Protecting the industrial workplace
If the past year’s massive restrictions on everything from work and travel to basic human interaction have taught us anything, it’s how much we tend to take clean, safe air for granted.
In industrial and manufacturing environments, where pollutants can carry a high cost in human safety, staff productivity, and regulatory penalties, maintaining high air quality standards has always been a priority. The advent and resurgence of COVID-19, which carries the highest risk of transmission in enclosed spaces, has only increased the urgency.
Recent research has established a correlation between productivity and workplace safety in high-risk sectors such as construction, manufacturing, mining, and chemical production. These hazardous environments are also subject to strict regulations, with potential for compensation claims, lawsuits, and regulatory action if standards are not maintained.
That makes continuous monitoring of both indoor and outdoor air quality a mission critical concern. But it’s not always easy, and manual data collection can often require hazardous activities or risk exposing staff to toxic elements. In addition, manual record-keeping can be subject to human errors with the potential to place both staff and regulatory compliance obligations at risk.
Founder and Technical Director, Charge Analytics
“Soracom was able to provide the value that we needed.”
Long-range wireless sensing
Charge Analytics, based in Boston and Seattle, applies IoT technology and advanced control and monitoring systems to give industrial suppliers a powerful solution for reliable and cost-effective remote environmental and process monitoring.
Serving a global customer base and thousands of installations, Charge Analytics is helping to protect the global workplace while driving digital transformation and maximizing corporate efficiencies and profits.
With over 25 years of experience in pollution control for heavy industries, Charge Analytics Founder and Technical Director Ed Cline is committed to helping highly regulated companies and their suppliers grow their businesses, improve customer satisfaction, reduce operating costs, and provide a clean, healthy, and safe work environment.
The Charge Analytics remote monitoring and control systems transmit real-time environmental data directly from plants to secure cloud platforms for data logging and remote access, analysis, and technical support. Because many facilities are located in remote regions, the ability to provide real-time expert technical assistance from anywhere in the world provides an essential advantage, helping to minimize unplanned outages and maximize overall plant efficiencies.
Hardware configurations are available to monitor and control a wide range of equipment and process parameters. These compact, flexible systems integrate multiple sensor inputs with a cellular modem, a power supply, and additional custom modules as required. On the remote user side, an intuitive dashboard makes data readily available via from any location via any device, including smartphones or laptops.
A top priority for Charge Analytics is to maintain minimal upfront hardware costs and subscription fees and to design robust systems that are easy to install and operate. Simplicity is paramount and allows customers to quickly achieve both cost and time savings while improving safety and enhancing operational efficiencies.
Value, support, and lifecycle management
“Cellular connectivity is a critical component of our system,” says Cline. “It enables important plant data to be available remotely, from the convenience of any device, anywhere.”
Cellular is especially important because monitoring locations may often be inaccessible to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Even in locations like factories or power plants where Wi-Fi networks might provide coverage in some areas, getting and staying connected isn’t always possible, and can expose potential security risks.
Charge Analytics counts on Soracom to provide a reliable cellular connection that makes sending data to Microsoft Azure simple, no matter where monitoring is required. Keeping costs under control is also a major factor. Everyone wants to ensure clean air, but industrial facilities run on very carefully developed budgets that not all providers are able to meet.
“We originally started with a board from another provider, but their solution was too expensive to roll out in volume,” says Cline. “Soracom was able to provide the value that we needed, and their team worked closely with ours to help identify the features and services that let us optimize our connectivity architecture ”
In addition to offering multicarrier plans priced specifically for low data volumes, Soracom also makes it easy for SIM cards to “hibernate” between testing and deployment without incurring charges.
Safer facilities at scale
Charge Analytics supplies industrial facilities and equipment manufacturers with a unique, affordable, and compelling opportunity to add value with its fully integrated, cloud-powered remote monitoring IoT platform.
Gerry Kaelin, Director of Business Development at Charge Analytics, observes based on his 25 years of experience in the environmental engineering industry that “for plant and corporate staff and their key suppliers, our turnkey cloud-based systems provide valuable, reliable, and consistent predictive data.
“This innovative platform automates time-consuming manual data logging requirements and makes it easy to monitor remote, hard-to-access, or hazardous locations. Accurate plant data is securely delivered whenever or wherever it is needed. Uptime is maximized, while operating costs are minimized. Our end-to-end IoT solution has proven to provide a quick and clear return on investment.”
Charge Analytics has already built a strong reputation for keeping facilities safe and ensuring regulatory compliance while reducing operating costs. Now the team is focused on keeping ahead as the Industrial Internet of Things emerges.
“We anticipate the demand for automation through cloud technologies and remote monitoring to dramatically increase in the coming years,” says Cline. “We are also seeing increasing environmental pressures and growing demands for healthier, safer workspaces.”
From here, the company is focused on improving its core technology and developing a low power LTE-M device that can operate for prolonged periods on a single battery charge (with a possible assist from Soracom Beam to allow use of lightweight protocols like UDP while delivering fully secure HTTPS to Microsoft Azure).