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Bosch is digitalizing construction sites

Interconnected sensors enhance efficiency and utilization rates of vehicle fleets

  • The IoT solution Bosch TRACI locates vehicles on construction sites and farms
  • Wait, search, and transportation times are kept to a minimum
  • Data transmitted by the sensors helps improve processes, decision making, and machinery utilization
  • Energy-saving communication via the LoRaWAN network
TRACI Bosch

It is a real headache, as well as a potential cause of delay, when vehicles such as excavators or dump trucks cannot be located on huge construction sites. Where exactly are my vehicles? And how many hours have they been in operation? It is questions like these that fleet operators in the construction industry and agricultural sector have to be able to answer if they want to deploy their vehicles as efficiently as possible. This is where the Bosch asset tracing solution – or Bosch TRACI for short – comes into its own. The robust, IoT-based connectivity solution can be easily retrofitted to existing vehicles. “Bosch TRACI provides all the relevant data needed to enhance the efficiency and utilization rate of any vehicle fleet,” says Jan Philipp Büchner, the product manager responsible for Bosch TRACI. “It helps keep wait, search, and transportation times to a minimum.” The Bosch solution comprises a sensor box, cloud-based evaluation software, and a wide array of digital services.

Improvements through tracking

Productivity growth is substantially lower in the construction industry than elsewhere, and the reasons for this include the growing difficulty of keeping track of all pieces of machinery on increasingly larger and more complex building projects. Bosch TRACI helps improve how much the machinery is used, while speeding up the process of materials distribution. Every vehicle is first equipped with a Bosch TRACI tag, a compact sensor box with its own power supply that captures the vehicle’s position, state of motion, as well as a lot of other data.

The data is encrypted and transmitted via a LoRaWAN network to the Bosch IoT cloud, where it is decrypted. Customers and users can then access the sensor data, integrating it into their existing software systems for logistics, scheduling, and operations planning. Of course, the data can also be visualized directly on a smartphone app or in a web browser.

Keeping tabs on vehicle fleets and machinery

In agricultural scenarios, Bosch’s asset tracing solution dovetails with existing agricultural machinery systems as well as with the sensor-based monitoring solutions provided by the Bosch startup Deepfield. It can also be used to record the operating hours of coupled machines (such as seeding machines without an independent power supply) and to determine when the operators should be reminded of important maintenance work. That can substantially lower the risk of breakdowns and expensive repairs. Bosch’s Connected Agriculture platform ensures an easy exchange of data and trouble-free interaction with existing Bosch solutions.

Robust, long-lasting, versatile

During Bosch TRACI’s development, special emphasis was placed not only on data security and ease of integration, but also on the need to withstand rough ambient conditions on construction sites and farm fields. Bosch TRACI tags are tested to meet such stringent tightness requirements that the machines on which they are installed can be cleaned with high-pressure jets of steam. The tags are also especially resistant to shock and liquids.

In typical applications, the service life of a sensor is three to six years. That can be extended to ten years if the measurement and transmission intervals for sensor data are reduced. The sensor’s clever software algorithms achieve this, for example, by limiting the capture of positional data to situations in which the sensor is moved. High levels of robustness and a long service life also point to potential use cases in other markets. Deployed in smart-city scenarios, for instance, the sensors can make the management of local-government vehicles and technology easier. They can capture movements in infrastructure such as power pylons, enabling fatigue and damage to be detected in good time. In open- cut mines, they can serve to check the condition of machinery and conveyor belts so that maintenance work can be performed as needed.

LoRaWAN – a cost-efficient, energy-saving network

Bosch TRACI uses the LoRaWAN (long-range wide-area network) IoT wireless network. The development of this standard is being promoted by the LoRa Alliance. The standard allows users to set up their own networks, in similar fashion to a wi-fi network at home. Unlike wi-fi, a LoRa network has a range of several kilometers, but with lower bandwidths. Nonetheless, these bandwidths are more than adequate for the data the Bosch TRACI tag transmits. There are also publicly accessible LoRaWAN networks run by commercial operators. Like existing mobile networks, these collect and transmit data from LoRa sensors. Virtually seamless LoRaWAN networks are already in place in France, Switzerland, and the Benelux countries, and a public one is under construction in Germany. Bosch is already working together with several providers in these countries, and can offer its customers the option of using such public networks for its TRACI solution. Bosch TRACI can also be utilized in The Things Network, an open, community-based initiative that invites everyone to form part of a global IoT network and make use of it themselves. As of early 2018, there were over 3,400 LoRa stations in operation in more than 80 countries.

Tags: TRACI, IoT, fleet

About Bosch

Bosch has been present in Belgium since 1907. The Bosch Group employs approximately 1,644 employees in Belgium. The main sites are located in Tienen, Brussels and Mechelen. The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 400,500 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2017). According to preliminary figures, the company generated sales of 78 billion euros in 2017. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT company, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, smart cities, connected mobility, and connected industry. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to create solutions for a connected life, and to improve quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 450 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 125 locations across the globe, Bosch employs 62,500 associates in research and development.

 

The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

Additional information is available online at www.bosch.be, www.bosch.nl, www.bosch.com, iot.bosch.com, www.bosch-press.com, www.twitter.com/BoschPresse, www.linkedin.com/company/bosch-the-netherlands, www.linkedin.com/company/bosch-belgium, www.twitter.com/BoschBelgium, www.twitter.com/BoschNederland

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