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ScanBelt and SDU in cooperation against waste on the beaches


In fall 2019, we were contacted by a group of engineering students from the University of Southern Denmark, to hear if we could be interested in supporting their project. We saw it as an exciting task and a good opportunity to help the students and likewise to help the sociaty.

The project was an interdisciplinary project, across different engineering lines, all in the 5th semester. The task was to develop a solution for automatically cleaning of the sand on the beaches.

In order to ensure real value for potential users, Sønderborg municipality was contacted to look into what problems they had regarding cleaning the beaches.

Engineering student Esben Jönsson says:
”We were told that it was a huge challenge to remove small waste from the beaches, such as capsules, ice sticks and cigarette butts, as it is often covered in sand and difficult to find.
In addition, it was a problem if they shoveled up a layer of sand, there were also stones in between, which had to be paid extra to get rid of.”

Therefore, the students started developing a solution that shovels the sand up, separates sand and waste via a so-called grain auger, which at the same time transports the waste up. Afterwards it falls down in front of two blowers, that blows the waste into a tray, while the stones fall directly back down to the beach again.

The solution called ”Beachbuddy”, should be able to run autonomously around the beach and collect waste in the evening- and nighttime.

They started making a prototype and decided to run it on caterpillar feet, like a tanker, to ensure that it could get around on the beach.

Esben Jönsson goes on:
“The available budget was limited, so it was not possible to buy caterpillar feet. Therefore we had to be creative. Here ScanBelt came to our rescue with their belts. They created great value for us as an element of our prototype, as we could easily adjust the length of the belts, unlike if we had a belt of fixed length. In addition, they were relatively light, and at the same time very robust. However, we could not use them to drive in sand, but as proof of concept they were absolutely ideal."

The project was completed in January, where the students had to defend it at an exam. Afterwards the prototype was exhibited at the annual TEK Expo, where it received considerable attention.


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