More controlled and efficient distribution networks
In recent years, with reference to the monitoring of physical parameters of transport and distribution network, technological solutions IoT (Internet of Things) have been sought in order to bring benefits both in terms of energy savings, through a reduction in the size o the batteries and the device, both improving communication thanks to the improved penetrability of the new NB-IoT (Narrow Band) communication networks. This new design method has allowed a further advantage: acquiring data through the use of standard, open protocols that can be easily integrated into the main telecontrol and telemetry platforms. In the case examined here, we would like to draw attention to how the need to monitor low-pressure gas networks was met with an IoT solution designed specifically for this purpose.
The challenge: technological solutions for Northern Italy
Onyax, an innovative start-up with experience in electronic design, has dedicated itself to research in the IoT field, experimenting and testing various technological solutions and producing a series of extremely flexible and useful products in the field of monitoring physical quantities in the network, such as operating pressure.
RetiPiù, a leading company among gas and energy distributors in Northern Italy, has anticipated the times, activating a specific order to Onyax for the realisation in Brianza, Italy, of the first network bottom pressure monitoring system using IoT technology.
Thanks to this synergy during 2019, TUBE-T3 was born, the first pressure monitoring device that is extremely compact and fully realised by exploiting the latest and available IoT technologies.
TUBE-T3: small size, simple installation
The first design constraint was to meet precise requirements in terms of size and ease of installation. Therefore, the first objective sought by Onyax was to create a product that could be installed directly in a road “shell”, which simplifies the plumbing work and the size of the site as much as possible and makes installation as easy as connecting a utility.
The second objective was to respond to a maximum simplification of the installation of the product. In fact, no electrical or cabling operations or configuration is required, and all checking operations are managed through the use of an app for smartphones, connected to TUBE-T3 via Bluetooth.
The last requirement to which TUBE-T3 responded is that of interoperability and standardisation of the communication protocol, i.e. the ability to dialogue with different platforms, without any special configuration and integration activities.
RetiPiù was thus able to experiment with IoT technology, well in advance of other distributors, and understood the benefits of this new technological frontier.
Better results with certified IoT solutions
The simplicity of installation allowed RetiPiù an easy deployment of the TUBE-T3 monitoring solution in Brianza, verifying from the very first bars, the simplicity of installation and the reduced time required to carry out the work.
Thanks to this installation and the possibility of remote update, it was possible from the very beginning, to introduce continuous improvements, which allowed the product to immediately reach a technical-functional maturity, which with standard technologies, would have taken much longer.
TUBE-T3’s functionalities have also allowed it to be compliant with technical recommendation TR 11631:2016 and the recent resolution 569/19/R/GAS in addition to the ATEX directive in the area of potentially explosive environments.
Technology in synergy with business management systems
The innovative approach adopted by RetiPiù, which has introduced IoT solutions in its telecontrol and telemetry processes, anticipates a concrete vision of the near future, as technologies and solutions will be increasingly oriented towards implementing simple and cost-effective objects for information management and acquisition processes.
“The ease of integration and interoperability of the TUBE-T3 solution” – explains Massimo De Filippi, Technical Services Manager at RetiPiù – ”quickly enabled the connection of the telemetry network with the company’s management systems (SAP), creating a single control platform for monitoring, predictive analysis and preventive management of activities and work orders.”
Thanks to experiences like this, Onyax is projected to become a reference point in the market, as a disseminator of IoT solutions for the monitoring of water, gas and energy transport networks, ready to respond at a technological level, to requests that until recently were considered complex.