Remote monitoring that covers vast factories! Enables labor-saving patrols eliminating the travel to the site
Major steel manufacturer in Japan
Smart Factory Business
Introduced Solutions and Products
Cloud network camera using LTE line (TMF's LTE cloud network camera)
This is an application example at a major steel manufacturer in Japan.
The steel manufacturing site is vast with various facilities and equipment scattered throughout. The monitoring staff had to go to the site for inspection or when any abnormality was found in facilities and equipment, which was time-consuming and labor-intensive. However, it was difficult cost-wise to install a wired LAN to every corner of the vast site.
The company was able to solve the issue by adopting the solution we proposed. Now it is possible to operate a real-time remote monitoring system using network cameras as requested by the customer.
What particular approaches were provided to solve the issue?
Background and Issues Before the Introduction and Effects After the Introduction
Background and Issues
- The site area is vast and it is difficult to install a network camera system using a wired (LAN) network
- LTE lines have low bandwidth in which regular network cameras cannot transmit clear and fluid video at all times
- The video that can be transmitted and received is of inadequate quality, choppy, stops frequently, or has a delay, making it unacceptable for constant use at the site
- When problems arise, it takes time to drive from the management office to the site (takes 10 to 30 minutes by car). Some sites require an hour just to drive there and back
- Unable to retroactively know details when a problem occurs
- Network cameras were installed without location restrictions
- Transmission of video data became possible even at low bandwidths, which enabled viewing of high-quality images without delay
- Cameras could be monitored in multiple locations simultaneously, which enabled monitoring of site details from the operation room and establishing of a system that can respond immediately in an emergency
- Viewing and synchronizing multiple cameras together enabled analysis of the cause of an accident in a way that was not possible before
- Cameras were installed in places where they could not be installed before, which enabled remote monitoring without having to enter dangerous areas (improved safety and work safety)
- Retroactive video details can be obtained at the time a problem occurs
Path to Solving the Issue
Background and Issues
The customer’s request was to install a network camera system to remotely monitor the site for monitoring the factory in real time. However, due to the vast size of the site, wiring LAN was practically impossible, which inhibited the installation of cameras. (High labor and cost)
Furthermore, the customer wanted to install a remote camera system that could be easily and inexpensively installed without the constraints of location.
We proposed the installation of cloud network cameras (TMF’s LTE cloud network cameras) using LTE lines, which are wireless with no need for wired LAN and very easy to install since it only requires a power supply.
Moreover, an ultra-low bandwidth, ultra-low latency, and high image quality real-time remote monitoring system was achieved using LTE lines, which are much more inexpensive than 5G.
Key Points for Issue Solving
This was the customer’s first installation of a cloud network camera system. It took time for the client to go through the internal security screening process to manage the video data in the cloud.
Therefore, we assisted the client in setting up the security screening criteria including what standards should be established.
In addition, we introduced a demo unit before the full-scale introduction of the system to eliminate any concerns the customer had in introducing the system for the first time. A major point of this project was that we were able to appeal the advantages of the proposed solution to the customer by knowing, using, and experiencing the system by themselves.
Key Points that Were Highly Valued
- Easy and simple installation of network cameras
- Cameras can be installed in locations difficult to see
- Labor-saving patrols are possible without going to the site
What do “ultra-low bandwidth and ultra-low latency” indicate?
On-site video solutions are required to provide high-definition and full high-definition ultra-clear video with ultra-low latency to show events occurring in the field in near-real-time (approximately 0.5-second delay).
Bandwidth in digital communications is generally measured in “bps” or “b/s,” which represents how many bits can be transferred per second.
The wider the bandwidth, the more information can be transferred. Ultra-low bandwidth uses a technology that requires significantly small communication bandwidth.
Normally, the data volume of high-definition video is large to the extent that it is not suitable for real-time monitoring due to video delays and stoppages when transmitted via LTE. However, our proprietary technology can compress the data volume to about 1/10 to 1/20 (100 to 250 kbps), making it possible to transmit ultra-sharp video in near real-time over an LTE line at a much lower cost than 5G.
Through this approach, we have achieved an end-to-end turnkey solution (a product that can be delivered and be immediately operated) that is remarkably innovative in the world of video technology.
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Smart Factory Business
The first step toward a "smart factory" at the production site is the visualization of the factory.