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Zemic loadcells used for weighing in Emergency Toilet

Today, 4.5 billion people live without a safe toilet and 892 million people still practise open defecation. To improve this situation, IHE Delft is working on new technologies in faecal sludge management, and keeps working closely together with partners around the world to expand its sanitation education.

IHE Delft Institute for Water Education is the largest international graduate water education facility in the world. IHE Delft has developed the emergency Sanitation Operation System (eSOS) toilet, which is a sustainable, holistic and affordable sanitation solution to be utilized during the aftermath of a disaster. The toilet will improve the quality of life for people in need during emergency situations - from natural to anthropological disasters - and minimizes the threat to public health of the most vulnerable members of society. This project has been made possible by Flex Design (a design consultancy) and IHE Delft.

Weighing can lead to many useful insights, also in this case. The developers want to make use of weighing in the Toilet. Therefore they contacted Zemic. Zemic was excited to help IHE Delft in this innovative project, by advising on weighing.

Zemic Europe & IHE Delft

  • Improve the quality of lives of those in need
  • Minimize the threat to the public health
  • Innovation in faecal sludge management
  • Compact load cell design with tailor made accessory
  • Advice on the most suitable weighing solution
Load cell in toilet

How Zemic Europe consulted IHE Delft

With the support of Flex Design, IHE Delft has developed the emergency Sanitation Operation System (eSOS) toilet. eSOS offers disaster areas sanitary facilities with better hygiene, a reduced risk of disease outbreaks and lower operational costs. They also looked for added value of the system, also to find financing for further development. The weighing of the urine and faecal matter also contributed to realizing that added value.

Therefore the researchers of Flex Design searched for a partner who could help with the selection of the most suitable load cell for this application. Zemic has a wide program of load cells and accessories and a large engineering department with the ability to design custom made products. Zemic could advise on the best fit load cell and has also designed a custom made force introduction accessory. With these components from Zemic a toilet system has been developed in which accurate weighing is used.

The emergency Sanitation Operation System (eSOS) toilet

The eSOS reinvents emergency toilet and treatment facilities, and uses ICT to bring cost savings to the entire sanitation management chain. These toilets are easily deployable in disaster areas because of their robust and light-weight specifications. Some unique features include remote-sensing monitoring, an energy supply unit, a GSM/ GPS sensor/card, occupancy sensors, a urine/faeces accumulation sensor, an S.O.S. button and a communication system transmitting data to an emergency coordination centre.

The core of eSOS is formed by toilets that collect data about toilet users via separate urine and faecal flows. This information is analysed and made accessible through a web-based application. The information and the insights obtained are first of all used to make the disposal and processing of waste streams more efficient. Storage tanks can be emptied just-in-time, which means that the number of transport movements and the amount of labour can be considerably reduced. An important advantage is also that crowded tanks and the associated hygiene problems are much easier to manage. The conversion of waste into energy, water and fertilizers in the central processing units can also be better managed.

The information is also used to gain insight into the average health status of users. Does the average body weight increase or decrease and how does it relate to the size of waste flows? It is being investigated whether useful conclusions can be drawn from this, for example for the supply of food and fresh drinking water. The costs associated with food waste on the one hand and the consequences of malnutrition on the other hand may also be better controlled.

Field testing of the eSOS toilet took place in refugees camps in The Philippines and in Nairobi. Field testing is made possible by funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


Emergency Toilet

Zemic ring torsion load cell

Zemic offers stainless steel low profile ring torsion loadcells; the BM24R family. In this application a BM24R is used. This load cell is available in the range from 60kg-60t and is OIML approved, water resistant and is suitable when a high degree of accuracy is required. The load cell is hermetically sealed (IP68) which makes it suitable for use in the Emergency Toilet. For this Emergency Toilet 3 BM24R loadcells, with an individual capacity of 250kg, are installed, each load cell is placed under a separate tank (for water, urine and faecal matter). These loadcells have an integrated static overload protection. The loadcells are used in combination with force introduction accessories, which are tailor-made for this project by Zemic.

Ring torsion load cells       


BM24R ring torsion load cell  

Faecal Sludge Laboratory 

In 2018 the new Faecal Sludge Laboratory in Delft at the IHE Institute
for Water Education was opened. This laboratory is the first of its kind outside
Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia and makes it possible for students and professionals all over the world to learn and investigate human excreta.

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation they have built this advanced Laboratory and developed high tech solutions including weighing options to improve the research and health quality in third world countries.

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