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Vopak and TWTG work together to implement intelligent valve sensing

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Vopak has teamed up with Industrial Internet of Things (I-IoT) company TWTG to optimise the efficiency and safety of its storage terminals worldwide. The first pilots of TWTG valve sensors are installed in the Port of Rotterdam. Vopak has a total of 68 terminals, and more than 250 000 valves in different variations. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain existing processes and procedures, hence all solutions are designed to be retrofittable and ATEX-certified.

Goran Gavric, CEO of TWTG says: “TWTG is proud to be working with Vopak to create new and intelligent solutions for existing processes. I-IoT solutions can help the industry become smarter and therefore more efficient rapidly over time. Our first pilot with our ATEX- and IECEx certified valve sensors and LoRa WAN I-IoT network at Vlaardingen Terminal was a huge success, we’re laser focused on expanding to the coming ten thousands of units”.

“Together with TWTG, we are developing an extra layer of technology in our digital transformation journey to turn smart industrial terminals truly into a reality” says Leo Brand, CIO of Vopak. Over a three year period (2017 – 2019), Vopak is investing €100 million in technology, IT and innovation, with the aim to drive the company’s competitiveness in serving the industry safely.

In the first instance, TWTG will work on fitting dedicated I-IoT sensors on existing valves of large pipes. This will bring a greater certainty on the status of the infrastructure (i.e. spillage prevention) and therefore increase the safety for the workforce. Initiatives like this one, will drive the digital transformation of the industry, bringing existing technologies such as sensing, mobile communication, and large system integration together to create a safer, sustainable, and more productive working environment.

The main development challenge was to create battery-powered solutions with an expected lifetime of three years, with very competitive pricing. The valve sensors are ATEX zone 1 and IECEx certified, and are engineered to the extensive reliability demands in daily operations for industrial use cases.

“Requirements include an extended ambient temperature range of -40 to +80°C, which had to be combined with cutting edge ultra-low power engineering. We are really proud as a team that the product is being implemented globally now” said Joost Peters, Product Owner, TWTG.

The products use LoRa Wan networking architecture which is installed on-site and is specifically designed by TWTG for industrial sites globally. The network is configured to not send out data off-site, to ensure cyber security by preventing method of external access. “On-site only access might sound strange when you are talking about ‘I-IoT’, but the benefits in cyber security were undeniable”, Mr Peters ends.

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