IoT comes to the maritime at the Port of Rotterdam

At ports such as Rotterdam (Netherlands), sensors are helping to create smart industrial terminals
At ports such as Rotterdam (Netherlands), sensors are helping to create smart industrial terminals (Pixabay)

Royal Vopak N.V., a Dutch-based tank storage company, has conducted a pilot test of smart internet of things (IoT) valve sensors in the Port of Rotterdam, according to an online article appearing on The Maritime Executive.

The sensors were made by TWTG, an R&D agency specializing in IoT solutions. The sensors are designed to monitor the state of manually-operated valves and make the information available on a dashboard. The valve sensors are expected to provide real-time information on the tank infrastructure and lessen the likelihood of downtime from spills or other incidents, thus increasing safety for Vopak’s workforce, the article was quoted as saying.

Dutch-based Royal Vopak N.V. is deploying sensors from TWTG to monitor the status of valves at Vlaardingen Terminal.

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According to the article, the pilot test at Vlaardingen Terminal involved retrofitting battery-powered ATEX and IECEx certified valve sensors using a LoRa WAN I-IoT network. The sensors needed to operate over an extended ambient temperature range of -40 to +80 degrees Celsius, as well as consume low power. The network is configured to not send data offsite to ensure cyber security.

Royal Vopak has 68 terminals and more than 250,000 valves in different variations. “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, in the article. From 2017-2019, Vopak is slated to invest EUR 100 million ($112 million) in technology, IT and innovation.

On vessel clearance, operators have traditionally had to manually check against the vessel specifications, terminal infrastructure data and a list of globally recognized embargoed vessels. With Vopak’s digital vessel clearance tool, operators can tap on internal data-driven platforms to automatically clear vessels in just four clicks and can provide customers with up-to-date information on when the terminal can accommodate incoming vessels.

According to the article, this service is now available at all of its four terminals in Singapore. Earlier in 2018, Vopak tested the use of sensors to monitor the health of product pumps and rolled out the use of ATEX-proof mobile devices at the terminals. 

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