Innovation can take many forms. In the field of IoT however, the most surprising solutions can be so subtle that they are barely noticeable. Gepro Electronics is an innovative product development company whose talents can often only be found ‘under the hood’. A solution created by Gepro, for example, can take the form of a custom-made system component that allows the clients’ product to complete more complex and ‘smart’ actions. Make Your Product Smarter, they call it. And while this solution can be hugely impactful, it is difficult to properly visualize. But a current Gepro project, in cooperation with the company Hoeflon, is an ideal example to showcase the power of innovation using IoT technology.
"Sim Services is a customer-focused, independent connectivity partner that things along with us. And no matter if it concerns a specific sim card type, worldwide coverage or multi-network options that allow us to make use of nearly all mobile network, Sim Services can provide what we need."
Connectivity of miniature cranes
A crane is usually the type of machine that needs space when it’s used, which makes working in narrow locations quite difficult. Hoeflon offers a solution to this issue in the form of miniature cranes that are developed, produced and sold globally by this company. These specialized cranes allow vertical transport on locations that otherwise could not be reached. However, such a machine requires extremely precise controls when being used, and this precision can only be achieved using carefully calibrated hard- and software. Developing a unique and up-to-date maneuvering system for these trackable miniature cranes is where Gepro, together with Sim Services, can make all the difference.
Gepro is specialized in the development and production of increasingly smarter electronic systems. Devices that need to communicate over long distances, can be controlled with special apps, and at the same time can be used both safely and efficiently. By making use of the connectivity services of Sim Services, the connections between the devices in the field and the back-end will be guaranteed. In the words of Ludo Zwaan, general director of Gepro: "Sim Services is a customer-focused, independent connectivity partner that things along with us. And no matter if it concerns a specific sim card type, worldwide coverage or multi-network options that allow us to make use of nearly all mobile network, Sim Services can provide what we need. We can even force a device to connect on a network of our choosing when a situation needs it, at any time of day. Because of this, all the Hoeflon cranes are able to make an internet connection in any conceivable situation."
For Hoeflon it is of growing importance to have a dependable and secure connection to their machine fleet. On the one hand to ensure the cranes are ready for use at any time, on the other hand to offer their clients functionality they can look along with, for example being able to trace the position of a system.
Preventing and solving issues
Predictive maintenance, a term that is used often, is something that truly shines in the solution created for Hoeflon. Besides tracking the number of operating hours and the cylinder pressure, the cranes are supplied with scores of other sensors that can follow machine usage and the intensity of this usage. This way it not only becomes possible to decide when a crane will need maintenance, but also which specific parts should be checked or even replaced. This helps prevent problems that could otherwise start on moments that would be problematic for the client.
"In cases where an issue would still take place, we can look into the situation from a distance,” says Dennis van Hoef, manager service and support with Hoeflon. “For example, we can remotely read out the usage history and of course the current sensor data to be able to decide if an issue might be present, how it came into being, and how it can be resolved. We are then able to directly send a software update to every individual crane, no matter where in the world it might be in use. This means we’re able to help a client incredibly quickly and you’re saving costs related to support activities. Only in rare cases does an engineer need to travel to a specific site. For us as a rapidly growing international player, this is quite the solution."
"Of course, for us this is also a learning process," Dennis continues. "Collecting relevant data is one thing, but to combine this with matching follow-up actions is another. Together with Gepro and Sim Services we are able to continuously improve our services."
Gepro’s innovations help their clients to reach new heights. Even more so with the mini cranes from Hoeflon.