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22 okt 2020

Omrin lowers environmental impact with dynamic route optimisation

AMCS Intelligent Optimisation harnesses increased fill levels in underground containers and contributes to stress-free planning

Checking planning and adding any ad-hoc orders are the only things that planner Herwin van den Hengel of Omrin has to do every morning to make the daily planning final. During the night before, based on the fill level of the underground containers, the waste collection routes are automatically planned and optimised. As a result of this far-reaching digitisation, the planning department is now stress-free. Additionally, there are also fewer stops which lowered CO2 emissions contributing to Omrin’s sustainable goals. This is evident from a video presented by AMCS.

Omrin collects household waste in 18 municipalities in the Northern part of The Netherlands for about 207,000 households. Closing the loop and contributing to a circular economy is one of the most important pillars of the organization’s sustainable strategy. This vision has already paid off and made Omrin in 2019 the most sustainable company in the Netherlands.

And the quest continues. To constantly work on the sustainable and circular goals, Omrin dynamically plans and optimises waste collection routes with a state-of-the-art solution: intelligent optimisation which combines smart technologies and IoT (the Internet of Things). In-built sensors in the underground containers exchange the container’s fill level with the centralized ERP system which based on this information calculates the optimal routes to empty them. 

Omrin uses intelligent optimisation to empty around 450 underground, semi-underground and above-ground containers for residual waste, says Niek Westerhof, Operational Manager of Waste Collection and Cleaning, in the video. According to him, this dynamic way of planning is the answer to several challenges Omrin was facing: “for instance, the low fill levels of the containers and the unpredictability of the planning. Also, we needed to incorporate rather a huge expansion of our waste collection area into the existing planning.”

Fill level of containers rose from 60 to 80%

The video makes it clear that intelligent optimisation was the solution to tackle these challenges. “We started with an inventory of our assets”, says Natasja Vemmer, Busines Consultant at Omrin. “Frist of all we’ve checked to see if we had all the right coordinates of the containers, the number of valve movements, data about when a container is full and the type of waste. Important assumptions in this were to create stress-free planning and to keep manual operations to a minimum.”

With the innovative technology, Omrin switched from a semi-dynamic collection to a dynamic collection, Herwin van den Hengel, Planner at Omrin, explains. “That meant that from then on we only empty completely full containers. As a result, the number of daily pickups dropped thus leading to costs savings. The system through sensors automatically checks the fill level of the container and based on that plans and optimises the waste collection routes. In the morning this is ready for me to check and to additionally add ad-hoc orders after which I forward the routes to the in-cab device of the waste collection vehicles. This has led to a huge efficiency improvement since we now can empty extra containers without the need to deploy extra collection vehicles. With the AMCS solution, we also have much better predictive insights. For example, during the holidays, like Easter, we are able to predict much better how many vehicles we need to deploy to empty the containers in time.”

Stress-free planning

The route optimising solution significantly improved Omrin’s waste collecting operation. ‘For instance, the fill levels of containers collected are optimised from 60% to 80% and planners now can work in a stress-free environment”, says Niek Westerhof in the video. “Furthermore, also customer service greatly enhanced. We also reduced the number of stops and with that lowered mileage, CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. And also of great importance, we were able to include a whole new area, which is a huge expansion, into the dynamic planning process.”

Passion for closing recycling loops

Omrin is Frisian for ‘recycling loop’, which also indicates the company’s passion for closing recycling loops. It uses smart separation techniques and high-tech power plants for this purpose. One example is the green gas power plant in Heerenveen, supplying 10,000 households and 1 million cubic metres of green gas for the company’s own vehicles. More than 70 percent of the collected waste is made suitable for reuse - nationwide this figure is about 50 percent.