High-Value Asset Monitoring
Asset Monitoring and Tracking System
Crestchic are the world’s largest specialised load bank manufacturer and load bank rental company.
Crestchic needed to remotely monitor and track their very valuable assets that can be deployed all over the world. So they asked if we could help provide a centrally managed monitoring system.
A loadbank is a device that applies an electrical load to an electrical power source. This is typically used to test a mission-critical electrical power source - with the energy being dissipated as heat. Loadbanks are typically used for:
- Testing backup generators e.g. in data centres, banks, hospitals etc.
- Testing new power generation and supply systems e.g. VFDs
We needed a box in the loadbank that would log data and send it to the web application over a cellular network. The volumes here were not huge (high value low volume assets) and so developing hardware from scratch (as we often do) did not make sense in this case if an off the shelf solution could be identified.
Using our extensive hardware expertise, we identified a Linux-based industrial embedded computer that did everything we needed and was easy to customise.
It has an on-board 2G/3G/4G cellular modem with worldwide approvals, as well as GPS and all the interfaces we required (Ethernet, RS-485, 1-wire).
In a later stage of the project, a custom-designed UPS was added that connected to the embedded computer over Ethernet. This added:
- Accelerometers to detect bumps or movement and wake up the Linux box when events that need monitoring occur. This allowed the detection of miss use (container dropped) or that the asset was being stolen.
- Controlled power supplies for new equipment in the loadbank
- Battery charging and control - theses batteries powered the UPS while the loadbank was not running and allow for GPS tracking of the asset
The Web platform
We designed & built a bespoke web application based on our MyM2M Web platform to allow Crestchic and their customers to interact with the telemetry system from anywhere. The web application is fully responsive and works great on any size device.
Each user has their own fully-customisable dashboard onto which they can place pinned charts, alarm lists and insights into any assets they are responsible for.
For instance, service engineers could add a list of upcoming lifecycle events on assets they maintain.
Customisable user dashboards are a core feature of our MyM2M Web platform.
Easy visual geolocation is provided by a powerful mapping UI.
Users can configure geofence-based alarms to alert staff automatically when assets are removed from approved locations.
A custom-designed charting engine allows for easy monitoring of key performance parameters for devices connected to the system.
Email and SMS capabilities keep users informed wherever they are when alarms are raised by the on-asset hardware.
The system also functions as an asset management portal, allowing users to upload documents and certification information for assets. This functionality has streamlined the engineering and maintenance workflows for Crestchic, limiting the requirement for paper documentation.
Over-The-Air File Updates
Configuration, software updates and other files can be securely deployed to the file systems of the on-asset hardware en-masse or on an individual basis, providing absolute control over the operation of the system even once assets have left the workshop (all from the central website, never having to visit the device on site).
A cellular modem requires a SIM card. Crestchic needed the management of the SIM card fleet to be quick & easy. They liked the idea of our global SIMs that they can fit in production and not have to worry about where the product will be shipped (rental loadbanks are frequently deployed around the world). 360 Telemetry-provided SIM cards that can be managed through the same web application.
Crestchic also made use of our Fixed IP address option (via a secure VPN) which allows them to access devices directly if they need to in order to access the network on the loadbank e.g. to perform real time diagnostics. We configured the Linux box to allow secure access to the Ethernet LAN thus allowing all of the equipment on the LAN to be accessed remotely - this saved on very costly site visits.