Temperature-controlled transports: logistics expert RINNEN relies on SAVVY® Telematic Systems solution
Shipping liquid goods that have to be maintained at a certain temperature are a logistics challenge. To monitor temperature-controlled shipments, logistics companies use transport telematics. Sensors continuously measure the temperature of the liquid goods. If there is a critical deviation, drivers receive an alarm notification by radio and can respond accordingly. Transport specialist RINNEN has now gained an even more precise overview of its liquid goods thanks to an innovative SAVVY® Telematic Systems solution.
A family-owned company, RINNEN was established in 1943 in Duisburg. Since the 1970s, the company has been focused on the shipment of liquid bulk goods in tank containers. The logistics company employs about 750 people and has a network of locations across Europe. RINNEN always strives to continue to optimize its services for its customers, which include global players in the chemical sector. This is why the company wanted a better solution for temperature control. Up to now it used sensors installed on the outside of its tank containers. However, these measurements were imprecise because of transmission losses due to the casing. In particular, it was impossible to obtain exact measurement results for products whose temperature deviates only slightly from outside temperatures.
Measuring temperatures directly inside the tank
Each liquid has a temperature range that it must not fall below or exceed, for example from 18 to 40 degrees Celsius. RINNEN wants to provide the highest possible degree of shipment safety to its customers even for products with a narrow temperature range. SAVVY Telematic Systems has provided a solution that does exactly that.
“We have developed a device that measures the temperature inside the tank”, explains Bernhard Weiland, Key Account Manager for the Swiss telematics provider. “A replaceable thermowell with a PT 1000 sensor is inserted into the tank from the top. The sensor is only separated from the liquid by the tube fitting, thereby providing exact measurements.”
The sensor is connected to the SAVVY Sense Gateway-ExR, an ATEX-certified telematics unit installed on the top of the container. The Gateway device communicates via radio with the CargoTrac base unit. The unit sends data to the SAVVY Synergy Enterprise Portal. The web-based platform enables the RINNEN fleet management team to maintain an overview of all transport variables such as current location, temperature, pressure, and container fill level at all times.
Realistic arrival time estimates
SAVVY also provides RINNEN with a seamless tracking&tracing solution. This makes it possible to determine the estimated time of arrival (ETA). Up to now, ETA was calculated and displayed using a telematics system in its own vehicles. The downside: It was not possible to maintain an overview in the case of combined shipments.
“We were able to provide a realistic ETA for the initial and final legs by truck but not during the main leg via rail, inland waterway or sea”, explains Oliver Brucks, Head of Vehicle Fleet Management at RINNEN.”
“SAVVY has enabled us to close this gap. Every 15 minutes, the Cargo-Trac units on the tank containers send out their GPS position to the Synergy Portal, which then calculates the current ETA. This way we can provide our customers with current data when they need to plan their delivery, regardless of whether the containers are located on our trucks or are being shipped with one of our freight partners.”
In the chemical industry, ETA is a key variable. Just-in-time systems are used for a lot of production processes, which is why seamless supply chain coordination is essential.
Exact measurement values for highest safety levels
In a mutual pilot project, RINNEN and SAVVY are working to also determine fill levels even more reliably. To determine if a tank container is full or empty, the logistics company currently relies on on-site data. The ERP system assigns the status “full” or “empty” to a container when it passes through or arrives at certain geographical positions, such as a trans-shipment point, a border crossing or a final destination. For example, the status changes to “empty” as soon as a tank container leaves the point of interest (POI) such as “Factory Customer XY”. However, imprecise information concerning fill levels cannot be completely ruled out with this method because the rules cannot cover all possible POIs. An innovative solution would ensure a higher degree of precision: Instead of deriving the fill levels indirectly from the position data, sensors detect even the smallest deformations in the container reinforcement struts – a reliable indicator of the container's fill level. In addition, other influencing factors are included that could otherwise distort the results if they are not considered. The two companies are developing an algorithm which generates a robust value under consideration of different factors in order to reliably calculate fill levels. With this method RINNEN wants to further increase transport safety. Thanks to the telematic data, the forwarding company has transport statuses constantly under control. If the data deviates from the target values, the software automatically sends alarm notifications to enable drivers and fleet managers to respond immediately. Drivers are connected per tablet with the Synergy Portal, while the managing clerks have access per web-browser on their desktop PC. The alarms can be configured so that designated persons receive email notifications and that others are notified when the first group of people cannot be reached.
Collaboration platform creates transparency
“Our customers need a comprehensive and precise overview of the status of their shipments at all times”, says Oliver Brucks. “We can now meet these expectations even better. Both with regard to temperature as well as ETA we have been able to significantly improve precision and data accessibility thanks to SAVVY.”
In this context, the SAVVY Synergy Portal serves as a collaboration platform. With the aid of this tool, RINNEN can allow customers who so desire to gain direct access to the telematic data. They receive a common user access to simply log on to the portal. At one glance, they can see the current position of the shipments and the estimated arrival time on a map. Data concerning temperature, fill stand etc. are also shown in real-time.
“The customers that already use the portal are delighted”, says Oliver Brucks. “They not only have the benefit of increased transport safety but also improved tracking&tracing. If customs clearance takes longer than usual and delivery is delayed, they know that immediately and can adjust their production plans accordingly. Thanks to the collaboration with SAVVY, a competent and innovative partner, we have added true value for supply-chain-management.”
About SAVVY® Telematic Systems AG
SAVVY® Telematic Systems AG (www.savvy-telematics.com), headquartered in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, is a leader in innovative telematics, sensor and software solutions that make an important contribution to digitisation in the chemical and logistics sectors.
The objective is to increase added value in these companies by means of efficient work and logistics processes. SAVVY® combines high-tech telematics system solutions for use in rail freight wagons, (tank) containers, IBCs, vehicles or machines with sophisticated telematics technology and a process-oriented state-of-the-art portal. The range of products and services also includes extensive process consulting and intelligent process design for all telematics and sensor-based as well as digitising business processes in chemical, industrial and logistics companies.
As of May 2014, SAVVY® is a second-tier subsidiary of the SDAX-listed INDUS Holding Group (www.indus.de). The resulting financial stability is unique on the market and ensures SAVVY® customers’ investments are protected and absolute data management neutrality maintained.