IT in Manufacturing


Reducing plastic waste in the oceans

January 2024 IT in Manufacturing

Siemens Digital Industries Software has announced that Plastic Fischer, a social enterprise that works to reduce plastic waste in rivers so it does not pollute our oceans, has adopted solutions from the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio of industry software. This will help scale its operations and bring the benefits of digital transformation to its product development and lifecycle management.

Founded in 2019 by three friends, after witnessing the plastic pollution in the Mekong River in Vietnam, Plastic Fischer is now internationally recognised and is expanding its operations in India and Indonesia. Its innovative technology, the TrashBoom, comprises a locally built, low-tech and low-cost modular, floating barrier that stops plastic already present in rivers rom entering the ocean.

Once collected, river plastic is brought to Plastic Fischer’s material recovery facilities, where it is separated into recyclable and non-recyclable materials. Recyclable materials such as glass, aluminum, PET and HDPE are sold and reintroduced into the supply chain, while non-recyclable materials are brought to certified, co-processing plants where the plastic is incinerated, and supplements the use of coal. Using this type of material as an energy source is in line with international best practices.

To bring greater reliability, and to support its growing remote team, Plastic Fischer has adopted Siemens Solid Edge software, and takes advantage of the Teamcenter Share app for distributed data sharing to foster more efficient collaboration. Its previous computer-aided design tools had limited assembly and drawing features, but Solid Edge enables the team to customise existing designs and develop innovative solutions for the problems it encounters in the field. These solutions enable the globally-distributed team to work on the same projects simultaneously, and to have better coordination during design changes that are required to meet local capabilities and capacities.

Plastic Fischer not only develops and deploys the technology, it also creates local jobs to carry out the end-to-end operations. The company has stopped more than 800 tons of plastic in rivers, preventing it from breaking down into microplastic that would otherwise end up in our oceans. Alongside this vital work, the company creates many full-time jobs for underserved communities across its operations in India and Indonesia.

“Our mission is to develop simple technologies to stop ocean plastic effectively and efficiently when it is already in rivers. Our TrashBoom systems can be built in the location of intended operation by local people. Avoiding imports allows us to implement fast, and save time, money and carbon,” said Aviel Itzhak, chief technology officer at Plastic Fischer. “The combination of Solid Edge and cloud-based collaboration enabled with Teamcenter Share will provide us with the engineering capabilities, scalability and collaborative environment that we need to move our operations into the next stage of development. It will fuel our expansion to bring affordable, sustainable technologies to remove plastic from our planet’s rivers.”

Karsten Hirsch, CEO and co-founder of Plastic Fischer said: “We are proud to have a strong, strategic partner like Siemens on our side to help us scale our impact. Having the professional tools in our hands to design technology is an important foundation to carry out our operations. The next step is implementing our technology in polluted water bodies across the world, and we are looking for sponsors that allow us to do this.”

“We are thrilled to see how Plastic Fischer is taking advantage of the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio to design and engineer the next generation of its innovative technology. This will support the company’s global collaboration with its geographically-dispersed teams to manufacture its TrashBoom system using local resources,” said Eryn Devola, head of Sustainability for Siemens Digital Industries. “It’s another great example of how our technology is helping pioneers fight climate change issues. We are proud of the work that our customers are doing to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”

For more information visit Siemens South Africa, jennifer.naidoo@siemens.com, www.siemens.co.za


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