How to imagine the treatment plant for hazardous waste "Simmeringer Haide"?
DI Stefan Fazekas (SF): The treatment plant for hazardous waste "Simmeringer Haide" is part of the company group Wien Energie – formerly Fernwärme Wien.
It is the largest thermal treatment plant for hazardous waste in Austria, such as commercial and industrial waste, for sewage sludge, but also for domestic waste to produce community heating and electrical power.
In contrast the waste incinerating plants (MVA) in Wien-Spittelau and Wien-Flötzersteig are exclusively designed for domestic waste. The waste incinerating plant Wien-Pfaffenau adjacent to the Simmeringer Haide – which is also operated by Wien Energie, but owned by WKU – is also working with domestic waste.
Wien Energie is operating all district heat production plants and power plants inside Vienna and is thus also the largest domestic waste combustor in Austria.
Why is waste – also hazardous waste – incinerated?
SF: There are 3 good reasons:
First, the energy content can be taken from waste by controlled incineration. Second: During incineration, the volume of the waste will be reduced to about 1/3.
The third – and probably most important reason is that its hazard to persons and environment is minimised by thermal treatment.
By means of incineration lots of different matters are reduced to a few. A part of the remnants can be eliminated by electrostatic precipitators or active coal filters, the remainder is gathered in the dross.
After the incineration process at about 1250°C the remaining dross is dumped in a water bath. Thus, the dross glazes and the remaining environmentally hazardous substances such as e.g. heavy metals are included in the glass. Then, this dross is prepared and can be used as walling material for waste disposal sites without endangering persons and the environment.
How high is the degree of efficiency at waste incineration?
SF: All waste incineration plants of the Wien Energie are R1 plants – thus they are thermal recycling plants – according to the European directive. At least 60% of the used energy (in form of waste) in fact also need to be gained as usable energy.
Beside most modern technique, this is mainly ensured by a very high quality standard: All plants are certified according to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 OHSAS 18001 and EMAS 3.
Which quantities of waste are handled?
SF: In the treatment plant for hazardous waste 120.000 t of commercial and industrial waste and substitute fuels such as waste oils as well as 200.000 t thickened sludge and about 100.000 t of domestic waste are thermally recycled. Adding the 3 waste incineration plants for domestic waste, this is about 1,120.000 t of waste.
This seems to be an enormous logistic effort.
SF: Yes, most deliveries are transported by lorry, a few by railway.
For all district heating plants this means about 15’000 delivery notes per month for all incoming and outgoing deliveries, whereby the sewage sludge is only settled up with one delivery note per month. For our plant in the Simmeringer Haide this means about 3’000 delivery notes per month.
How high is the degree of automation?
SF: A very high degree of automation, mainly at the site Pfaffenau: This plant is operated with 5 employees per shift – incl. crane operators for the bunker – this is quite few.
In the Simmeringer Haide we are working with 28 employees per shift, the plant is operated in 4 shifts. But also maintenance for all plants of Wien Energie is located in the Simmeringer Haide with about 100 employees.
In our central control room all processes of the treatment plant for hazardous waste as well as the processes of the waste incineration plant Pfaffenau are controlled.
Contrary to a classical waste incineration plant there are relatively many small additional secondary plants which are all important for the incineration in a treatment plant for hazardous waste. It mainly serves for waste treatment: a shredding machine, a plant for the drum processing, centrifuges for the sewage sludge, container tipping plants, and many more.
The great difference is also that we have 2 bunkers- one for the rotary kilns, one for the fluidized-bed furnace. All this requires a higher number of employees compared to pure waste incineration plants.
It is a fact that it is necessary to pay more attention when delivering hazardous waste: on one hand that no risk is generated for persons, but also that the plant is not damaged.
Nobody can control what was thrown into the garbage container, for this there are also especially trained chemists in our plant who are paying attention that the delivered garbage complies with the specifications. There is also a legal requirement that this inspection has to take place.
Are the individual plants interconnected?
SF: Each plant has its own central It station and can be operated independent from the other plants. However, the server is working in a virtual network and can make available server performance to one another.
The weighing system of the waste incineration plant Pfaffenau is incorporated into our system, this was one of the reasons why the waste incineration plant Pfaffenau was also equipped with VAS-II made by the Rudolf Berthold Ges.m.b.H.
Also the operation of the balance for the biogas plant which is also located at the premises of the waste incineration plant Pfaffenau as well as the balance for the waste logistics centre which was only commissioned in 2013, are integrated in the logistics system of the Simmeringer Haide.
Which precautions exist for data safety?
SF: All our factories are connected in a technical network by means of fibre optic lines. Also the redundancy is connected over this network i.e. we synchronize all delivery notes in all factories.
Also the data backup is running reciprocally among the factories. In this way, we are very well protected.
The company Berthold performs maintenance and support by means of remote maintenance – in which way is this access protected?
SF: The remote maintenance of the company Berthold is running over a separate, secured VPN tunnel, also the mobile phone application at the receiving control is running over a VPN connection.
How high is the availability of the logistics system in practice?
SF: We are quite content with the availability, we have a very high availability. Failures are very rare and if so, only parts are concerned. We never suffered a complete failure. And if the server should fail completely, its tasks are taken over by a server in another factory.
In all, I can say: we are very content with the support and maintenance of the company Berthold. It is always possible to contact a technician, response is quick and competent.
I.e. support is very important for you?
SF: A logistics system is always a living system. By the authorities, but also due to internal processes we again and again have the requirement that things need to be changed. Thus, support inquiries are received by the company Berthold.
There are constantly small changes, adaptations and extensions which are mostly immediately brought in via remote maintenance.
For example: Our objective is that all documents are saved digitally only from spring 2014 on. To do so, a scan module is retrofitted which allows us to scan all delivery notes, outgoing invoices and other documents and may assign them to a business case.
The objective is that all documents are saved digitally only.
How simple is implementation of new modules?
SF: The testing and teach-in of the new modules can be performed on a dedicated demo notebook with real data. Thus, possible problems may be identified and remedied in advance. The implementation of the module is quickly performed, also the employees accept the innovation more rapidly. A training with real data is absolutely important.
What are you expecting from a good logistics software beside support and flexibility?
SF: The layout of the programs and the user interface are also very important for us – and we have much improved in the past years in this field. Finally, no matter how great the software, if the user-interface does not fit, the whole system won’t fit. A good user-interface is the crucial criterion for good usability.
We also expect a good performance. The system even has to perform well, lots of lorries are at the factory at the same time.
This is what a user notices: Layout and performance. If it fits, the employees will love working with the system.
How can we imagine the logistics process in your factories?
SF: The major part of the materials is delivered by lorry. Even before the lorry arrives at the factory, the delivery is announced, the vehicle is logged in with the corresponding indications regarding the loaded waste.
Directly at the entry to the factory, first the radioactivity is measured at each entry lane. Only after passing this test the car drives on the balance and the weighing master assigns the vehicle to the advised business case.
In the other waste incineration plant this assignment as well as the weighing are performed fully automated, since delivery is performed transient between 9 and 10 a.m. and between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. I.e. there are 70-80 vehicles in the factory within 1 hour – for example factory Pfaffenau – as well as other container vehicles at the same time. Once, there were even 170 lorries within 1 hour.
Back to the Simmeringer Haide:
Then the vehicle is directed within the factory by the weighing master.
A pre-delivery check is performed using the mobile phone application, i.e. the vehicle is checked: Does the delivery comply with the announced disposition? If required, a sample is taken and evaluated in our own laboratory.
Barrels are directly unloaded and individually laminated; i.e. each barrel is individually entered and conveyed Also all barrels are opened and checked.
How do you proceed with the analysis of samples?
SF: We also have a laboratory module in our logistics system. Thus it is possible to store samples which had been taken at the pre-delivery check together with analysis in the system.
The result of the analysis can be a parameter for the price, but it may also be an important parameter, as we need to work up.
But it is also possible to use the laboratory module without a business case if e.g. a quotation is established before delivery. In this case the customer can bring a sample along. It happens frequently and such quotations are also directly edited in VAS-II. In this way, it is possible to use these data for the business case if the purchase order is being placed.
What happens after the pre-delivery check?
SF: Only after checking unloading of the material is released and then follows the exit (or return) weighing. After the cross-checking of the weighing master – if the entry control was also positive, the weighing master completes the business case.
In case of deliveries of the screenings from the sewage treatment plant, the material is delivered fully automated, i.e. the lorry is identified via an ID tag by means of microwave identification and the announced business case is assigned fully automated. Since these deliveries do not require any staff for checking, it can also be performed 24h a day by means of self-service loading and unloading.
Before the delivery note is completed, the clearing office controls all data such as dispatch notes which are required by the authorities in case of hazardous waste as well as deviation notifications, the release by the customer and many more Only then it is possible to complete the delivery note.
The accounting can be performed with the help of the delivery note where all data and documents are checked again in order to establish the invoicing.
I.e.: from the quotation up to the invoicing the whole process is processed in the logistics system?
SF: Yes, our business cases are covered by the VAS-II from the quotation up to the invoicing.
All this is performed using the logistics system VAS-II made by Rudolf Berthold Ges.m.b.H.
Then, the VAS-II also transfers the data to our SAP system, which forwards the business case in the accounting department. We are also using VAS-II for the automated matching of data or the data synchronisation with the weighing system of the city of Vienna.
And every 3 weeks, the VAS-II transfers the supply note notifications to the authority via an interface.
The VAS-II also provides a stock module, i.e. we know our stocked volumes, mainly regarding barrels and bulk materials. In total we manage our almost 100 stocks with the VAS-II. Now, this only applies for Simmering, since there is only the bunker as stock in the waste incineration plant.
Why don’t you process your logistics process in SAP, but completely by means of the logistics software made by company Berthold?
SF: Of course, there are some companies which handle such processes mainly in SAP and only the weighing is performed in a separate software. But it always depends on the case how individual the processes are.
Our processes are very individual and with the company Berthold we were able to upgrade the logistics system VAS-II to the current version. We are very content with it.
For waste management very stringent rules apply regarding recording obligations and notifications to the authorities – how do you ensure the recording compliant with the regulations of the authorities?
SF: It was one of the most important projects that our records are compliant with the authorities.
I have to tell you very honestly that there are not many systems which comply with this requirement. I know at least one system, which is relatively common, but which cannot fulfil this requirement at all.
It is necessary to notify the waste movements on a waste balance sheet, the so-called EDM report.
Of course, our objective was to have a logistics system for all our reporting obligations and not a system for each notification. There are also other vendors which have to implement this with several systems. Therefore, we are glad, that we have one system only, otherwise it would represent an enormous effort.
From our point of view it is working quite well. I think, the solution which we found with the company Berthold is a very good solution.
Which general requirements will waste management face in future?
SF: It can be foreseen that rapidly changed specifications may immediately become valid by the authorities. The plant operator as well as the manufacturer of the logistics control system have to response quickly in future.
Currently it is for instance discussed if the supply note should be carried along electronically. If this directive is implemented, it is necessary to response as rapidly and cost-efficiently as possible.
Which tasks are resulting hereof in practice for the logistics software?
SF: In any case, the individualisation of the logistics software will be required:
Formerly there was a standard software and the company had to adapt its processes to the options of the software. Companies have recognised long ago, that this was the wrong way. Today, the processes are optimized and the software has to be adapted to the circumstances, in particular for technical applications.
This is the important advantage of the company Berthold, which already opened towards this requirement long ago.
Do you intend to upgrade the VAS-II to the new logistics control system BLS?
SF: Yes, we would like to continue working with the company Berthold. We think that an upgrade to BLS will be highly beneficial.
At this we see an important advantage in the web compatibility. It is very important for us that the terminals are independent from the platform.
Since I process BLS via the browser, I am able to operate the system anywhere on any computer.
In any case, this is the correct step in the correct direction, this is modern and reasonable.
Using BLS we will become independent from the databases, a change-over to another database is thus possible.
For us, it is also important that BLS can be implemented as effortless as possible. The above mentioned option, to be able to test the system on a notebook with real data and to provide training will certainly help.