Waste handlers Evolve to Meet Application Demands and Management Goals of Waste & Recycling Operations
Better waste handlers overall
Technological advancements in today’s waste handlers include electronics; fuel systems and emissions controls; hydraulics; drivelines; operator cabs and controls; and telematics that allows for better asset management and a more holistic understanding of how these machines are used.
Electronics technology has progressed exponentially. A waste handler operator now has more control over the power (and fuel) the machine uses to get the job done. Thanks to electronics, an operator can select a mode that matches the work of the engine and related components to the task at hand. In doing so, the machine delivers only as much power as needed to conserve fuel. The operator simply chooses the mode of operation that suits the job the machine is expected to perform and the electronics ensure the machine behaves accordingly. An economy power mode, for example, is used when the waste handler is performing light-duty work. Maximum power mode, conversely, lets the engine know to deliver full power in order to handle heavy-duty lifting and other tasks. The end result is the proper balance between maximum productivity and fuel efficiency.
Modern waste handlers are also built with a variety of electronic modules to control various functions throughout the machine. Computer Area Network (or CAN bus) technology connects the modules and facilitates communication so they can work together efficiently and effectively. With a CAN bus, for example, the engine and the transmission are in sync at all times versus working as independent systems. As such, the transmission, related drivetrain components and engine work harmoniously and efficiently to match the demands of a given mode or application.
Electronics are also responsible for many other improved functions and cost savings associated with waste handlers. Operators can adjust idle speed to match conditions. Also common are systems that automatically protect the machine when the system recognizes critical problems with hydraulics, the engine or transmission.
In addition to getting more control and using less fuel, many users of newer waste handlers have experienced better overall engine performance. The change is due in part to the proliferation of engines that use High Pressure Common Rail (HPCR) fuel systems.
HPCR is a technique that delivers the precise amount of pressurized fuel to injectors at the precise time. To do so, it uses an advanced engine management system and electronic controls to allow for accurate metering and fuel delivery to the injectors. HPCR also uses a common rail to distribute fuel under constant pressure and feed it to the injectors. By contrast, the fuel injection system on previous waste handlers is mechanically-controlled. The mechanical systems did not allow for time and multiple injections. Multiple injections promote efficiency, and reduce noise and vibration.
Given that fuel delivery and injection timing is more precise, an HPCR engine burns fuel more completely. As it does, it captures the maximum amount of energy from injected fuel for better performance. Additionally, it uses less fuel. Complete burning also means the engine typically runs cleaner than a mechanically-operated injection system. HPCR technology also results in an engine that runs more quietly and with noticeably less vibration.
Much of the advancements in HPCR technology are due to a combination of intelligent design and engineering, along with ability to manufacture components to affordably deliver on the concept.
SCR meets emissions standards and more
SCR is a practical emissions control technology for waste handlers because it is an after-treatment system that lets the engine do what it is designed to do: generate power at varied engine loads as is common in waste and recycling operations.
SCR does not rely on a diesel particulate filter to meet Tier 4 interim regulations. Diesel particulate filters must regenerate in order to maintain proper function. Regeneration occurs in phases and often involves high exhaust temperatures.
Scrap and waste applications may include combustible materials. With SCR, exhaust temperatures will not create a safety issue.
SCR also does not affect the engine’s combustion process, unlike CEGR that recirculates exhaust gas back into the engine. Fresh air used to develop power is replaced with an inert, unusable gas that robs the engine of power. CEGR-equipped engines inherently use more fuel and have to offset this inefficiency with additional engine components.
Load-sensing hydraulics equate to efficiencies
The ability to monitor and adjust system pressure, flow and load results in significant benefits. A key advantage is fuel efficiency since only the power needed – and no more – is used to drive a variable-piston pump to match the load. More efficient use of horsepower also results in less heat being generated.
Drivetrains match demands of application
Tire choices include pneumatic and non-pneumatic designs. Solid, non-pneumatic tires are perfect for work environments where puncture is likely.
Some waste handlers also use hydraulically locking front differentials to help reduce tire wear when working on hard surfaces. Limited slip differentials on front and back axles also improve traction, which is often essential in waste and recycling applications.
Transmissions have also evolved. Electronics interface with the engine for efficient operation, and lock up torque converters eliminate slippage and improve acceleration.
There have also been significant advances in buckets and attachments. Specialized buckets have been designed for this work environment, including buckets with high spill guards and rubber cutting edges.
Much improved operator environments
Telematics help in decision-making
Telematics allows users to monitor the location, movements, status and health of the machine or a fleet of equipment. It communicates critical machine data via a Global Positioning System (GPS) to a web-based software program.
The list of benefits of telematics is long. Advantages include the simplification of storing, organizing and reporting key information; monitoring Tier 4-related data, such as DEF fluid levels; scheduling routine maintenance; preventing failures before they occur; tracking the habits of operators to identify areas for improved efficiencies; and increased security.
Coming out ahead
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