Dutch tank storage company Vopak has partnered with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) company TWTG to install valve sensors at Vopak’s terminals in the Port of Rotterdam.
This is the first pilot of TWTG valve sensors, which will be installed across Vopak’s 68 terminals with over 250,000 valves in different variations.
The IIoT sensors aim to improve employee safety, with all solutions designed to be retrofittable and ATEX-certified, according to TWTG.
“TWTG is proud to be working with Vopak to create new and intelligent solutions for existing processes,” commented Goran Gavric, CEO of TWTG. “IIoT solutions can help the industry become smarter and therefore more efficient rapidly over time. Our first pilot with our ATEX and IECEx certified valve sensors and LoRa WAN IIoT network at Vlaardingen Terminal was a huge success, we’re laser focussed on expanding to the coming ten thousands of units.”
“Together with TWTG, we are developing an extra layer of technology in our digital transformation journey to turn smart industrial terminals truly into a reality,” added Leo Brand, chief information officer at Vopak.
In 2017, Vopak committed to investing €100 million in technology, IT and innovation over a three-year period.
TWTG will initially fit dedicated IIoT sensors on existing valves on large pipes, bringing increased certainty on the status of infrastructure and improving workforce safety.
According to TWTG, the main challenge was to create battery-powered solutions with an expected lifetime of three years, at a competitive price.
“Both European regulations [ATEX and IECEx] as specific product demands made it a complex engineering quest,” explained Joost Peters, product owner at TWTG. “Requirements include an extended ambient temperature range of -40 to +80 degrees Celsius, which had to be combined with cutting edge ultra low power engineering. We are really proud as a team that the product is being implemented globally now.”
The sensors use LoRa WAN networking architecture, which is installed on-site. All data remains at the site location, which ensures cybersecurity by preventing external access.
“On-site only access might sound strange when you are talking about ‘IIoT’, but the benefits in cyber security were undeniable,” Peters concluded.