Internet of Things (IoT)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Find new potential

Danfoss Power Solutions is bringing the “Internet of Things” (IoT) to mobile equipment. Danfoss is developing ways to predict maintenance needs in real time. With the help of data-gathering sensors, mobile networks, cloud-based computing services and analytics software. In other words: if a pump is close to malfunction, the future IoT system will alert the operator before it happens. This helps avoiding down time in the field. 

The IoT market has been growing as manufacturers of basically anything with an on-off switch. They look for ways to connect their devices to the Internet, increasing their functionality in ways never imagined. By predicting breakdowns, reducing waste, improving efficiency and more, the IoT is transforming nearly every sector of industry. In case off-highway mobile equipment, uptime is one of the most important factors. Services like geo-fencing, fleet management, and calculating duty cycle. In addition, lifetime of components, performance, uptime, fuel usage and access to real time data. These can be provided using the data from machines. By having connected machines, OEM’s can schedule the maintenance of the machines before they breakdown. Thereby reducing the downtime of the machines. This also gives OEM’s opportunity to proactively connect with end users to provide service.

“In recent months, we have noticed a strong trend of Danfoss OEMs toward real-time, IoT applications,” says Mayank Singh Aswal. He is a Program Manager, Internet of Things (IoT) and Analytics at Danfoss. 

“Our customers collect more data from more sources such as sensors, subsystems and components.”

Field test success

Danfoss got a step closer to offering this service at one of its global Application Development Centres (ADC) in December 2016. The team included engineers from the European ADC, Danfoss IT, OEM Solutions Application, Danfoss Telematics Solutions and a major cloud service provider.

In a series of feasibility tests with a working drum roller, an ADC demo vehicle. The group connected the machine remotely to a cloud computing platform via a web services communication tool (REST API). They use Danfoss Telematics Solutions (DTS) and Smart Analytics kits (PLUS+1® Controller with sensors). These gathered data inside the drum roller in real time, transmitting it with a new DTS platform under development. 

The team tested connectivity, data transfer, basic smart analytics and analysis capabilities.

“We connected the machines to the portal and the portal to the cloud to prove the speed, flexibility and accuracy of our analytic platform,” says Mayank Singh Aswal. “Our plan is to validate a full solution at our OEMs’ most commonly deployed IoT ecosystems. Then we will introduce that solution to all customers.”

How it works

“Our customers collect more data from more sources such as sensors, subsystems and components,” says Mayank Singh Aswal. “This data must be aggregated, granulated and analyzed to enable real-time analytics functions. Our new IoT Data Platform will enable us to monitor data in near real-time, while calling up historical data from the database.”

Such real-time prediction requires three components: hardware and sensors in the machinery, analytics software and a user dashboard or app. Danfoss plans to upgrade its existing Telematics Solutions hardware. The idea is, to work with more data at a higher speed and with more flexible interfaces. “This will make our analytics much more accurate,” says Mayank Singh Aswal.

Currently, sensors measure data such as pressure, temperature, vehicle speed, pump speed, torque and displacement on components. For instance, piston pumps and motors. Smart Analytics software can then crunch data points and warn if a component is close to malfunctioning. This was showed by feasibility tests. By monitoring individual components, we eventually intend to monitor the whole machine. This enables the OEM’s to be in close touch with the machine owners. It proactively approaching them for service or maintenance in case analytics systems alerts then regarding a possible malfunction. This also is beneficial for Danfoss in terms of parts and service loyalty. For both OEM’s as well as end user.

While Danfoss Power Solutions will build the software and cloud-based dashboard, some customers will only need the data. Since they are already working on analytic cloud services. “No matter which cloud service you’re on, we can provide our services,” says Mayank Singh Aswal.