Cutting out waste in waste management applications


Profitability in waste management means controlling operational costs of human, land and mechanical resources. This holds true for collection and hauling as well as landfill planning and management.

From operator skills to maintenance schemes and fuel efficiency, choosing the right machines helps companies to realize substantial savings in every area. The total owning and operating costs in waste-handling applications can be significantly impacted by fuel costs. Fuel economy can make a difference in operating costs at the end of the year. It is not uncommon for fuel costs to represent 30% to 40% of the total owning and operating costs of a wheel loader or of a material handler working in waste-handling applications.

Operator Influence

Just as a skilled motorist can travel further on less fuel than an average driver, a skilled machine operator can impact fuel consumption and the operating costs of a waste treatment plant. That’s why popular machinery, vehicles, and equipment supplier Caterpillar and the Cat dealer network developed the Eco-Drive operator training program designed to highlight best practice operating techniques that influence and contribute to a more fuel efficient machine operation. In addition, fleet managers can remotely monitor and review machine and operator performance. This way, training can be targeted at operator needs and the appropriate equipment needed to optimize fuel consumption and usage can be identified. Caterpillar fits its machines with the trademarked Product Link system – a remote telemetric system that gathers machine data such as fuel consumption, machine use, and component condition. The data is sent via satellite or a proprietary web-based interface (GSM) to fleet managers who can make timely, cost-effective, and informed decisions that have a positive effect on the operation’s bottom line.

The Right machine

Using the right machine for the application is a key element to drive lower costs per ton. For example, if a waste machine is loading trucks with a 4 m height, a 2.55 m width, and a 12.5 m length, at about 0.2 kg per cubic meter, the density of the material is not an issue, but maximizing the volume of each truck load is, if transport costs are to be minimized. So, what is the optimal set-up? Here are three options.

Option A) 20.5-ton

Material Handler
Versatile for working at various heights, a machine like the M318D MH is quite fuel efficient in many applications. However the grapple is not ideal for a big loading production.

Option B) 20-ton

Wheel Loader
A large wheel loader with a high lift arm is needed to reach the four-meter height with enough clearance to optimize capacity. It has better loading capacity than an excavator or material handler and more suited for loading production.

Option C) 16-ton

Wheel Loader
In this case, a loading deck should be used to lower the dump height. A smaller wheel loader, with the same size loading tool, becomes more efficient. The equipment cost is less, the cycle times are improved, and the fuel consumption is naturally lower. The time saved is estimated at about 11 minutes per truck and, if, say, five trucks per day are used, this represents nearly an hour of saved time per day.

Choosing Tires

Selecting the right type of tyres for the application is essential. Pneumatic tyres are suited to longer travel cycles. They offer handling and operator comfort but can cut or puncture – increasing downtime as well as maintenance and repair costs. Foam-filled pneumatic tyres decrease the risk of punctures, but reduce handling and operator comfort. Plus, they can cost about $1 128 more per tyre. Solid tyres, though more costly initially, are often the optimal choice. In the past, solid pneumatic tyres made the ride hard for operators and rough on the machine frames and axles. Cat’s Flexport tyres are an excellent solution. These solid tyres are engineered with holes for flexibility and cushioning to give a better ride and stability. After more than 10 000 hours of operation, a cost per hour analysis has showed a reduced cost of $3.29 per hour, compared to heavy duty, foam-filled pneumatic L5 tyres, and a $6.67 saving over heavy-duty pneumatic L5 tyres. That’s a total saving of $32 938 and $67 000, respectively, over 5 years or 10 000 hours.

Cab Filtration

As bad as what is on the ground, what’s in the air – such as dust, or even sometimes asbestos – can be equally hazardous.

Airborne dust and dirt make pressurizing and filtering cabin air crucial. We can compare the effectiveness – and the impact on operational costs – of two popular solutions. Standard PFP (pre-cleaner, filtration, and pressurized) systems normally rely on air passing through multiple layers of filters to remove particulate matter. In the case of Cat equipment, however, the cyclonic pre-cleaning system uses centrifugal airflow to eject 90% to 95% of airborne particles before they reach the filtration stage and only one filter is required where, previously, three were needed, and the useful life of that single filter is much longer. An analysis made over 10 000 hours (or about five years of real-world of operation), has indicated that the use of a Cat pre-cyclonic cab filtration system saves about $20 305 compared with a conventional PFP filtration system.

The Bottom Line

Every waste management operation has its own unique set of challenges and waste management applications can vary. There is no single, standard ‘most productive’ or ‘most economical’ solution.

Depending on the operation, using the right equipment for each application, providing operator training, and focusing on the right attachment will lower fuel and overall operating costs as much as the purchase price of the machine.

Cat® Inspect:
Get The Picture. And the Notes.

Tired of the Paper Chase? Download Cat Inspect.

Learn More

836K Landfill compactor