TSS was able to intervene immediately after a short circuit alarm
Shortened emergency response times and optimised use of hybrid solar systems with Cloud Notify
TSS has extensive, global experience designing and delivering reliable and high performance autonomous solar power solutions. These systems are usually situated in remote locations with limited access, which makes it difficult to monitor and resolve any problems.
Sébastien Robert, project and innovation engineer at TSS, tells us more about how they have optimised their systems with the help of Cloud Notify and Cloud Logging.
"When a short circuit
occurred, we immediately
received an alarm"
Sébastien Robert, Project Engineer TSS
TSS initially started looking for a remote access solution. TSS wanted to gain more insight into their systems, which are often situated at remote and hard to reach locations. “We want to learn how exactly our systems behave, to find out if and how we can improve them in the future,” Sébastien explains. The gathering of machine data plays an enormous role in TSS’s drive to continuously improve and optimise their products.
TSS came across IXON during the Industrial Ethernet Event. The focus quickly shifted from remote access to data logging. Sébastien explains: “With Cloud Logging we can gather data. We don’t share all data with the customer as some information is only important for us.” TSS gathers machine data which allows them to monitor and analyse their systems. However, it did not help TSS quickly respond to failures and ad-hoc problems.
In December 2018, TSS received IXON’s Christmas promotion which offered one free Cloud Notify license to test the new IXON Cloud feature. “We didn’t use Cloud Notify prior to this, but saw it as a great opportunity to get started,” says Sébastien. “We’re very happy with our decision so far.”
With the help of IXON’s support page, it was easy to set up alarms. TSS now receives notifications about various important events of their solar power systems..
"As soon as too much energy is consumed, we receive a notification"
Sébastien Robert, Project Engineer TSS
An example of such a notification? During the day, the energy from the sunlight is stored in batteries that supply the systems with energy at night. TSS has built in all kinds of safeguards which are monitored by alarms. “These are alarms regarding, among others, the voltage of the battery,” Sébastien explains. “A battery consumes 20% of its energy per day and should be able to provide energy for five nights if the battery doesn’t get recharged during the day. As soon as too much energy is consumed, we receive a notification.”
After receiving such notifications, TSS examines the problem with the gathered machine data using Cloud Logging and solves any issues. With the help of Cloud Notify, TSS also monitors the systems’ efficiency. The maintenance of solar panels is crucial in order to guarantee efficiency. “Over time, these panels get dirty, which negatively affects its efficiency,” says Sébastien. “We have now set an alarm which notifies us that the solar panels have to be cleaned when they have reached low efficiency.” If a customer doesn’t respond it will eventually lead to lower battery capacity.
Customers are now given targeted advice to make optimum use of their solar power systems.
The customer eventually wants a reliable system. As a result, operational costs can be reduced considerably. “Therefore, it is crucial that alarms are prevented,” Sébastien observes. Cloud Notify has already yielded its first results.
In Oman, TSS has a hybrid solar power system which is supported by diesel generators. A short circuit occurred due to a faulty connection after some maintenance activities were performed. “We immediately received an alarm,” Sébastien says. Later they received another valuable notification from the same system. “The generator kept malfunctioning and wouldn’t turn on anymore. TSS immediately received a notification about this via Cloud Notify. From the logged data we could trace what went wrong and were able to replace the defect part in time,” Sébastien describes. In cooperation with the supplier, and with the help of Cloud Logging data, TSS managed to localise the problem and resolve it.
TSS has drawn up a clear multi-year plan in which IXON plays a major role. “We want to be more competitive in our market and offer cheaper systems that function optimally,” says Sébastien. “However, to be able to determine how we can develop them better we’ll need data that’s in our operating systems. We believe that’s the future, but the customer first has to be convinced that it’s the right direction too.”