The commonwealth of municipalities of Ribera Alta, in Navarre, and Ecoembes bet on 4.0 technology at the Peralta packaging sorting plant

Ecoembes and the commonwealth of municipalities of Ribera Alta, in Navarre, today signed, in the Navarre town of Peralta, an agreement aimed at implementing process control technology at the packaging treatment plant for this group of local municipalities.

Through its Plant 4.0 project, one of the most important projects led by Ecoembes’s innovation center for the circular economy, TheCircularLab aims to take strides towards industry 4.0, optimizing the processes of sorting and treating packaging for subsequent recycling, using sensors, RFID, the Internet of things (IoT) and other digital tools, which make it easier to control, monitor and manage the plants.

Present at the signing of the agreement were the Managing Director for the Environment of the Government of Navarre, Eva García, the president of the commonwealth of municipalities of Ribera Alta, Carlos de Miguel, and the manager of the consortium, Iñaki Urrizalki. And attending on behalf of Ecoembes was Rosa Trigo, the Technical and Innovation Director.

In his opening speech, the president of the Ribera Alta commonwealth, Carlos de Miguel, indicated that “when Ecoembes asked us to take part in this project, for us that was more an opportunity than an obligation, a chance to improve, to research and to turn this plant into a benchmark not only for Navarre, but for all of Spain“.

Rosa Trigo, the Technical and Innovation Director at Ecoembes, said “this partnership agreement highlights our desire to optimize recycling processes throughout Spain. Our main objective is to promote innovation to make it work for the environment”.

PLANT 4.0

Plant 4.0 has become one of the most relevant projects in the area of circular economy for Ecoembes. Led by TheCircularLab, the innovation center located in Logroño, it seeks to turn the Navarre plant into an example of digital transformation.

From the beginning, the researchers focused on developing the technologies needed to gather data on the daily activity in order to increase the quality and efficiency of the packaging treatment plants. This is achieved through the information that is collected on the sorting process, which is based on the logs for the number of stoppages the line had, the location of the reasons for breakdowns/jams, etc.

This data makes it possible to streamline the decision making and minimizes the number of stops and any possible problems that may come up during the process.

In addition to these improvements, further advances are planned in the future beyond tracking the availability of the line, such as:

  • The possibility of creating “recipes” that allow configuring some of the equipment, depending on the characteristics of the waste to be processed. These measures will be defined based on the collection route from which the waste originated, as well as on the humidity level, which depends on the weather.
  • Improving the traceability of the waste to find out where each material comes from, when it was made, etc.

The partnership agreement between Ecoembes and the Commonwealth is for one year and will be implemented in two phases. The first, which began in March 2018, focuses on the installation of the production management software (CAPTOR by SISTEPLANT), which is already in use at the plant, and the second, which will start in July 2018, will include the possibility of modifying the configuration of the bag-opener and the ballistic separator from the management software.

Ecoembes plans to extend this agreement in order to turn the plant into a pioneering innovation laboratory in Industry 4.0.

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