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Internet of Things - Showcase


By now, we have a working setup for our Internet of Things showcase. It features a fischertechnik crane model that is connected to Microsoft Azure and a dashboard for visualization. The Azure back-end takes care of device management, message stream analysis (fishing out the critical alerts), data persistence, as well as data access and visualization.

We have registered 4 Offshore cranes in the showcase. Their individual and current position is retrieved in real-time from the ship's AIS information. Also, pictures and other information about the vessels is retrieved from the same system. Each registered vessel is shown on a world-map - a click on a vessel shows a picture and provides direct access to the Design data of the mounted crane as well as links to its 3D visualization and possibilities to see pending Changes and to create new Problem reports on a specific crane.

The showcase demonstrates how an actual device/crane sends its telemetry data to the Remote Monitoring solution. The solution recognizes critical conditions and issues warnings and alerts. The connected crane can also receive messages from the solution - in the showcase it's possible to order the crane into its parking position and to turn on/off the floodlights.

With this showcase we wanted to create a real-life example illustrating the idea of Internet-of-Things. Again, instead of following and spreading buzzwords, we want to do real stuff and see things in action.
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Let's arrange a demo or phone call to see how we can approach your plans together...

New update on the current IoT project

As promised in the previous article, we keep you updated with the development of our latest IoT hands-on project.

The crane-model is fully functional and is logging its telemetry data to the IoT solution. Based on event patterns, alerts are raised in the dashboard. The crane can also be controlled from the IoT solution (e.g. the floodlights can be put on/off, and the crane can be ordered to be set into its initial parking position).


Building the THING of our IOT Project

Here's a fist glimpse of the not-yet finished THING of our ongoing Internet of Things project. There's a lot of talk going on out there - we got tired of just reading the buzzwords and are developing real things instead. Our principle is to really understand concepts and technologies to be able to provide our customers with best advice and proven solutions.

What is it?

It's a model of an offshore crane with a King, Main- and a Knuckle-Jib. Until now, it's capable of the following:

  • Rotate the whole crane 360 degrees.
  • Move Main-Jib up and down.
  • Move Knuckle-Jib up and down.
  • Move the wire up and down using the installed winch.

The model is built with Fischertechnik components and is connected to a control-PC using 2 Fischertechnik Intelligent Interfaces. In total we have 8 Directional Outputs, 4 Analogue Inputs, and 16 Digital Inputs. The control system is written in C# and log messages are sent to and retrieved from a connected Microsoft Azure IoT Hub.

How is it controlled?

Right now, the cranes' movements are manually controlled with a joystick allowing control of all 4 motors and their 8 directions. This joystick has 4 directions on two levels.

In the future, there will be step-counters and parking-position sensors for all moving elements. Then it will be possible to determine the position of the crane elements at any time. We will then also be able to control the actual movements in more detail using advanced code from an application running on a connected PC.

How is the THING becoming part of the "Internet of ..."?

We will connect the control system with Microsoft Azure IoT Hub and actively log all movements and conditions in short intervals. The positioning of the crane will then be monitored on a dashboard. The dashboard will also allow users to send messages to the crane to move its elements to new positions.

Stay tuned for more updates coming up on this blog...

nexiles means tied or bound together; interwoven. In this way, we are partnering with our customers to be able to provide holistic help for improvement of their individual value-added processes.

nexiles GmbH is based in Weingarten (Germany) and is a registered PTC Software Partner Gold as well as registered Microsoft partner. We have a global project footprint and deliver our services and solutions where our customers ask for it.