IoT in Container terminal

Challenge

The customer is one of the largest container operators of the Antwerp port of Belgium. They offer a wide range of high-quality container services including operations of a gateway terminal, an empty container depot services and a rail terminal.

The operator handles the largest container ships of the world and serves incoming and outgoing trucks, trains and river boats for further container transportation. The operator maintains a large fleet of vehicles e.g. cranes, straddles carriers, trucks and forklifts.

Container terminal operations is a logistically complicated and requires advanced process optimization e.g. to minimize container moves. For efficient operations the container handling equipment must have a high availability.

The initial objective of this Internet of Things (IoT) project is to collect the technical data of the container handling cranes. The long-term goal is to lower the maintenance cost of the cranes.

Implementationen

The project delivered a turnkey IoT solution implemented as a hybrid architecture with components on-premise and in the cloud.

IoT high-level data flow concept
The project focused on connecting sensors of different kinds and integrating these with the cloud. Rules based models trigger alarms when data is out of range. Alerts and sensor data can be monitored in the graphical user interface. Reports can be created.

Components of the IoT solutions
– Device sensors on vehicles (speed, container lifting speed, # moved containers, …)
– IoT Gateway server to connect sensors to the cloud
– Fieldbus to ethernet converter to handle PLC communication with devices
– SoftwareAG Cumulocity IoT platform
– Web-based dashboard for easy monitoring

Scrum was used as framework to support agile software development during this project.
– Sprint 0: Project initiation – planning
– Sprint 1: Device installation – hardware to connect the old world to the new world. The test approach is also defined
– Sprint 2: Device configuration & integration – configuration of sensors (endpoints) in the IoT cloud platform (definition of type, range, and eventual thresholds for alarms).
– Sprint 3: Dashboards & visualization – built-in widgets of the IoT platform was leveraged to rapidly build professional dashboards.

The result

Ferrologic has designed and implemented an end-to-end solution for IoT to collect movement and technical data from cranes, configured an IoT cloud platform, created operational dashboards, to visualize speed, tire pressure, crane error statuses and more. The end-to-end IoT solution can be roll-out on all cranes and vehicles.