Equipment & Technology

Measuring up to the Internet of Things

What happens when critical measurements are combined with the Internet of Things (IoT)? VEGA Australia provides the answer.

What happens when critical measurements are combined with the Internet of Things (IoT)? VEGA Australia provides the answer.

Instrumentation specialist VEGA Australia prides itself on its ability to extract information from level, pressure and density measurement. Now, the company has ventured into the business of making sure that information reaches the right decision makers.

It has done so by joining the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance a network of Industry 4.0 organisations committed to using existing standards and fostering interoperability.

VEGA Australia’s Managing Director John Leadbetter says there are a number of mining companies that don’t have access to all of the on-site information that they’re monitoring.

“A number of industries have this sort of inventory system available, keeping client operations and production going by ensuring their product supply are up to date and useable,” Leadbetter says.

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“These days, everything is done through the Internet. So we came up with an interfacing system that allows them to get information from a remote site.”

Through joining the alliance, VEGA has gained access to a platform that can deliver measuring results to decision makers via the cloud. Decision makers can monitor the condition of a plant, a site or an inventory right on their mobile phone or desktop computer.

A major mining company in Australia, for example, is looking at having information around its inventory and throughput right at its head office to monitor site performance.

Through Industry 4.0 communications technology, decision makers in the head office can now see what is happening at the remote plants and have insight on what’s happening in that operation in real time.

This remote monitoring becomes ever more vital given the travel restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

But Leadbetter says it is not enough to only have and make use of the information. Companies also need to have instruments that are reliable in taking these measurements.

“The advantage of having Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) communication, of course, goes back to the instrument that is doing the measurement and providing the information,” Leadbetter says.

“Two parts that make up IIoT’s effectiveness are the central communication hub, and secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the reliability of the unit that is producing the information.

“Ultimately, the primary role of our business is to make instrumentations for companies. But moving into the 21st century, it’s no longer just about the information but how users get the information.”

Despite advancing technologies, the IIoT platform retains a user-friendly quality. Users can easily draw all the information that has been uploaded from the instrumentations from the cloud.

They can also choose to use either a hosted or non-hosted system. The first option gives VEGA the responsibility to host and maintain the IIoT system and to keep communication running smoothly.

This ability depends on VEGA’s dedicated IT business units in Australia and around the world. These teams deal with companies and address their specific needs.

“It’s something that you grow into. The world changes so you have to come up with different ideas. We’re now using the world’s advanced technology to achieve company objectives,” Leadbetter says.

“We listen to customers, find out what their needs are and customise our solutions to those needs. Not every site wants it, but others do. You’re working in partnership with a customer to improve their business.

“Companies have to work hand in hand to improve their bottom line and throughput. They have commitments and tonnage amounts to fulfil to their customers. By helping their operation run efficiently, you’re helping companies meet their obligations to customers as well.”

VEGA backs its communication offering with a 24/7 support, a global hotline that can give technical assistance whenever a problem arises.

They can gain access to a company’s system remotely with their permission, find the issue and fix it. This support will be delivered in the English language despite VEGA being a German company.

“We don’t just sell the components. We sell the whole solution,” Leadbetter concludes.

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