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Cloud-based supply chain monitoring in Nigeria

IoT Use Case - Schildknecht
5 minutes Reading time
5 minutes Reading time

With the help of consistent supply chain monitoring, bottlenecks, for example in material procurement or energy supply, can be anticipated at an early stage so that countermeasures can be initiated in good time. However, there is often still a lack of appropriate digital solutions, particularly at production sites with little developed infrastructure. As an IoT system integrator, Schildknecht AG specializes in implementing cost-effective, intelligent monitoring systems based on M2M. An example from Nigeria shows how manufacturing companies can stabilize their supply chain with simple measures.

The challenge: Digitalized monitoring for early anomaly detection

The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted global supply chains over the past three years. As end customers, we have felt the effects of bottlenecks or production problems at the start of a supply chain in Asia, for example, right through to the retail trade in Germany. The topic of supply chain management has therefore recently become more of a focus for many manufacturing companies. The lack of digitalization to date is causing problems in many areas: where necessary data is not recorded and collected, bottlenecks or losses cannot be identified in good time.

A concrete example is the case of a fuel theft at one of the largest beverage manufacturers at a production site in Nigeria: one morning, employees discovered that 100 liters of diesel had been stolen from a fuel tank. Due to a lack of fill level and flow information, it was not possible to determine when and from which customer the 100 liters were taken.

The beverage manufacturer therefore commissioned a system integrator to install a sensor-based tank level monitor in order to collect and record data such as fill level and flow rate in real time. The solution should also be able to calculate and bill consumption per customer directly. The system integrator relied on mobile radio-based IoT technology from the German company Schildknecht AG to implement this supply chain monitoring system.

The solution: Plug-and-play system with low-cost mobile phone connection

Schildknecht Industrie Elektronik was founded in 1981 by Thomas Schildknecht as an engineering office in Murr (Baden-Württemberg). Schildknecht AG is still a family-run IoT system provider today and now has more than 40 years of experience in wireless data technologies. The focus is on remote maintenance, telemetry, M2M solutions and condition monitoring. In total, Schildknecht has already implemented over 500 IoT projects around the world – and accumulated the corresponding expertise.

The device technology is based on the DATAEAGLE 7000 series mobile radio gateway. It has an integrated and globally deployable eSIM at a low-cost standard rate together with the DATAEAGLE Portal Device Cloud. In the IIoT use case at the beverage manufacturer in Nigeria, Schildknecht’s gateway forms the interface between the automation technology and sensors on the one hand and the Device Cloud on the other.

Specifically, the beverage manufacturer uses sensors to record values at various locations and transmit them to Schildknecht’s Edge Gateway via the Modbus/RTU communication protocol. This IOT gateway then transmits the data to the Device Cloud via a secure mobile connection. With end-to-end encryption of data transmission, user data always remains secure and under control at all times.

Schildknecht supplies the devices pre-configured and ready for use by any mobile network operator worldwide as a plug-and-play solution. The costs for data transmission are always the same – whether in Nigeria, the USA or Germany. The decisive advantage: even in regions of the world where the corresponding infrastructures are only moderately developed or not developed at all, the user does not have to worry about available WLAN connections or mobile phone tariffs at the place of use.

As soon as the recorded data is available in the DATAEAGLE portal, it can be comprehensively processed and analyzed. For example, the monthly or daily consumption can be calculated or a warning can be issued at certain (low) fill levels. Other systems, such as an ERP system, can also be connected via an API interface and the data can be passed on if required.

The result: Intelligent Tank Level Monitor saves costs and personnel expenses

Thanks to Schildknecht’s IoT system, the beverage manufacturer in Nigeria – or rather the system integrator of the tank level monitoring – has received a solution that helps to automatically identify anomalies such as theft or leaks at an early stage. Regular manual checks are often associated with high personnel and travel costs. In some cases, for example in hard-to-reach or remote locations, they are hardly economically viable. They can be saved with the help of the IoT solution. In addition, sources of error due to human error, such as inaccuracies when measuring or reading, are eliminated.

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