Industrial Wash Centers for Pooling Products


On behalf of pooling service providers, such as IFCO Systems GmbH, Eckelmann developed an automated solution for the digital recording and counting of reusable containers (RCD S+). Since 2010, more than 20 of these systems have been in use across Europe for pooling service providers in various wash depots.

The Client

IFCO SYSTEMS GmbH is one of the leading providers of reusable packaging containers (RPCs) for the food industry. The services include every aspect of managing RPC deposit containers, from delivering clean containers to agricultural producers to collecting them at retail. The RPCs are cleaned in IFCO’s own facilities or by IFCO partners, such as ETERNITY-SYSTEMS, repaired or sorted if necessary, and disinfected for reuse.

IFCO has a network of local branches and over 1,250 employees worldwide.

Performance by Eckelmann

The automated solution for the digital recording and counting of RPCs was developed and continuously optimized in Wiesbaden. The RCD S+ is based on a system that was first used by a pooling company in the 2010s.

Machine / Application

There are many applications for reusable containers: They are used to gently transport food such as fruits, vegetables, bread, or meat, but also automotive components between the automotive supply industry and final assembly, or medications for pharmacies.

Eckelmann supplies pairs of columns for automated mass recording and counting of RPCs, KLTs and other stacked container or packaging units.

Upon arrival, stacked reusable containers are fed to the RCD S+ either manually or via conveyor technology. They are identified, recorded, counted, and the results are provided to the wash depot for its billing with its customer. The system also recognizes unknown or unexpected foreign containers.

RPCs in circulation
370 Million
cleaned RPCs
1000000 daily
process-safe counting and recording
6-8 Seconds
europe-wide over
20 Systems

Eckelmann supplies pairs of columns for automated mass recording and counting of RPCs in returnable deposit systems: they also identify the RPCs — defective and foreign containers are sorted out.

Special Features

  • The RCD S+ serves the automated bulk recording of pallets with stackable containers of various designs, such as folding crates or reusable boxes. The recording system can be used at the goods receipt or dispatch.
  • The size of the system was designed to fit common truck gate widths in logistics depots. It is the most space-saving counting gate on the market.
  • Eckelmann’s image recognition system communicates with higher-level systems such as ERPs or document management systems.
  • Documentation and traceability: tracking & tracing of containers and paperless processing.

“The Eckelmann devices are very reliable, easy to use, and the employees can handle them perfectly. The operational process has become more process-safe, throughput is higher and smoother.”

Malte Koch, Operations Manager ETERNITY SYSTEMS

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