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Remote monitoring of oil, gas and chemical storage tanks

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IoT Use Case -
4 minutes Reading time
4 minutes Reading time

Tanks of oil, gas and chemical products are generally spread over great distances, even across the globe. Whether it’s a question of anticipating purchases or deliveries, avoiding stock-outs or calculating the ideal distribution route, industrial IoT offers effective, low-cost solutions for monitoring tanks remotely and optimising these operations. Sensile Technologies SA is one of the world’s leading suppliers of IIoT solutions for the oil, gas and chemical industries, with more than 100,000 telemetry units currently installed in over 70 countries.

The challenge: optimising supply chain logistics with real-time and predictive data

Companies are always on the lookout for new solutions to improve performance, reduce costs and benefit from reliable data on which to base their strategic and operational decision-making. Players in the oil, gas and chemical industries are frequently using IoT solutions to optimise their purchasing and distribution logistics.

For distribution, for example, the risk of stock-outs can only be eliminated by increasing the frequency of deliveries, which involves significant additional costs. On the other hand, stock-outs cause customer dissatisfaction and additional costs due to emergency deliveries. Given the large size of tank farms and their wide geographical distribution, the trick is to automate certain processes, such as identifying low levels, calculating the ideal time for delivery and optimising transport planning.

To achieve this, one of the challenges is remotely collecting reliable data on the condition of each tank: a task made even more sensitive by the fact that the liquids are highly explosive and the tanks are often isolated, sometimes even buried. The other challenge is to make the most of the huge quantities of data collected.

The solution: an IIoT ecosystem for remote and autonomous tank monitoring

For 25 years, Sensile Technologies has been designing and supplying telemetry units specially adapted to the challenges of installing them on oil, gas and chemical equipment. Our units are used for fuel and lubricant tanks, service stations, waste oil tanks, gas tanks, gas cylinders and chemical product tanks.

To enable them to be used in these contexts, the units are very robust, certified watertight and explosion-proof (ATEX Zone 0 and UL Class I, Div 1). They are equipped with constantly optimised antennas for reliable long-distance data transmission via cellular telecommunications networks (NB-IoT & CAT-M) and on a free radio frequency for local communication to a repeater, even when buried. What’s more, they operate without an electrical connection and are designed to guarantee a battery life of up to 10 years.

The data collected is processed, analysed and presented graphically in the secure Oil Link™ cloud portal, which forms the interface between the telemetry units and the logistics system of customer companies. From this portal, users can, among other things, set alarms, access real-time data via customisable dashboards, as well as benefit from numerous analyses and forecasts. The portal is securely hosted in Switzerland and is constantly monitored.

The result: improved logistics and operational performance, lower costs and happier customers

By combining data acquisition, automatic triggering of alarms and advanced analyses provided by algorithms, the IIoT ecosystem offered by Sensile Technologies contributes in many ways to optimising processes and improving performance.

The data collected can be turned into real strategic assets when, for example, it enables you to make purchases at the best time, avoid stock-outs, optimise transport, identify unusual consumption patterns, take preventive or immediate measures, offer proactive customer service, trigger maintenance and make solid data available for decision-making and management.

In distribution alone, Sensile Technologies has proven that our industrial IoT solution reduces costs per volume of product delivered by up to 30%. This benefit is achieved by planning the ideal time of delivery in Oil Link™, which prevents both rush deliveries and early deliveries of small quantities. Not to mention the benefits in terms of reducing the carbon footprint of transport, as well as increasing customer satisfaction—no small considerations in an increasingly competitive and demanding environment.

Text taken over from original – WIKA

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