Improving the Transportation of Industrial Equipment through an ICT Solution
Asier San Nicolás, Ignacio Angulo, Asier Perallos and Nekane Sainz
Deusto Institute of Technology - DeustoTech, University of Deusto, Avenida de las Universidades 24, 48007, Bilbao, Spain
Keywords: Goods traceability, Transportation of industrial equipment, Fleet management, Incidence recovery.
Abstract: This paper describes an ICT solution for real-time tracking and fleet management which can be applied in
distribution of industrial equipments, in order to improve the traceability of such goods. The solution
includes a support sys-tem for the driver that is capable of reporting the route that has to be followed and
notifying incidences that occur during the trip, resolving them as soon as possible. A first prototype has
been developed and its functionality validated through a simple test case. In addition, future actions to
improve the system are shown.
In few years, logistics processes have improved
substantially resulting in an increase of the
productivity, competitiveness and quality of
services, through new technologies (Cleland, 2007).
There are three main industries: agricultural,
pharmaceutical and the unexplored sector of the
distribution and transportation of equipments where
traceability, as well as the capacity to get an efficient
fleet management, route planning and incidences
recovery, will increase the productivity of the
manufacture companies.
The result of the work described in this paper is
an ICT solution for real-time tracking and fleet
management which can be applied in the
transportation and distribution of manufacture
equipment. This innovative solution is able to
manage routes, as well as onboard support to the
carriers, enabling an agile response to incidences. In
following sections the related work, the context as
well as its functional requirements, technical
description, challenges and innovative contributions
are presented to end with a prototype and some
results obtained in a test scenario.
The importance of tracking goods has reached such
a point that is being regulated by law in some
countries. For example in Europe, Regulation
178/2002. This is one of the reasons because most of
the projects about tracking are focused on the food
industry, the Trace FP6 project or those ones based
on RFID technology and described in (Abad, 2009);
(Kelepouris, 2007); (Manikas, 2009). There are
other critical sectors as the pharmaceutical one.
Thus, the PharmaX initiative is proposed to shed
light on the pharmaceutical traceability and overall-
process regulation, (Huang, 2010). Other related
challenge is the use of ICT to improve logistic
processes in intermodal transportation, as is being
done in TIMI project.
When performing, they are seeking the following
benefits: processes automation, turnover increase,
and stock management improvement (Bertolini,
2010). Other sectors are for example, Galeria
Kaufhod in retail clothing market using RFID to
automate logistics processes of the store, (Al-
Kassab, 2010) and Dell Company who changed
from barcodes to RFID (Crowl, 2006).
The transportation of industrial equipment has
some additional technological challenges to be
faced, such as interoperability with manufacturing
information systems, real-time fleet and goods
traceability, management and monitoring of the
route and job actions, providing of onboard
information to carriers, and real-time incidence
management and recovery. The result of our work is
an ICT solution with real-time tracking capacities
for improving the incidence recovery timing in the
transportation of industrial equipments.
San Nicolás A., Angulo I., Perallos A. and Sainz N..
REAL-TIME TRACKING AND INCIDENCES MANAGEMENT - Improving the Transportation of Industrial Equipment through an ICT Solution.
DOI: 10.5220/0003498402100213
In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Software and Database Technologies (ICSOFT-2011), pages 210-213
ISBN: 978-989-8425-76-8
2011 SCITEPRESS (Science and Technology Publications, Lda.)
The scope of the project covers all the stages
included in the distribution process of industrial
equipment. At this point, functionalities, (Figure 1),
and its technical implementation are described.
Load Part #8311882
SMC Fo un dr y
Load Part
Load Part
GF Group Industrial Plant
Deal Pa rt
Load Part
Load Part
Abandeo Wind Farm
Assemble Parts
Deal Pa rt
Arrival at depot
Figure 1: Architecture of the proposed solution.
3.1 Planning, Route Monitoring and
Job Actions Management
The planning server receives information about the
pieces that will be needed to transport. This is done
by integrating our server with the Product Data
Management (PDM) system. The integration is done
using SOAP messages to a web service developed
for the PDM system. As result, the planning server
can get information about the materials needed for
each task, their physical characteristics, the place of
collection and delivery, and all actions needed for
final assembly of parts. This information is used to
generate truck routes. The actions included are the
collection or loading of materials, unloading and
subsequent assembly and installation of different
components that make up each end equipment, so as
maintenance activities required by them. Once
established the routes through a simple algorithm,
these are sent to the staff by the “carriers supporting
device” to be executed in the shortest possible time.
This route is stored in what has been called a route
document, which is an XML with a unique identifier
that includes hierarchically the stops on the route,
the actions to be carried out at each stop and parts
involved in every action. Both route points as
actions are displayed in the order they should be
performed. It should be mentioned that after
delivering it to each vehicle it can be dynamically
altered during the course if it is necessary.
Any transfer of information between planning
server and each onboard device will be carried out
by sharing and updating this document.
3.2 Fleet Online Tracking and
Traceability of Parts
The document with the route and list of actions is
stored in an onboard mobile device, implemented on
a smart phone. This device is responsible for sending
periodically the position of each vehicle, so all
vehicles can be monitored through a basic real-time
fleet tracking system as well as storing routes
performed by each vehicle for further analysis.
Moreover, all the parts handled by the system are
labeled with an RFID tag that allows tracking and
ensures the proper selection of the different parts
involved in each job action. Traceability of the parts
is performed by the carrier with the help of a
portable RFID reader. The information stored by the
tracking system can locate the source of each piece
installed in an equipment and the current location of
each piece supplied.
3.3 Carriers Supporting Device
Each employee responsible for a vehicle has a
mobile which hosts a resident application, with
driving support to reach each stop on the route
established, and which shows the list of job actions
to be carried out at each point, the parts or materials
involved in a particular action, and allows validating
the implementation of these actions through the
traceability system. In addition, through GPS,
system notices the driver when is arriving to a point
of the route, helping him find the place.
3.4 Incidences Management
The system distinguishes between manual incidence
(required by a worker) and automatic (directly sent
by the mobile device); and from emergency
incidence, which must be notified immediately to
the planning server, or informative because it does
not significantly affect how the transport service is
done. When materials are being recorded by RFID
and a product that should not be read is registered
(part is not included in the route document) or when
concluding an activity without validating document
specifications, an automatic incidence is generated
and written in the XML file, indicating the details
and where it has occurred. Apart from this, the
application allows writing an incidence manually by
the driver himself filling out a simple form. If in this
form the incidence is marked as urgent, it is sent to
REAL-TIME TRACKING AND INCIDENCES MANAGEMENT - Improving the Transportation of Industrial Equipment
through an ICT Solution
the scheduler at the time. In these cases the
scheduler can plan again the route of one or more
trucks, shorten the route of the truck concerned or
just do nothing.
In order to validate the system developed, a test
route has been created for a truck with 3 stops:
Gamesa, Acciona WindPower and WindFarm “La
Muela”, which must initially be accessed
sequentially. At each stop, a number of actions must
be made: in Gamesa, to charge 3 turbines of type A
and a propeller blade of type A; in Acciona
WindPower, to discharge the propeller blade of type
A and to charge two propeller blades of type B and
one turbine of type B; finally, in WindFarm “La
Muela”, to discharge 3 turbines of type A, one
turbine of type B and two propeller blades of type B.
See the route details in Table 1.
This route will test the basic functionality of the
current system: communication platform, fleet and
foods tracking, on board support information, and
incidence detection. Other capacities, such as
intelligent planning of routes and job actions, will be
developed and tested in the future.
Table 1: The initial route, its location coordinates and the
job actions Numbers in brackets represent the units
Place Long. Lat. Act. Parts
-2.8587 43.2855
C / C Turbine A(3)/
Blade A (1)
-1.6391 42.6119
D/C/C Blade A (1)/
Turbine B (1)/
Blade B (2)
Farm -1.1575 41.5930
D/D/D Turbine A(3)/
Turbine B(1)/
Blade B (2)
C:Charge. D:discharge
Once the carrier is authenticated by the mobile
solution, the route of Table 1 is downloaded from
the Planning Server. Once route is shown by the
mobile application, transport service starts driving to
the first destination. Fig. 2 shows how the Planning
Server is receiving positioning from each vehicle.
When vehicle approaches the desired place
(Gamesa), the location icon in the mo-bile
application changes of color and warns us. Once in
destination, the driver chooses the option “Actions
TODO” in the application menu. After choosing the
action “Charge”, mobile device establishes
Bluetooth connection with the RFID reader and
records appropriate part IDs (turbines of type A and
propeller blade of type A) to complete the action.
Figure 4 shows the user interface of the mobile
application which enables to perform the
functionalities described above.
Once all actions assigned in the first stop are
correctly performed, carrier drives to the second one,
Acciona WindPower, where two actions are
planned. The first one, which is discharge a
propeller blade of type A, is performed validating
the RFID code. And in the second action, which
should be charging one turbine of type B and two
propeller blades of type B, RFID reader only
registers two propeller blades, so when employee
ends this action, the application will alert him
indicating that some materials are missing.
Figure 2: Initial planned route and tracking position.
Figure 3: Carrier support mobile application.
Accepting this issue, an automatic incidence is
automatically sent to the Planning Server. The route
will be changed by adding an additional stop where
retrieve lost (see Figure 4).
This route is sent to our mobile device and with
the updated route we can continue the job. Now we
ICSOFT 2011 - 6th International Conference on Software and Data Technologies
have a new stop (Eólicas Riojanas, S.L.) where we
have to collect the material we needed (one turbine
of type B). Thus, arriving at WindFarm “La Muela”,
we can discharge all the components we have.
After finishing the test we can conclude that we
obtain the expected results, detecting incidences in
real time and minimizing the time needed to manage
Figure 5: Route changed: an additional stop.
The result of our current work is an ICT solution
with real-time tracking capacities for improving the
incidence recovery timing in the transportation of
industrial equipments. It is considered an innovative
solution because it faces technological challenges
concerning to this transport, such as interoperability
with manufacturing information systems, real-time
fleet and goods traceability, management of the
route and job operations, onboard information to
carriers, and real-time incidence management and
recovery. Now, a first prototype has been
successfully validated.
The current implementation of the system uses
passive RFID tags that should be verified by a
portable HF RFID reader which connects to the
mobile device by simply sending ID codes of the
RFID tags. These passive tags can be replaced by
active ones which can store more information and
improve the reach of the reader. In that way, the
employee does not have to validate each individual
piece with the portable RFID reader, but can
perform the tasks of loading and unloading of
materials being automatically validated.
Consequently the traceability of goods can be
carried out in a non-intrusive way (without
modifying the behavior of transport staff). This will
made the system portable to other areas such as rail
or pharmaceutical. Other important aspect of future
work must be to improve the way in which the
planning of the routes and job actions is done,
because a non-automatic process is used in this
moment. A higher level of automation in the task of
rescheduling, based-on the use of Artificial
Intelligence techniques, is a desirable issue.
This work has been funded by the Ministry of
Industry, Tourism and Trade of Spain under Avanza
funding program (Grant TSI-020100-2008-582).
Special thanks to Avangroup Business Solutions,
S.L. for their support.
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REAL-TIME TRACKING AND INCIDENCES MANAGEMENT - Improving the Transportation of Industrial Equipment
through an ICT Solution