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CASE STUDY

Monitor and Protect High-Value Assets During Storage and Transport

High-value assets such as aerospace systems must be monitored and protected while in transit to the final assembly location or the customer site. To address the limitations of conventional solutions to protect high-value assets, OMEGA has developed an automated data collection system with wireless sensors. The continuous and proactive monitoring that we provide allows preventative action before damage occurs in sensitive assets, minimizing the impact of any deviations from the specified environment.

Problem

As aerospace engineers are well aware, high-value assets such as control panel assemblies, propellant tanks, and propellant fuel, must be maintained in controlled environments during all phases of production, storage, and transportation. Exposure to extreme humidity or temperature during storage, for example, can cause irreparable damage to sensitive components and result in millions of dollars of losses. Even worse, an undetected defect could cause catastrophic failure during operation.

The traditional approach to asset monitoring has been to attach passive temperature/humidity monitors to inventoried items. These require a periodic manual survey of all inventoried items, which is both labor intensive and prone to human error. This is also not a continuous monitoring solution, since it simply reacts to problems that have already occurred. What the industry needs is a proactive, preventative strategy.

Solution

OMEGA has developed the ZW Wireless Monitoring System to provide data assurance and security that is critical to the protection of high-value aerospace assets such as rocket engines.

OMEGA’s robust solution consists of installing individual sensor nodes that regularly sample the environment and transmit the information to a receiver that maintains a complete database of all sampled data. In addition to providing in-situ monitoring, the probe units are capable of continuous monitoring even when removed from the wireless environment during transportation. The result is a full audit trail through the entire life cycle of the assets.

Results

OMEGA’s ZW Series provides benefits in many ways, including data assurance, data security, and power management. Data losses can occur at many levels: radio loss, receiver loss, or Ethernet connectivity loss. Although these types of failures are usually quickly corrected, the loss of information during downtime can put millions of dollars of valuable materials at risk. OMEGA® ZW Series wireless receivers provide confirmation to the transmitter that the data has been correctly received, with automatic retransmission as needed. Data logging at every potential failure point allows recovery of information once the system is restored. Additionally, the power conservation feature lets the user unplug the temperature/humidity sensor while continuing to log environmental data during transport of valuable material—thus providing continuous coverage.

Cybersecurity is a key concern in all industries, but is especially critical to aerospace and military suppliers. Although the environmental data itself may not be of interest to adversaries, the inferred information regarding quantities, dates, and material movement may be extremely sensitive. The ZW Series provides full 128-bit SSL encryption to guard against any intrusions.

Wireless product power management is always a concern, especially for the extension of battery life. The ZW Series uses adaptive transmission rates based on the measured data exceeding specified thresholds, as well as local data logging that allows burst transmission to maximize battery life. This power management feature also reduces cost by extending the product lifetime and minimizing maintenance.

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