The Bigbelly waste and recycling units needed an efficient cellular and GPS signal in order to communicate when each can was full so Bigbelly’s customers could plan an optimized collection route and thus maximize their profits. The initial system employing the Taoglas FXP14 was extremely effective, but in late 2009, Bigbelly realized it was time to consider a new design. According to Menice, “Because of the possibility of vandalism or accident (being struck by a car), we had to design a more robust system with added stability.”
This is where the Taoglas PA.25A Anam came in, explained O’Shea. “It’s an SMD antenna so it’s directly soldered on the main board.” Collaborating with Taoglas, the new design incorporated the PA.25A into the design of the updated board. The PA.25A delivers efficiency of over 51% on all bands including 850, 900, 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2100 Mhz for GSM, CDMA, DCS, PCS, WCDMA, UMTS, HSDPA, GPRS and EDGE.
“This new antenna called Anam — which means ‘soul’ — is the heart and soul of our antenna line,” said O’Shea. “It’s our best-selling and best-performing embedded cellular antenna.
It is the result of years of intensive research and development into high-grade ceramic formulas and is a significant achievement in getting all the lower cellular bands designed into one small form factor. Its efficiency of more than 51% on all bands is unheard of in the market. Moreover, it is extremely robust and durable for use in extreme environments such as the automotive industry. It can be integrated off the shelf without the need for customization.”
“The PA.25A is an internal SMD ceramic antenna that we use when more robustness is demanded. It is the highest-performing solution of all antenna types,” O’Shea continued. “It consists of a specially formulated dielectric ceramic. A trace is printed using high-grade silver ink, combining a spatial geometry of monopole-PIFA topologies and delivered in tape and reel.”
The PA.25A antenna can be mounted on any PCB using existing SMD processes.
GPS connectivity was also needed for this new generation so the SGP.25C SMD antenna was also incorporated into the new design directly, making the overall product more robust and reliable. “The SGP.25C is a surface mount solution also, which meets the environmental conditions required of the new design, with regards to their reliability vis-à-vis shock and vibration.” Dermot O’Shea explains ““the GPS functionality can be used for location of the solar trash compactors”.
These antennas were installed in the Bigbelly waste and recycling units and the solution was a perfect match. “We had a strong solution for our customers. Taoglas helped us navigate the approvals and are well versed in delivering connectivity to IoT/M2M devices,” noted Menice.
Looking toward the future
During the years of collaboration with Taoglas, Bigbelly has seen ongoing success as it has grown to a world leader in smart waste and recycling systems. The company now has solutions deployed in every state and more than 47 countries, and has won numerous awards. Giving its customers – municipalities, college campuses, corporate offices and retail locations, healthcare facilities – the ability to right-size waste and recycling management for each location helps shrink collection frequency by 70 to 80 percent in a fiscally responsible way, explained Menice.
According to Dolan, Bigbelly is in line with today’s mindset. “Customers love this smart waste and recycling system for its myriad benefits — beautifying public space with total containment and reduced litter overflows and pest eradication, operational efficiencies, including reduced collection frequency, cost reductions, and reallocation of people resources to more impactful projects, etc. It’s no wonder the company is such a success.”
An issue on the horizon is the inevitable march of technology. In 2016, certain main carriers will no longer service 2G networks, instead focusing on 3G and 4G.
The result is that while IoT/M2M devices in the market may work a little longer, most providers are moving toward incorporating technology that will function in 4G markets. Fortunately, the PA.25A works with 3G, and given the level of data transfer, it will serve Bigbelly’s needs well for many years.
“Nevertheless, we’re in the process of defining 4G MIMO solutions with Bigbelly,” explained Dolan.
In a market with constantly changing technology, the company can rely on Taoglas to help keep them abreast of 5G capabilities when they appear.
“We will continue to evaluate using Taoglas when it comes to adding new capabilities to our waste and recycling system. We are confident that they can provide a cost effective solution that also delivers high connectivity,” commented Menice.