the TAG receives this energy that transformed into electrical energy allows it to “wake up”. Then, it encodes the information and transmits the information stored in it so that it is captured by the antenna.

Reading antenna on side load collector

The antenna emits radio signals and has two purposes, on the one hand it provides the communication path between the TAG and the reader, and at the same time the energy necessary for the microcircuit integrated in the TAG itself to function. This is one of the keys to this technology, RFID devices do not need to contain batteries and can remain operational for a long time (even decades). The size and shape of the antenna that emits and receives the electromagnetic field is also very important, since it provides the means of communication with the TAG, and depending on the reading distance, the type of TAG and the reading conditions, you must Pay special attention to your design.

There is also the possibility that maintenance operators have handheld terminals that allow them to identify the urban elements on which they are performing maintenance and cleaning.

The Distromel identification system embarked on the collection vehicles ensures the shielding against manipulation of the reading data of the TAGS located in the containers, since it has the COMMON CRITERIA accreditation for the electronic RFID container identification system. In addition, vehicles with these systems incorporate the transmission of information in real time and communications of on-board or mobile equipment with the Control Center are automatic and secure. The system allows container inventory to be updated at all times and has the characteristic of communicating through CAN Bus-based communications protocols.

Container dentification technologies by RFID

Different technologies are available for RFID container identification:

  • Ultra High Frequency (UHF): 868 to 956 MHz
  • Low frequency (LF): 125 or 134.2 KHz
RFID container identification bracelet (UHF) and bucket with Tag to be identified in the port collection