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Energy Cost Savings in Plastic Recycling Factory

Business Profile

This Plastics factory is one of the largest processors of plastic waste in Australia and New Zealand. With over 30 years in the industry it is a market leader and converts millions of kilograms of plastic waste into recycled materials every year. Some of the recycled products manufactured are underground cable covers, recycled resin and slip sheets for transportation of goods.

The Solution

IoT Engineer James McCarthy from Powertec did the initial site visit assessing the needs of the company and how Powertec could help with the best possible solution.

A RS232 Input Sensor was installed to monitor the weight of each bag being filled with recycled resin. This sensor sends data to the cloud management system (also available as an on-premise system) allowing the measurement of the bag weights, providing notification when they fill to the 1 tonne level and any overfilling of the bags.

The weigh sensor uses WiFi via an existing Robustel R2000 router, sending data to the cloud platform. This data is displayed on the dashboard per the client requirements and used for analysis.

With this system in place and utilizing data from the sensor, it has allowed them to clearly see:

– The energy consumption per 1 tonne bag
– If the bags were being overfilled, by how much
– If there were any stoppages along the factory line.

The next stage will be automation of the lid closing when bags are full, replacing what is currently a dangerous manual task.

Business Needs

When the plastic is recycled it is processed through a weigh machine that fills 1 tonne bags with recycled resin. The company wanted to measure the energy consumption per tonne, in an effort to reduce their power consumption.

They have a power consumption metre but had no way of measuring the cost per tonne.

Energy is a very costly but essential part of the processing procedure, so monitoring the consumption and finding ways to reduce this cost is important.

There was also a digital scale in place to show when the bag weight reached 1 tonne, however, the closing of the machine lid to stop filling the bag when it hits that level is a manual process done by an employee. This leaves room for error and the possible overfilling of the bags, which also leads to monetary losses.

Products Used

Cloud Platform and Management System – Designed to collect and collate the large amounts of data produced by IoE (Internet of Everything) devices and convert it to knowledge using data mining techniques.

Powertec IoT Modular Board/Chassis Connectivity Module – A unique device able to be retrofitted to existing kit to divert sensor data to the cloud platform.

Powertec IoT RS232 Input Sensor – Sends serial weight data over Wi-Fi to a cellular router for upload to the cloud platform.



The implementation of this solution has now saved this plastics factory thousands of dollars in the reduction of waste due to the over filling of bags. The  weights are now monitored accurately along with the energy consumption per bag via data collected and quantified within the cloud management system.

This system is being rolled out over 88 factories across Australia which will result in cost and energy consumption reduction for this manufacturing process.

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