Issue 54

What is TraQ? Tracking Quality: Sensor-based monitoring of products

Ioana Lăzărescu
Team Leader, Industry 4.0 Sensor Service Center @ Bosch Engineering Center Cluj

What not so many people know, especially in Romania, is that Bosch stands for much more than refrigerators and drilling machines. For example, the main theme for us this year is: Simply Connected. What does this stand for? It stands for intelligent and connected solutions split across four categories: Connected Mobility, Smart Home, Smart City and Industry 4.0. The company offers not only a variety of products, but also a variety of solutions, which help consumers lead convenient, efficient and secure lives.

In this article, I want to briefly present one solution, developed within our Industry 4.0 Project for which developers from our Engineering Center in Cluj contributed to a great extent: TraQ – Tracking Quality.

Transport packaging is furnished with integrated sensors that are connected to the Bosch IoT Cloud. They continuously record data that are relevant for product quality, such as temperature, shocks or humidity. The sensors transmit this data via the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol, to the IoT Cloud which evaluates quality-related incidents along the supply chain. Users are alerted in real time, and the supply chain partners can immediately initiate countermeasures. Furthermore, the arrival time can be estimated „live”, based on the position data monitored during transportation.

The main benefits of the solution are: real-time transparency along the supply chain for optimized transport and improved supply chain risk management, continuous transport documentation for conformance with compliance regulations and for enhanced complaints management, systematic incoming inspection of goods for improved quality management and avoidance of failure costs.

For the logistics application, such as the TraQ, several aspects of the sensor devices are relevant and can be used entirely, or partially, depending on the relevant information needed for the different types of goods or depending on the different means of transportion. For example, for monitoring the condition of goods, we provide one sensor node, using a CortexM microcontroller, which can deliver information related to: temperature, humidity and air pressure (mostly needed for detection of quality relevant events), high-precision acceleration (schock), inclination and vibration detection (used for identification of accidents and damages), light sensor as a means of countering theft or ensuring access protection, acoustic waves or magnetic fields. Moreover, in addition to the environmental data, GPS (using ublox solutions ), GSM (based on an M2M SIM-card) or WLAN can be used for the localisation of goods. In addition, an EM RFID chip can be used for the identification and the transmission of status towards the gates. In addition, this is also useful for the long-term monitoring of the data needed for special transports such as: air freight, truck transport, ocean freight or multimodal transports. For all these, we offer long-lasting batteries which can run for more than 100 days: rechargeable batteries, power pack as extensions or permanently charged batteries via USB. The housing of the sensor nodes is manageable for multiple applications (box/bin KLT, plaette, etc.) and they are proven durable against dust, water or oil.

Based on the online available data, as well as on the historical data, our Data Analytics Team is able to provide the means for real-time monitoring, faster and better reaction against failures, prediction of events, data driven support for problem solving. Our solutions range from simple visual analytics to complex prediction models.

Thus, the complete supply chain is interconnected, from the supplier, up to the packaging stage, down to the ware-housing and dispatching departements, and finally to the end user, by having an end-to-end tracking and tracing of quality-relevant parameters and the online information on transports and goods in transit, together with near real-time alerts.




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