ClearBlade and Radio Bridge’s bundled IIoT tank monitoring delivers cost-effective and flexible monitoring
INDUSTRIAL Internet of Things
(IIoT) platform and edge computing software company ClearBlade has been implementing complex systems for well over a decade and has seen its fair share of IIoT ‘science experiments’ over the years. While there is much excitement around the promise of IIoT, the actual business benefits and results have been hard to come by. This is because it takes several vendors to come together to deliver an IIoT solution and to date, these solutions have been long, expensive, bespoke solutions that are very difficult to deliver and maintain.
The industry needs out of the box, turn-key offerings that deliver business results fast and recently ClearBlade and Radio Bridge, the leading manufacturer of long-range wireless sensors using the LoRaWAN standard joined forces to develop such an offering.
TANK MONITORING SOLUTION
The bundled IoT Tank Monitoring solution combines ClearBlade’s industry-leading Edge software with Radio Bridge’s acclaimed long-range wireless tank monitoring sensors. The solution enables operational personnel to remotely monitor tank levels across a variety of sectors including oil and gas, chemical manufacturing, wastewater, and utilities.
The bundled offering includes ClearBlade’s Asset Monitoring Edge and Cloud software, Radio Bridge’s IP67 LoRa ultrasonic level sensors, and a LoRaWAN industrial edge gateway from one of several certified ClearBlade partners. Utilising LoRaWAN communication between the Radio Bridge sensors and gateways, this solution addresses the network and connectivity issues that exist on remote industrial sites. Additionally, the ClearBlade software enables enterprises to take the normalised data directly from the Radio Bridge sensors in the field and enrich existing enterprise tools such as ServiceNow, IBM Maximo, SAP HANA, and others.
The bundled solution can be initially tested through the purchase of a deployment kit that includes five sensors, an industrial LoRaWAN gateway, the ClearBlade Edge software, Tank Monitoring application software, and configuration support. The solution can be purchased as a software as a service (SaaS) subscription or as a dedicated private environment with an enterprise licensing agreement.
WHAT IT CAN DO
The industrial tank monitoring solution provides business and operational personnel the ability to install, configure, and remotely monitor tank levels across the enterprise without the need to include the IT department or hire outside consulting expertise. The tank monitoring bundle provides ultra-precise, real-time reporting and monitoring of any air-gapped-based tank levels including fuel, lubricant, coolant, storage, wastewater, and cargo for discovering insights and driving operational decisions via rules and alerts.
All of the displays, descriptions, rules, and alerts are easily customisable with no coding required. The system will display tank levels in real-time on remote tanks across the enterprise via any IP connected computer, mobile device, and flat-screen displays, regardless of the number of users. The real-time and historical data generated by the solution can be streamed into existing enterprise systems and exported via reports or common file structures like .csv or .xls.
Rules can be created to send notifications via email, SMS, or other methods to alert personnel on various events including low tank levels, tank replenishment, and emergency situations.
HOW IT WORKS
The ultrasonic level sensor is attached to the tank being monitored and provides high accuracy ultrasonic proximity detection and ranging in the air. If the measured distance of the contents in the tank rises above or falls below the configured thresholds, an alert is sent over the wireless network. The Radio Bridge sensors include a built-in radio that communicates directly with the LoRaWAN wireless network provided by the LoRaWAN industrial edge gateway. The sensor uses a lithium non-rechargeable battery and is capable of more than 200,000 total messages depending on the wireless standard and usage.
The tank monitoring application running on the edge gateway receives data from sensors in the wireless coverage area. The LoRaWAN coverage area varies based on antenna placement and terrain but a single gateway will typically cover a two-mile radius. The application will convert and organise sensor data and transmit this data to the tank monitoring application running in the cloud to display the data on all devices logged into the application and to record the data for historical and reporting purposes. In addition, any configured rules will act on the tank monitoring data and send alerts to the appropriate personnel.
BENEFITS OVER OTHER IIOT SOLUTIONS
ClearBlade Tank Monitoring with Radio Bridge achieves what no other tank monitoring solution offers today – a true no-code deployment that gives operational and business people the power to implement and customise on their own without the need for IT or a system integrator. In addition, the companies have bundled the offering in such a way to make it very cost-effective to get started and to grow by paying once for the hardware and monthly for the software in a SaaS-like way – by the sensor, by the month.
Another key element of this solution is flexibility. With all of its enterprise software and system of record experience ClearBlade was founded by industry veterans from IBM), the company recognises the need for enterprise-grade software and understands that its software must ‘play nice with others’ by easily integrating with the customer’s existing enterprise systems. Companies can get started easily today with a robust customisable solution, then if desired move to a private dedicated instance to seamlessly integrate with its enterprise systems. In addition, the customer can go beyond tank monitoring and begin to incorporate other equipment into the tank monitoring solution because at the core of ClearBlade’s software is asset monitoring. This allows the customer to connect to any device and communicate over any network. The customer gets to decide how the solution should expand over time and how deep the customisation is for the business. This is a key differentiator because the solutions that are available today are either too rigid to meet customer requirements or too expensive and risky because they are custom development efforts.
By partnering with best of breed hardware vendors like Radio Bridge and integrating and testing its software with their hardware, ClearBlade is reducing
the complexity of deploying solutions in the field. These are proven, repeatable offerings that eliminate cost and risk. This is the evolution of IoT – easily implemented industrial solutions that simplify the connectivity to the Internet and the Things.
One customer needed to remotely monitor and alert on the level of sulphuric acid in its holding tanks to ensure a steady supply of sulphuric acid for use in mining, water treatment, and fertiliser manufacturing. The customer was already using ClearBlade Asset Monitoring software to monitor the shipments of sulphuric acid on their leased railcars so they were able to easily incorporate the tank monitoring system to provide them with additional information to their operational teams as well as their customers.
One customer needed to remotely monitor and alert on the level of wastewater in their holding tanks where the wastewater is retained for periodic removal by a vacuum pump service company. By measuring and alerting on the status of their holding tanks this customer was able to optimise their operational procedures.
The final use case is in the oil industry. The customer needed to optimise their drilling efficiency by collecting data and applying AI to remote well sites. While ClearBlade streamed well-drilling data into an oil drilling AI model they also needed to monitor their on-site water and emulsifier tank levels to optimise their drilling procedures. By adding the ClearBlade Tank Monitoring solution they were able to combine their oil drilling optimisation solution with an efficient and cost-effective supply chain storage solution all into the same system.
ClearBlade has created an extremely cost-effective and flexible monitoring solution that is being used to monitor trains, aircraft maintenance equipment, mega mall occupancy video equipment, and storage tanks across several sectors. What the company recognised years ago was the need to provide business people with business solutions that drive the technical complexity out of the equation. This industrial tank monitoring solution is one of many out of the box solutions that ClearBlade offers today. As it continues its efforts, the company and its customers and partners will work together to expand this list of turn-key offerings to help enable businesses to deliver on the promise of the IIoT.
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Original release here.