Toll Collect project

Development and realization of 1500 terminals for indoor and outdoor toll collection

The end customer

Toll Collect has been operating the world’s first satellite-based toll system for trucks on highways in Germany on behalf of the German federal government since January 1, 2005.

The tender to set up and operate the system was won by a consortium of Deutsche Telekom, Daimler and Confiroute, which founded a joint company under the name “Toll Collect”. The company has been owned by the federal government since mid-2018.

The system

In April 2002, the law on the introduction of a distance-related charge for the use of federal highways by heavy goods vehicles came into force (in the meantime, the lower limit has been lowered to 7.5 t total weight).

Toll collection has been in regular operation since 01.01.2005.

Project scope

After 10 years of operation with the first-generation vending machines, Toll Collect decided to renew the machine technology in 2015. A total of 1500 terminals for indoor and outdoor installation were to be renewed.

The project won over TSI Group company Krauth Technology at the beginning of 2016. Due to the scope of the project, Deutsche Mechatronics GmbH was involved in the realization of the project as a partner company for the constructive development as well as the series assembly.

Compared to the first generation of devices, the new devices should exclusively process electronic payment media (magnetic and RFID payment media, QR code readers). Further equipment on the operator side includes a 21.5″ touch display and a printing unit for issuing receipts.

The development phase

Design drafts from an external design office were already available before the start of development. Starting in mid-March 2016, the indoor terminal was completely mechanically constructed in just nine days under the direction of DTMT together with colleagues from TSI. Every day, minor adjustments were coordinated in close coordination between Krauth Technology, Toll Collect and the designer, and in parallel, the production of the sheet metal parts was initiated in the parent company in China.

A particular challenge for DTMT, due to the design specifications, was the first-time constructive approach of using sheet metal and plastic deep-drawn parts as well as the tight schedule for realizing the first samples.

Functional assemblies, electronics and software were developed by Krauth and provided for assembly at DTMT.

The first sample unit of the indoor terminal was presented to Toll Collect in May 2016. At this stage, the plastic cladding was made from Uriol, and plastic injection molded parts were initially produced using the 3D printing process.

Focus of further development:

  • Realization of burglary protection according to the standard RK2
  • Development of invisible fasteners between sheet metal and plastic assemblies
  • Tolerance compensation between sheet metal and plastic
  • Screwless floor joints through verification of special bonding techniques
  • Use of painted and printed plastic thermoformed parts
  • Use of a special plastic thermoforming process to manufacture the antenna housings (LTE / WLAN) in a single process step

In parallel, the outdoor version was designed from June 2016, again with the support of the TSI design colleagues, who also controlled the production of the individual parts in China.

Outdoor Development Focuses:

  • Housing with reinforced burglary protection according to RC3
  • Climate Management
  • Development of ventilation concept for display to avoid temperature peaks in direct sunlight by using simulation technology
  • Development of a glass roof support in accordance with building authority approvals with the involvement of an external expert
  • Development of an innovative LED-based lighting concept, the radiation of which is homogeneously distributed through special shaping of the glass
  • Use of painted and printed plastic thermoformed parts

Assembly and logistics concept

A logistics concept tailored to the project was developed to support DTMT’s internal assembly processes on schedule. This included:

Development of product-specific, space-saving and reusable means of transport from sheet metal production in the Chinese parent plant with the following requirements:

  • Modular design taking into account the container dimensions
  • Usable in DTMT internal logistics
  • Can be further used in ongoing device assembly
  • Can be used as initial packaging to the final installation site
  • Establishment of a product-specific assembly and test zone
  • Storage of all required parts close to assembly
  • Control of the on-time delivery of the housings for assembly involving the manufacturing resources at TSI using transport mode-dependent transit times between China and Mechernich (ship, rail)
  • Assembly date-controlled procurement of all other hardware to be installed in close coordination with Krauth Technology’s suppliers

After qualification of various sample stands and auditing of quality-relevant processes by the end customer, series assembly of the devices took place with production batches of 40 – 80 devices per week.

The equipment was packaged appropriately for installation, transported to the respective installation site via the logistics of a service provider and installed.

The completion of the assembly took place in the spring of 2018 in parallel with the first setups.