Connecting Cranes to The Cloud

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Take a look at the image below. If the only thing you see is a crane with electronics in it, then you’re missing the big picture. These cranes are connected to the cloud by a gateway developed by Data Respons Solutions, which is a key enabler in Cargotec’s journey towards digitalisation.

Cargotec is one of the world’s leading providers of cargo and load handling solutions. Cargotec and its business areas Kalmar, Hiab and MacGregor are well known in the cargo and load handling industry with their products, services and solutions that support their customers in ports, at sea and on roads.

While Cargotec enables smarter cargo flow with its leading cargo handling solutions and services, it also embraces industry trends like automation, robotics, electrification, and other business activities that are closely connected to digitalisation.

Connectivity is king

In all of this, connectivity is a fundamental prerequisite. Being able to connect and communicate all equipment in ports, on ships and on trucks is essential – regardless of where they might be located. Only then can the next step be taken to design new services and open new revenue streams from remote monitoring, smart services, predictive maintenance etc.

Across all brands

This is where the box comes in. Cargotec turned to Data Respons for expert knowledge and engineering expertise in how to connect its equipment – and almost all of it across the entire range of Cargotec brands.

Anders Jansson, Sales Director Data Respons Solutions Sweden elaborates:

– Initially Cargotec asked us to design a standard gateway to connect the truck cranes manufactured under their Hiab brand. While we were preparing that project, Cargotec continued further in focusing more strongly on digitalisation. That decision allowed us to broaden the scope and build a gateway to fit nearly all products across all Cargotec brands. We’ve designed all the hardware and a large part of the software of the Cargotec Gateway.

Robust and versatile

Its model name is CE-IMX6-01 and with it Data Respons has taken gateway versatility and robustness to the extreme – as required by the customer.

The sturdiness of the device is remarkable. It is built to take a severe beating, withstand a pressure washer, and resist salt spray. Furthermore, it has an operating temperature range from -40 to +80 degrees Celsius, all of this to enable it to function under extreme conditions.

On top of that, the Cargotec Gateway is multi-lingual in various ways. It speaks a number of tech languages: it can communicate via Bluetooth, wifi, ethernet, and has a 4G modem for connecting to cellular networks. Also, it can connect from nearly any location around the world. The gateway has been certified for more than 45 regions and connects to a telecom network via an e-SIM card, a dedicated chip with the same functionality as a conventional physical SIM card.

IoT ecosystem

But ruggedness and global connectivity are by far not the only features that make the gateway a major achievement in the Cargotec journey towards industrial digitalisation. Without being able to fit into the Cargotec IoT ecosystem, it wouldn’t be worth much, and in this respect Data Respons has taken the role of Cargotec’s development partner with also other responsibilities than the design of the gateway.

Photo: Cargotec

Hans Christian Lønstad, CTO of Data Respons Solutions explains:

– We’ve worked closely together with Cargotec engineers and data specialists to find the optimal technical solutions, all the way from crane to cloud. We’ve worked with Cargotec on a number of issues well beyond technical issues related to the gateway. Together we’ve developed an understanding of how to combine hardware and software on different levels to make the IoT ecosystem work as a whole. We’ve been involved – and still are – as advisors on how the entire system should behave technically to be able to live up to the long-term plans and visions of Cargotec in regards to IoT.

Holistic approach

According to Hans Christian Lønstad, this holistic approach has been key to the successful development of the CE-IMX6-01 Gateway, demonstrated by its large production volume.

The overall goal is to handle the increasing cargo volumes crisscrossing our globe with as little environmental impact as possible. And since Cargotec is serving industries that cover the majority of the world’s gross domestic product, this can make a huge difference.

The Cargotec digitalisation vision

Photo: Cargotec
Tuomas Martinkallio, Director, Digitalisation, Kalmar Mobile Solutions:

– Digitalisation is one of Cargotec strategic must-win battles. Our target has been to achieve full connectivity for the equipment we manufacture, across all Cargotec brands. And that’s what we’ve achieved. Digitalisation is one of the key initiatives at Cargotec, and currently connectivity is available for 99 percent of our equipment.

– Digitalisation enables new business models and service offerings, and our goal is that 40 percent of our net sales should come from software and service. Connectivity is a key tool in introducing new kinds of digital products to our customers, so that we can enhance their operations and safety. What we aim to do is to offer new kinds of services to the market. We want to develop real business on top of connectivity and data. Connectivity is nice, but it is not a value in itself. The magic happens when we can add value based on the data.

– For instance, Hiab has developed HiConnect, which offers equipment owners real-time data about their equipment’s operation and condition. Kalmar has Kalmar Insight, a performance management tool for cargo handling operations.

– The Cargotec Gateway is the crucial element here. We needed a flexible gateway that could fit nearly all our products, as well as cope with harsh environments, and connect globally. Also, it had to be cost-effective. And as we are market leaders, it had to meet the same high quality standards as our basic products.

– The businesses under the Cargotec umbrella are quite diverse. That means we sometimes have needs that are totally opposite from each other. First of all we needed a partner that could understand our need for flexibility and that could provide us with the right technical solution for it. That is why we chose Data Respons.

– With the technical infrastructure in place we are now working with the data we are collecting. We utilize the data to do analytics and to add more value to it. We really feel the data is valuable, and we are getting a good understanding of what is happening with our equipment. In that part we’re really strong, in my opinion. When we combine our R&D understanding with the actual operational data we can really create good value for our customers.

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