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Powelectrics Deliver Data to Deter Diesel Deprivation at Distribution Depots

Posted on 17 Apr 2019

Powelectrics work with many environmental businesses, in projects ranging from waste collection and reservoir monitoring to water level management for wildlife habitat creation and sewage pumping.

We connect a variety of sensors to the cloud, to enable critical data and alarms to be seen by the right personnel and timely action to be taken.

For this Industry 4.0 ‘solution, our customer is a UK supplier of environmental services and their client is a major retail chain with thousands of stores and several enormous distribution depots in strategic locations.

Branded vehicles often fuel up from tanks on the depots. These large tanks can attract criminal attention, especially if they are not visible from security installations.

On the site shown here, there are two 66K tanks and apart from the usual benefits of telemetry connected to timely deliveries and avoiding run-outs, there were additional concerns that they would be targeted by fuel thieves.

Level sensors were installed in the tanks and connected to our award-winning Metron telemetry hardware. Level data is reported every 10 minutes, initially to MetronView, Powelectrics standalone cloud with customisable dashboards, reporting and alerts.

MetronView is ideal for many applications, but it also has an API for simple integration to other software, which is the case for this project. This m2m solution uses one of Powelectrics application-specific portals, MetronTMS, (Tank Monitoring System) designed for customers who deliver or collect bulk gases, liquids, powders or granules to/from tanks.

As with MetronView, authorised users get data and alerts securely on any web-enabled device, but MetronTMS offers additional functionality for order processing and logistics planning. These include the facility to set thresholds on individual tanks to alert you when tanks are reaching amber and red alert levels. MetronTMS can even predict when individual tanks will need filling, based on recent usage. Colour coded tank locations can be plotted on a map, by postcode, for simple logistics planning. This element of the platform enables fuel deliveries to be scheduled to minimise disruption to daily activity, whilst ensuring that tanks never run out, which would carry serious consequences at such a large depot.

Data may also be used to verify delivery dates and quantities for invoice reconciliation and to identify unauthorised deliveries or collections from competitors.

For this IoT project, MetronTMS has been configured to send alarms if tank levels drop more than expected in a fixed time period, indicating that a theft may be in progress. It also sends alarms if there has been a communication failure, which may indicate that thieves have physically disabled the technology. Either event prompts immediate action by security personnel.

MetronView cloud offers a standard API, which means it can function as middleware to bring reliable sensor data securely into other platforms and portals.  This can be done by customers or we can create portals for you. MetronTMS is just one example – others, created by Powelectrics, include energy metering, vending machines, train condition monitoring and waste compactors. MetronView can interface with existing software such as Navision, SAP, SCADA systems or platforms such as IBM Cloud (Watson), Microsoft  Azure, AWS and Miimetiq.

For this Industry 4.0 project, Powelectrics SPS hydrostatic level sensors were used. The SPS range offers simple installation, proven reliability and great value. They are widely used for fuels, water, waste, lubricants, chemicals and foodstuffs. The range includes versions that combine temperature and level sensors, PTFE cable and 316 stainless steel to suit aggressive applications, ATEX versions and those with hygienic fittings for food and beverage applications

Powelectrics connect the world of sensors and the Internet of Things. Our solutions are employed in a wide range of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) remote level and condition monitoring applications.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss your application: +44 1827 310 666