Condition Monitoring with IoT Edge Gateway DATAEAGLE 7050
Application – cranes on the move
Conductix-Wampfler makes ferris wheels turn, cranes move and steel mill conductor systems run. Since 1902 the company has built energy and data transmission systems for any mobile equipment and machinery imaginable, across a wide range of industries. It requires a strong focus on innovation to stay in business successfully for over a 100 years and on top of that, continuously being a world leader in its field. Now Conductix-Wampfler is pushing the envelope once again, integrating sensor based wireless remote monitoring technologies into its products. To achieve this, Conductix-Wampfler collaborates closely with long-term partner Schildknecht. At the moment the two partners are testing new technology for remote monitoring of batteries powering electric container cranes. The Electric Rubber Tired Gantry Crane (E-RTG) is a highly sophisticated machine, operating in container terminals around the world. Instead of being restricted to moving on a track the E-RTG crane is able to straddle multiple lanes on its rubber wheels, securing maximum mobility and speed. However, the crane’s flexibility has a downside: how do you provide stable power supply? As long as it moves along container corridors the crane can be powered via conductor lines and motorized cable reels. But outside the corridors it has to rely on “onboard” power. So far diesel generators have done the job, but now container terminal operators are looking for more environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternatives. To meet this demand, Conductix-Wampfler has designed battery containers mounted directly on the crane. These battery containers are sophisticated devices packed with hi-tech components that need to be monitored by sensors to secure flawless operation and maximum uptime. Sensors transmit voltage, temperature, pressure, and humidity measurements to a cloud portal for visualization and evaluation. And as the cranes are situated in different locations around the world, it is crucial that data can flow freely all the way from source to destination.
Challenges – metal and distance
Some of the problems to be solved came from the cranes themselves: they are continuously in motion, and on top of that, the gateways in the battery containers are surrounded by metal. Therefore high performance radio communication technology is required to secure dependable and stable data transfer. Another challenge was posed by the fact that E-RTG cranes powered by Conductix-Wampfler batteries are scattered in container terminals around the world. So, if you want to roll out your remote monitoring solution on a global scale, you need to design a global connectivity infrastructure, the cranes being on the edge of the network and a web portal in its centre, located with the operator monitoring the equipment.