Project Description

A-Ward container unloader revolutionises safety and speed in the waste industry

When Sita-Suez built a brand new Waste to Energy plant in Wilton, UK, waste arrived via train in 20ft containers. A-Ward provided a customised automatic unloading system that moved and unloaded the waste from the train to the internal pit. This world-first rail mounted container unloading system removed all staff involvement from this area, providing the ultimate health and safety solution.


Sita-Suez challenged A-Ward to supply three complete automatic container unloading systems. These needed to take the 20ft containers loaded with waste from the train to the pit and unload them. The new systems had to measure and store full and empty container weights, have full factory integration and diagnostics via PLC control. Sita-Suez’s requirements included a complete cycle time of the A-Ward unloader of less than 164 seconds to meet its logistic costings.


A-Ward designed and built specialised 20ft Flat Top Frame container unloaders designed with an extra load cell mounted between the upper and lower base frames, running the lower frame directly on railway tracks. The configuration made a stable structure for certified scale weighing on the moving unloader. The complete operation of container loading, locking, movement, weighing, door unlatching, door opening, tipping including the empty weight check, plus extra container shake to remove stuck waste, is performed via automatic PLC control. A-Ward designed and supplied special position control and locking systems that guaranteed that the unloaders would be in set positions during loading, unloading and tipping.


The innovative solution by A-Ward, completely set up and working in automatic cycle smoothly, was a fantastic outcome. It completed the cycle in 128 seconds – 36 seconds faster than the required 164 seconds – surpassing Sita-Suez’s requirements.

Sita-Suez now has:

• A complete A-Ward designed solution that has revolutionised Sita-Suez productivity  

• Reduced health and safety concerns for staff  

• Reduced Sita-Suez shipping and local transport costs

• Reduced personnel

Click here to find out more about the A-Ward range of container loaders and unloaders.