Front view showing internal structure of the device
Isometric view showing internal structure of the device
Top View, Fire alert light and waste level indicator are visible
Internal mechanism: Archimedes' screw and pressing wieght
Motor and electronics bay
We were inspired by the need to increase the resourcefulness in the process of waste collection and transportation scenario in India therefore we came up with the idea of a smart dustbin compactor. Collection-cum-compaction systems can increasingly help save the logistics cost of the trucks required to transport the collected plastic and help the environment by saving fuel. The exiting process of garbage collection is extremely unorganized and inefficient. This is because in some areas the garbage cans get filled quicker than others so there are always problems of underflow and underflow of garbage. This makes it difficult to predict the current waste levels of the garbage can. There is also another problem of transportation in which a lot of garbage takes up way more volume than it should which reduces the effective amount of garbage that can be transported in a garbage truck. This means that it would take 2-3 trips of a garbage truck to collect an amount of waste that could be easily collected in one trip. This takes up more fuel time and energy. We wanted to create something that makes the unorganized and inefficient process of garbage collection lesser time-consuming and haphazard.
What CompactX Does
Disposable plastic bottles and containers take up a lot of volumes. There is a high potential of saving space if the air is removed. A normal PET bottle takes 20% of its original volume if the air is taken out of it. Here is where CompactX comes into play. It is an eco-friendly garbage collector and compactor bin integrated with a hydraulic mechanism that compresses plastic bottles and plastic containers and has the potential to compact paper, cardboard, domestic waste as well. With a compaction ratio of approximately 5:1, it reduces the plastic waste multi-fold. Integrated with IoT sensors, it indicates the waste level and notifies about any fire taking place, both on the device and remotely via an app as well. We can also install an alarm that alerts the bystanders as well. The compaction of waste is extremely helpful as the transportation of the waste becomes lesser cumbersome as not only does the waste become reduced and compact in size, it also increases the amount of waste a garbage collector truck can hold. This saves effort in time as well as fuel for the garbage collectors. The sensing of waste levels through IoT sensors could help the municipal workers to chart out an efficient route for garbage collection based on which garbage can is full and which isn’t. This process could save a lot of fuel and money as well and make the process streamlined. CompactX can also detect fires via sensors and upon such an eventuality it actuates the hydraulic arm to cut off the oxygen supply and put out the fire. Another safety feature of using the sensors is that during the compaction process, if an external entity like an animal tries to enter the bin through the opening or if a person tries to put waste, the IR sensor at the opening would sense it and the compaction process would stop. The fill level sensor would determine if any external living organism has entered the bin and would display it on the bin as well as send an alert to the phone.
How We Built It
- We broke down our work into two departments. One department worked on the mechanical solution of the problem and the other department worked on integrating the device with IoT.
- Concept generation included various ways in which waste could be compacted. We chose a hydraulic system. It has the potential to generate enough force to bale PET bottles and plastic containers.
- Various sketches were drawn to ensure that each component and sub-system in CompactX was placed in an optimum position to work.
- CAD modeling was done using SolidWorks.
Challenges We Faced
- A plastic-free economy will take time to come into place. A lot of thought went into coming up with a solution that can provide aid in this transition.
- Miniaturization of this concept into a product was a big challenge.
- Ensuring that it was a cost-effective solution in which the pros will heavily outweigh the cons was paramount.
- It was also necessary to ensure that the machine functioned in a simple way so that the people using it wouldn’t be harmed or confused in any way.
- Doing ideation from scratch, concept generation, concept design, and building it using necessary tools under 84 hours.
- Taking action to help our environment and making the process of garbage collection more efficient and streamlined.
What We Learnt
- First of all, we realized the importance of working in a team. The most ambitious of projects are possible with the division of labor and good communication.
- While carrying out the research for our product we realized that climate change is more rapid than we thought and quick actions are needed to curb it.
- Several concepts in STEM and how those can be used to shape the fate of our world. Make it a better place
- Importance of execution. Good ideas only reflect the solution of a problem if they are guided and carried out in a proper way.
# What's Next for CompactX
- Transforming this concept into a reality that can help municipality workers everywhere to ensure effective garbage collection.
- Making CompactX industry-ready and cost-effective so that it can quickly be installed in places that urgently need it.