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  • Dear Readers!

    Once again the world’s largest trade fair for the water, sewage, waste and raw materials sectors has opened its gates in Munich. As in previous years, hundreds of thousands of specialists from all around the globe are expected to attend the exhibition centre in the capital city of Bavaria this year. And once again, focus will be put on modern environmental technologies which aim to increase global recycling rates and make our planet more sustainable – and rightly so. We at REMONDIS love recycling and are doing everything that is economically viable and technologically possible to promote sustainability. However, no matter what recycling efforts are made, there is still that undeniable truth which people often prefer to ignore: at the end, there are always some materials left over. Each time residual and hazardous waste is thermally treated, it generates slag; each time a road is dug up or a building demolished, it produces mineral waste and construction waste. And after all possible substances have been sent for materials or thermal recycling, the question remains ‘what to do with the residue that cannot be recycled?’ The subject of sending waste to landfill appeared to have been taken care of in Germany when the ‘TaSi’ (Technical Directive on the Recycling, Treatment and Disposal of Municipal Waste) came into force in 2005. We are, therefore, now rubbing our eyes in disbelief as it becomes clear that a lack of landfill space – a problem believed to be something of the distant past – is, slowly but surely, threatening to catch up with us again. The City of Kaiserslautern has understood what is happening and has entered into a public private partnership with REMONDIS’ subsidiary, REMEX, to build a new landfill that will be able to accept 400,000 tonnes of mineral waste each year. This, too, is something that must be done for the future of the country.

    Some years ago, Prof. Klaus Töpfer, former Federal Minister of the Environment, introduced the so-called ‘dual system’ to take the pressure off household waste landfills and to push forward the country’s recycling activities. The recycling bin (known as the yellow bin in Germany because of its yellow lid) enabled recyclable and residual waste to be collected separately from households and proved to be a success for many years. Indeed, this concept was exported to many other countries. This system is now in danger of collapsing as a result of its own loopholes. Projected volumes of correctly licensed sales packaging will fall this year to just 812,000 tonnes, a 26 percent drop compared to last year, whilst the amount of waste sales packaging actually collected will remain the same at around 2.2 million tonnes. The honest system operators are having to bear this financial ‘gap’ and no-one is able to say how long it can survive. In this issue of REMONDIS aktuell, we look more closely at the question of whether the recycling bin has a future or whether it has finally reached the end of the line.

    No matter what the future brings, waste and raw materials will still have to be transported from A to B. Looking at the growing shortage of qualified truck drivers in Germany, however, this may soon be more easily said than done. Fewer and fewer young people are choosing to join this profession which is so important for road logistics. REMONDIS has taken action to counteract this trend and is offering more apprenticeship jobs in this area. The job of a truck driver is so much better than its image. The apprenticeship course offers much more than simply learning to drive a truck – it also teaches all about vehicle technology, infrastructure, logistics and mobility.

    As always, I hope you enjoy reading this edition of REMONDIS aktuell.

    Ludger Rethmann 

Quick, efficient and safe cleaning work

  • REMONDIS’ subsidiary, Buchen, offers a highly specialised service for cleaning contaminated and clogged up bulk containers: its mobile silo cleaning service. The cleaning work is carried out using cutting-edge equipment and is fast, efficient and safe as the cleaning operatives do not need to climb into the container at any time. Whether it be coal, fertiliser, plaster, cement, cereal, animal feed, salt or clay: no matter what substance is kept in silos, at some stage or other it is going to adhere to the walls or form clumps. This not only results in a build up of debris but also slows the flow of material down and reduces the space available for storage – a classic case for Buchen‘s mobile silo cleaning team.

  • Buchen is one of the first businesses in its industry to have been awarded the quality seal for industrial facility services by the quality assurance organisation

Modular equipment

Besides needing to have the relevant experience and know-how, silo cleaning work also requires highly specialist equipment. It is precisely for this reason that Buchen employs special cleaning systems that create a number of advantages. No matter which appliance the team uses, they never have to actually climb into the containers making the task much safer for them. Indeed, this aspect of their work is an important argument in their favour for customers operating in, for example, the food processing industry as such businesses are subject to stringent hygiene regulations. 

Their work processes are also ideal for the chemicals industry as Buchen’s gear is both anti-static and spark-proof and so meets the industry’s very strict safety standards. The company uses a modular system for its cleaning work. The various appliances, therefore, can be installed quickly, can be adapted perfectly to the conditions on site and only require a 380 volt power supply. All types of deposits are easily removed with this equipment – and in silos up to 45 metres deep.

Cleaning silos with mobile modular systems

    • BinWhip® system
      With this silo cleaning system, the hydraulically powered whips attached to a high strength, multi-part telescopic arm gently remove the deposits from the container


    • BinDrill® system
      The BinDrill® system can help if a bridge of material has formed inside the silo or the silo discharge section has become clogged up


    • Cardox® system
      The Cardox® silo cleaning system breaks up clogged-up material in bulk containers by suddenly releasing liquid carbon dioxide


High performance systems

The actual choice of system depends on the requirements of each individual project. In many cases, the team employs the BinWhip® system – a portable hydraulic device that is powered by an industrial explosion-proof motor. The aluminium construction has a high strength, multi-part telescopic arm with a cleaning head attached to the end with flexible whips. This arm is inserted into the container via, for example, a hatch at the top of the silo from where the operative can precisely control the powerful device as it cleans the silo without damaging its wallsOne particular advantage of this system is that it is fully hydraulic. 

The cleaning systems are fully hydraulic which creates a number of advantages.

This enables higher torque levels and greater levels of performance to be achieved than would be possible with a conventional compressed-air system. To be able to reach the same level of impact, compressed-air cleaning heads must be operated at much greater speed which makes it more difficult to control their movements. Moreover, the hydraulically powered cleaning heads can be rotated in a clockwise and anticlockwise direction and they create less dust in the interior of the silo. The BinWhip® system is often used in combination with the BinDrill® system – a drilling device powered by the same hydraulic unit. This appliance is used, for example, if a bridge of material has formed inside the silo or the silo discharge section has become clogged up. In such cases, the Buchen experts first drill a hole through the material and then insert the cleaning head with its flexible whips through the gap into the inside of the container.

3,000 bar to remove clumps

If tonnes of material need to be detached within milliseconds, then the Buchen team uses the Cardox® system. The compacted materials are broken up by a rapid release of liquid carbon dioxide. Here, the system uses high strength, reusable steel tubes filled with liquid CO2. The gas is activated by a small electric charge causing it to expand. It is then released via a discharge nozzle creating a powerful pushing force reaching pressures of up to 3,000 bar. If the container to be cleaned has permanently fitted tube sockets, then the compacted material can even be removed whilst production processes continue as normal. The Cardox® system is also able to be employed at high temperature, for example in waste incineration plants and furnaces.

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