FLIR Systems PathFindIR thermal imaging cameras have been installed at an organic waste treatment plant in Drachten, Netherlands to ensure safe working conditions for employees.
Based in the Netherlands, Orgaworld is an innovative and fast growing company focussing on organic waste treatment to produce final products such as energy, fuels and agricultural products.
Orgaworld operates five different plants in the Netherlands, all certified according to the latest and most advanced standards for quality, safety and environmental protection. One of the plants is located in Drachten, in the north of the Netherlands. A fully closed aerobic composting plant, the Drachten plant has a processing capacity of 70,000 tons annually.
Klaas Brinkman, site manager at Orgaworld Drachten explains that the Drachten plant turns organic waste into compost. Prior to this, the waste needs to ferment for a couple of weeks, which is done in a big hangar. During the fermentation process, the heat rises to more than 60ºC inside the waste piles. It is necessary for the inside of the waste to be exposed to this high temperature so that all harmful bacteria are killed. To ensure this, the waste needs to be turned at frequent intervals.
The fermentation process produces a lot of damp, which is reduced by recycling air inside the plant. However, during winter time, the temperature contrast of the waste with the temperature of the environment is high, causing the visibility to reduce, especially in the morning.
Several wheel loaders are operated in the hangar to bring in the waste and turn around the piles regularly. They are also used to feed the grinders that turn the waste into compost at the end of the fermentation process.
Since the experienced wheel loader operators know how to handle the difficult conditions in the hangar, the plant has never had any accidents. Having prioritised safe working conditions for employees, Orgaworld continues to invest in any equipment that can make these working conditions even safer.
In addition to the air circulation equipment, Orgaworld has installed FLIR Systems PathFindIR thermal imaging cameras to improve visibility in the hangar as well as ensure the waste is being turned completely.
GrootJebbink Mobile Safety Technology, a distributor of the FLIR Systems PathFindIR in the Netherlands introduced Orgaworld to FLIR’s thermal imaging technology. GrootJebbink specialises in vehicle safety technology, mobile weighing and fleet management.
Eric Grootjebbink, General Manager of GrootJebbink explains that installing a FLIR Systems PathFindIR is a fairly easy job as it simply needs to be connected to the battery of the vehicle and to a standard LCD display that accepts composite video.
The PathFindIR was connected to the same LCD that was already being used for the reversing camera of the wheel loader. When the loader is put in reverse, the image of the reversing camera is automatically displayed on the LCD screen. When the loader moves forward, the thermal image of the PathFindIR is displayed, allowing the driver to look out for obstacles in his way as well as ensure the waste is being turned on all sides.
The PathFindIR was installed on a small mast next to the driver’s cabin to ensure maximum field of view for the operator as well as the camera.
The first PathFindIR was installed as a test to check and confirm its effectiveness in ensuring a safer and more efficient workplace. Satisfied with its operation, Orgaworld is planning to increase the number of PathFindIR thermal imaging cameras not only at the Drachten plant but also at the other locations.
According to Klaas, the PathFindIR thermal imaging cameras are a small investment that helps Orgaworld do a better job as well as contribute to their safety policy.
PathFindIR thermal imaging cameras are available in Australia from FLIR Systems Australia