Not long ago, a major player in the commercial laundry and workforce uniform industry came to us with a few concerns dealing with their detergent and chemical tanks. They wanted to improve safety standards for their employees, and increase their efficiency with managing their chemical inventory. We knew we could help them do just that with our remote sensing solution.
In order to keep track of their chemical inventory, their employees had to climb on top of the tanks and look inside to make a visual evaluation of the liquid level. Our client realized that this was a hazard. What if an employee fell off of the tank and got injured? Likewise, the personnel from the chemical vendor were also checking inventory this way. Since the vendor personnel were on their premises, our customer was liable for their safety as well.
In addition to their concerns for the safety of their employees and vendor personnel, they knew that there had to be a more efficient way of managing their inventory of chemicals. They wanted a monitoring system that would pay for itself.
When they approached us with these issues we recommended that they take a look at one of our Tank Cloud remote monitoring sensors, the LOE ultrasonic. This sensor connects directly to the Internet via an Ethernet cable. This way they could access the level readings of their chemical tanks from any computer, smart phone, or tablet.
However, with over a hundred locations, and at least 3 tanks per location, our customer needed a solution built for small tank farms. It was a perfect fit for the Tank Cloud remote sensing platform.
Using Modbus protocol, an LOE can become a master sensor that queries our less expensive slave sensors – the MNU ultrasonic sensors. By wiring the sensors in a daisy chain, all of the tank level readings can be transmitted through one LOE and a single Internet connection. Once connected, all tank levels are accessible online through our secure data portal. In addition, the customer can set up notifications to be sent to key personnel when inventory gets low.
While the installation requires a little wiring, the daisy chain is very easy to install – reducing both implementation costs and long-term expenses.
A Custom Addition
Even though the LOE and MNU remote sensing system was able to solve our customer’s major concerns, they had one more request. They also wanted a local indication so their employees could check the readings on a display mounted nearby the tank. Instead of recommending a traditional PLC or panel meter, we quickly developed a simple and inexpensive display, the MND, that could be wired easily in to the daisy chain. We were able to develop and provide this solution quickly since we based its design on advances we had recently made with our controllers.
So by taking advantage of the benefits that come with Modbus protocol and the daisy chain, we were able to provide our customer a low cost solution for both implementation and long-term data fees. Most importantly, our customer was able to reduce their inventory costs and ensure employee safety.