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Fostering Innovation in converting Waste into Wealth

As a part of Capgemini CSR Tech4Positive Futures initiative, Capgemini Applied Innovation Exchange (AIE) Mumbai and Capgemini CSR became a co-innovation partner with academia IIT Madras to stimulate innovation to create a sustainable future and ecosystem. This co-innovation will leverage Robotics technology to improve and save the lives of manual scavengers by replacing human beings with robots.

The practice of manual scavenging is banned in India, but manual intervention is sometimes required to de-clog and clean septic tanks and sewer lines due to a lack of alternatives. With hardly any precautionary or safety equipment, many workers are at the risk of serious health hazards which often results in fatal casualties. Those involved in manual sorting (and other steps of waste management) are at risk because they have direct contact with waste.

The innovations in robotics are well-positioned to limit waste exposure and thus improve the health and quality of life of these workers. These innovations will also increase the rate and improve the quality of recovered waste that enters production processes as secondary raw materials.

About the project

Capgemini AIE and CSR teams partnered with IIT Madras to create a robotic intervention for sewer lines & septic tanks. In June 2020, Capgemini AIE Mumbai took part in the design, validation, and prototyping of the project. Our team created a sewer inspection and rehabilitation system to identify the following issues:

  • Launching/retrieving station to facilitate entry, release, and retrieval of the robot
  • Unclogging module to enable power rodding and hydro jetting to unblock sewers
  • A first-order ‘Quick Fix’ mechanism for swabbing and temporary rehabilitation of leaks or cracks in the pipe
  • Live video feed for visual inspection using a high-resolution camera
  • Detection and localization (GIS Mapping & Geo-tagging) of internal features and defects

Creation of SIRS Robot

A new SIRS robot to inspect and de-clog small diameter Sewer Lines. This robot is at higher TRL and was implemented in both Laboratory and field trials.

Launching mechanism for the SIRS robot

  • Sewer lines which are 2-7 meters deep underground are accessible only through manholes from the ground surface.
  • A launch and retrieval mechanism is developed which helps to lower the robot into the sewers and deploy it for its function
  • A four-bar linkage mechanism for controlled entry and launching positions of the SIRS has also been developed

We mentored the team on technical and product feature areas. We have developed a prototype in March 2021 whose testing is going on in different municipal corporations in India.

Our leaders shares their experience

As a part of the Innovation & Science @Bharat initiative, the Principle Scientific Advisor’s Office to the Government of India hosted a knowledge-sharing session – Innovation in Robotics to manage waste. The project leaders from Capgemini – Mangirish Herwadkar, Director, Applied Innovation Exchange Mumbai, and Dhanashree Page, Head of Operations, CSR, were invited to speak about this co-innovation.

Next up

The field trials for the intervention have been done and a marketable solution has been developed. The team is currently connecting with the Safai Karamchari Andolan and planning to connect with other NGOs and municipal bodies to take this solution to a larger population.

To know more about this engagement please reach out to:

Mangirish Herwadkar
Director AIE
Capgemini India

Anurag Pratap
VP & CSR Lead
Capgemini India

Dhanashree Page
Head Of CSR Operations
Capgemini India