How IoT-Enabled Health Monitoring Enables Smart Ports


We have identified condition monitoring of critical assets as one of the key use cases driving the adoption of private networks in port operations. The ability to monitor the performance of connected equipment in real time enables port operators to proactively resolve issues, before an outage occurs, avoiding time-consuming and costly delays.

Port operators around the world know that the ability to reliably connect people and equipment ashore and at sea, and to exchange data securely, is critical to operational efficiency. The Internet of Things (IoT) plays an important role in ensuring optimal port operations by minimizing disruption caused by unplanned equipment downtime, making it easier for port operators to develop and maintain profitable business relationships. .
The benefits of machine-to-machine communication in a port environment
The IoT continues to grow and expand to encompass new verticals and application areas, and ports are no exception. Regardless of the environment, IoT solutions must have a reliable connection to be effective. For most industrial IoT applications, a private network provides a much better technical foundation than a public or Wi-Fi network.

Although each port is different, connectivity has always been a challenge. Wired solutions are obviously of limited use in a port scenario, and Wi-Fi is almost always too intermittent for critical industrial applications. The beauty of a private cellular network is that it allows a port operator to provide ubiquitous wireless connectivity across the entire operation – land, air and sea – while having full control, without gaps or blind spots. Beyond the technical benefits, the total cost of ownership over time is unbeatable.

Ensuring a robust supply chain
Seaports play a crucial role in the international supply chain. Consequently, logistical disruptions in ports have a negative effect on all links in the chain, from producer to consumer. In many cases, these disruptions are caused by malfunctions and failures of special vehicles used in ports such as cranes, spreaders, stackers, straddle carriers and automated guided vehicles (AGVs). Port vehicles are often exposed to extreme environmental conditions such as high levels of precipitation, strong sunlight, high winds, sand, dust and salty air. To help them withstand such a harsh environment, they need sensors and gateways designed to withstand both shock and vibration.

The tight schedule of the global supply chain can only be maintained if all equipment involved in container handling is functioning properly, without malfunctions or breakdowns. To minimize the substantial risk of unplanned downtime in such a harsh environment, port operators now have the option of using wireless, IoT-enabled monitoring systems equipped with accurate sensor technology to detect performance caused by factors such as bearing damage, imbalance and mechanical wear. . Connected IoT sensors collect data and transmit it from port systems and machinery to higher-level systems. Therefore, any sub-optimal performance or damage can be detected early, ensuring maximum equipment uptime. These types of solutions are known as real-time condition monitoring.

Health monitoring is one of five key use cases for ports
Working with ifm, a global manufacturer of sensors and controls for industrial automation, Ericsson and Arthur D. Little identified five use cases that we believe are the most beneficial applications for smartports:

o Remote controlled ship-to-shore cranes
o Automated gantries on tires
o Automated Guided Vehicles
o Condition monitoring
o Drones for surveillance and deliveries

In our conversations with port operators over the past few months, we’ve noticed particularly strong interest in use case #4, condition monitoring of critical port assets. This isn’t particularly surprising, given that most port operators say lack of visibility into asset status is their biggest problem today. Condition monitoring ensures immediate awareness of issues for rapid response, which has a major impact in terms of reducing costs, saving time and helping ports stay competitive in the long term.

While various types of sensors have been used on port equipment for decades – on cranes in particular – until recently, wired connections from each sensor to the central operator were required to report operational status in real time. Cable connections are very effective on a smaller scale, but in most cases are not a feasible solution for comprehensive, large-scale condition monitoring and preventative maintenance of port equipment due to high cost. installing and maintaining so many cables.

Wireless communication is obviously a much more interesting alternative. But without a private network in place, it can be extremely expensive to install a large number of sensors, as public networks tend to require each sensor to have its own data plane. Ideal for high-density scenarios with relatively small footprints, private networks are ideal for ports that want to implement real-time status monitoring of critical port assets.

In North America, the Port of Tacoma is one of several major ports investigating the feasibility of setting up a private 5G network. In her recently published report, she notably highlights the benefits of condition monitoring and concludes with a recommendation in favor of setting up a private network. After reaching a similar conclusion, Virginia International Terminals (VIT) recently announced plans to invest in a private 5G network. The Utah Inland Port Authority is another example of a large port that is actively exploring the benefits of using a private network to enable real-time monitoring of the status of its equipment.

The Condition Monitoring Use Case
According to Port Technology, 25% of the cost of damage to equipment in ports is due to inadequate or incorrect maintenance. This statistic alone suggests that the use of cell-connected sensors to continuously monitor the status of machinery, equipment and other critical assets such as cranes, AGVs and container stacks – including factors such as vibration and temperature – has the potential to reduce maintenance costs. significantly. As the risk of equipment breakdown decreases, the risk of accidents also decreases, improving workplace safety.
Depending on the use case, sensors used in condition monitoring applications can require response times as fast as a fraction of a second, making a private 5G network ideal. In a 5G private network setup, condition monitoring software has the ability to wirelessly receive data from a large number of sensors in real time, detect any anomalies, and determine when an asset requires maintenance. Beyond the sensor data, a dedicated AI-based pattern monitoring function in an edge controller (or in the cloud) is used to identify critical situations based on multiple machine data points. Early detection of potential failures and their causes makes failures rare and minimizes response times when they do occur. Port Strategy research also indicates that cellular-connected sensors and a cloud-based solution reduce ground-based monitoring efforts by 40%.

A robust and reliable condition monitoring solution requires a network that can handle high connection density and transfer real-time data with extremely high reliability. The port must also be able to process and analyze data in the cloud securely and in real time.

In addition to preventing failures, condition monitoring also eliminates costs associated with “over-maintenance”. According to Saab RDS, this enables port operators to reduce their expenditure on spare parts, oils and maintenance resources by up to 50%. Data from HBM indicates that monitoring the condition of cranes in particular can reduce maintenance costs by up to 75%.

Together with ifm, we have calculated that the financial benefit of condition monitoring in a port is around 2.7% of annual net worth turnover at steady state. This leads to an ROI around two years after deployment and a full ROI in the fifth year. For more details on the health monitoring use case and the other four key use cases for ports, see our Connected Ports report.

Case Study: Rotterdam Container Terminal
Rotterdam World Gateway, a major container terminal in the Port of Rotterdam, is an excellent example of how sensors can be used to ensure trouble-free loading and unloading in a port. This port is the largest in Europe, handling more than 430 million tons of goods each year. Giant dockside cranes lift containers from the ship and place them on AGVs every minute.

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) – essentially cabless trucks – can travel without a driver. Instead, a programmable logic controller (PLC) for mobile applications controls vehicle movements using sensors. AGVs transport the containers from the dockside crane to the storage yard. There, stacker cranes pick up the containers and stack them in the storage area. The logistics computer knows exactly where to position each container. Containers are stacked according to their storage times, following an optimized pattern to ensure efficient and trouble-free operation to meet the tight schedules of international container handling. Every minute of delay costs money, so it’s imperative that the technology works perfectly in all conditions – freezing cold, roasting, stormy and rainy. Condition monitoring of AGVs and other port equipment ensures a high degree of reliability in fleet management, making breakdowns extremely rare.

A world of possibilities with private networks
Robust and reliable communications enabled by private networks and IoT sensors allow smart ports to achieve high-level efficiency and lower costs through an ecosystem of intelligent security, asset management and infrastructure capabilities network. Beyond real-time condition monitoring, IoT technologies can also be used to optimize inventory, monitor containers, improve logistics, and enhance safety and security.
Source: Ericsson


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