PGA M2M case study
PGA M2M Integrates Cloud-Based TankVista to Deliver ROI-Generating, Plug-and-Play Tank Monitoring Solution
PGA M2M (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) is a leading reseller, systems integrator and services provider dedicated exclusively to the wireless Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and mobile work force automation marketplace in North America’s energy, agriculture and industrial industries. Founded in 2005, the company has built its reputation on leveraging M2M solutions to improve the way businesses monitor and manage tank-related assets and commodities.
Tank monitoring across multiple locations was largely an inefficient, manual, unsafe and inaccurate process; most automated solutions require expensive to take raw tank sensor data and translate into actionable information, graphics and maps.
PGA M2M integrated a sophisticated package of plug-and-play M2M tank monitoring solutions, featuring New Boundary Technologies’ TankVista® for Internet-based tank data analysis and reporting.
PGA M2M established as clear-cut pioneer in wireless M2M for energy, agriculture and industrial industries; immediate productivity and efficiency gains for clients, with hard ROI in less than one year.
Describing New Boundary Technologies & TankVista:
Comprehensive, Seamless, “The Difference-Maker”
“It’s astonishing how most organizations monitor their tanks and bins, if they do at all,” said Peter Stunden, president of PGA M2M. “It’s essentially a manual process that’s time-consuming and yields less than accurate daily measurements – putting workers’ safety and thin product margins at risk.”
Specifically, most organizations with tank-based operations – take a dry fertilizer supplier for example – have tanks and bins spread out miles apart. To measure tank levels, it’s common to have a worker climb up a bin and knock on its side to determine content levels. During high-demand seasons, such as spring growing season, this process is repeated as many as eight times a day for every tank, a time-consuming and cumbersome process. The manual bin level measurement is then converted into a useful measurement number, such as metric tons, and placed into a local spreadsheet. This spreadsheet is then sent to a regional or head office for further interpretation.
The measuring procedure is dangerous and consumes valuable time during the busy season. It’s also prone to errors that can lead to inventory miscalculations and inventory write-offs at year-end. The conversion process, data re-keying into spreadsheets and emailing data from office-to-office also can introduce errors and lead to unnecessary delays and inventory adjustments.
PGA M2M’s automated, wireless tank/bin monitoring solution is an integrated set of M2M technologies, including products from industry-leading sensor manufacturers, Digi International and New Boundary Technologies.
Sensors, such as BinMaster® Level Controls’ mechanical SmartBob sensors, are used to accurately measure tank/bin levels. PGA M2M also delivers laser and acoustic 3D, radar and ultrasonic sensors.
Digi International’s iDigiTankÔ solution includes hardware, hosted software and services to wirelessly connect remote tank assets and sensors, and upload raw tank data into the cloud without requiring onsite Internet access. New Boundary Technologies’ TankVista translates raw tank sensor data into actionable information, graphics and maps – accessible from any web browser for near real-time data analysis and reporting. The combined solution is highly scalable, with no limit on the number of tanks that can be networked.
“We are one of the few system integrators with such a comprehensive, automated M2M solution for remote tank monitoring,” said Stunden. “In many ways, TankVista is the ‘difference maker.’ It’s the only off-the-shelf, cloud-based solution that eliminates the need to create a custom software application to translate raw tank data into information that’s timely and useful.”
Launched in December 2009, TankVista is a web-based service that allows access to tank/bin information – tank level, temperature, pressure, humidity, etc. – from any computer with an Internet connection. Accurate bin level data is then available across the organization spanning operations, sales and finance, regardless of retail or regional location.
TankVista’s intuitive, easy-to-use interface features a built-in mapping feature that shows tank locations and conditions to streamline tank servicing and inventory management.
Other key TankVista features:
- Automatic email/cell phone alerts when tank conditions meet user-defined thresholds and require servicing.
- Advanced reporting maintains tank condition history for operational analysis and regulatory compliance.
- End-to-end encryption and authentication technologies ensure continual data security.
- Open architecture permits seamless integration with other M2M technologies.
“As a system integrator, the hosted nature of TankVista is critical; I or my customers never have to worry about installing or maintaining the software. New Boundary Technologies handles it all,” added Stunden.
Companies are under intense pressure to improve and optimize processes to better manage worker safety, price and margin, market demand, competitive differentiation, and field operations visibility.
Driven by the addition of TankVista to its solution set, PGA M2M has established itself as a clear-cut pioneer in wireless M2M tank monitoring deployments.
Case-in-point: a leading North American, full-service distributor of liquid and dry fertilizer called on PGA M2M to deliver an automated M2M bin monitoring solution that could automate business processes and measure dry fertilizer levels (e.g., potash, urea, sulfur, etc.) across 32 retail locations.
- Rapid deployment: weeks not months to get up and running.
- Reduced health and safety risks by eliminating the need for workers to climb bins and measure contents.
- Improved worker productivity by freeing up manual bin measurement time.
- Instant and accurate measurement and reporting: greater than 95 percent accuracy.
- Improved inventory management by identifying inventory errors when they occur and better predicting when new inventory is needed.
- Improved customer service by ensuring sufficient product levels.
- Planned expanded rollout across additional fertilizer distribution locations.
PGA M2M’s solution featuring TankVista delivers comparable benefits when applied to crude oil tank monitoring – including improved sales margins since companies can lower hauling and de-sanding costs by monitoring water, oil and sediment levels more efficiently and accurately, and then more appropriately deploy transport or maintenance services.
“With PGA M2M and TankVista, there’s no more uncertainty. No more unnecessary travel. You just flat out have instant access to the information you need to know to better manage your storage tanks,” said Stunden. “Companies will see immediate productivity and efficiency gains, and experience hard ROI in less than one year. New Boundary Technologies and TankVista put PGA M2M and our customers in complete control over tank monitoring operations.”