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The Internet of Things (IoT)

  • About the Project

    One of Sentients clients approached the company to provide a cost effective and power efficient solution for liquid level monitoring in a tank farm. The client was looking to use a traditional wired approach for power and communications to the sensors to collect data and cable in to a PLC. Sentient computing came up with an idea to transmit data wirelessly from sensors to the base station/server room avoiding cabling and trenching cost for power and communication cables. The wireless transmitted data could then be viewed and trended into MacroView (SCADA/ HMI). Sentient computing was also assigned the responsibility to select the wireless technology and compatible sensors for the required task.

     

    CHALLENGE:

    • Source wireless communication to avoid any cabling costs and provide a longer range than traditional wi-fi technology.
    • Select a secure wireless technology to enable telemetry between sensors and the base station without any requirement of a third-party subscription for leasing bandwidth or other services.
    • Select hardware including sensors and a gateway/server, compatible with the wireless technology used and sustainable enough to withstand a harsh environment with extreme temperatures.
    • Ensure a cost effective and power efficient long-term solution requiring less maintenance.

     

    SOLUTION:

    IoT is an emerging field of wireless communication among devices, ranging from smart sensors to industry standard rugged transducers, and end user applications. Sentient computing created a solution based on LoRa wireless technology which uses the LoRaWAN protocol to communicate on the 915MHz Australian frequency band.

    • LoRa has been used to provide wireless communication.
    • A LoRaWAN compliance local Gateway has been installed to provide secure in- house communication.
    • LoRaWAN compliance Class A sensors with a battery life of 5 years and a sampling period of 10 minutes have been installed.
    • Auto update of the sampling rate (to provide quick updates to the operator if the level increases above a specified limit) was enabled.
    • The solution has been integrated with MacroView, currently supervising the whole plant, to provide monitoring and trending facility.

     

    OUTCOME:

    • The developed solution was tested in Sentient’s lab before installation. Testing results were obtained for different scenarios to deliver a reliable system by ensuring accuracy of transmitted data.
    • The sensors and gateway on the site were successfully installed. Sensors were chosen to not only match technical requirements but also to physically fit in the environment.
    • Smooth communication between the sensors and the gateway was established. The hardware installed has been carefully configured to keep strong link with end nodes and end user application.
    • Sensors were callibrated according to tank specification and nature of liquid. The functionality to quickly reconfigure any sensor if liquid type changes was also provided.
    • Extra functionality to auto update the sampling rate in case of change in level was also provided. The rate increases from 10 minutes to 1 minute if the level increases or decreases outside of specified parameters. The update rate is set back to 10 minutes if there is no change in level to save battery life.
    • MacroView trends live data is received from sensors via the gateway.

    Project Info