Saubermacher | Energy & Enviroment

Efficient and eco-friendly waste logistics

Saubermacher, an innovative service provider in waste management, relies on digital route planning to carry out waste transportation in a cost-efficient and eco-friendly way. A customized, scalable software solution, which is already being successfully used in Carinthia, Styria and Lower Austria, was developed together with the Styrian start up SLOC and Know-Center.

In Austria about 4.3 million tons of waste are generated each year by households alone. An enormous logistical effort is required to dispose of this waste, to recycle and reuse it. The challenge in terms of planning lies in determining optimal routes, collection times and frequencies. Know-Center has developed a software solution based on metaheuristics to improve the planning of waste disposal.

„Data-driven methods enable us to develop ecologically and economically reasonable solutions in waste transportation. The digital route planning, which we initiated and utilized, has originated in cooperation with Know-Center and allows CO2 emission savings of up to 20 percent annually per ton of collected waste. The automated planning helps us to reduce the costs and to better plan our personnel resources“

Ralf Mittermayr, CEO at Saubermacher AG

Custom planning and saving

When programming the software, it was essential to reconcile and adapt various parameters to the specific challenges related to waste disposal. For example, the collection containers’ coordinates and the transport vehicles’ characteristics, such as weight, length and capacity, are recorded. In addition, certain marginal conditions, e.g., specified time windows of the collection points, for instance, in a pedestrian zone or if there is a hospital nearby, must be considered.

While containers used to be emptied according to a fixed schedule, they are now mostly equipped with sensors that report the actual, current fill levels. The software determines the time when a container must be emptied at the latest based on the time series of fill levels and suggests the optimal route, i.e., in which order full containers must be approached taking the shortest time possible. The service quality is improved since the containers are no longer overflowing and no trash is disposed next to them. Redundant routes, time and resources are saved.


Continuous further development

Feedback data from completed tours is used to create long-term forecasts and to continuously improve the service. Currently, the software for route planning of transport vehicles with trailers is being developed further. The goal is to strategically position the trailers depending on the traffic situation, time of day and fill level of the transport vehicle to reduce travel distances and travel time.

The project was funded within the framework of COMET – Competence Centers for Excellent Technologies by BMK, BMDW, Land Steiermark. The COMET program is managed by the FFG.