Industrial WLAN AP for Echo Sounder System on a Barge in Extreme Weather
Barges continue to play an important role in transporting heavy goods up and down rivers and canals. On average, they carry up to 1,500 tons of cargo, and measure 195 feet in length and 35 feet in width. As rivers and canals can become shallow and narrow at various points along a particular shipping route and present other navigational obstacles, it is essential for a barge to constantly monitor its position in relation to the riverbanks, riverbed, and overhead structures. Echo sounding technology, which measures distance between the barge and the bottom of the river using sound waves, is an indispensable tool for barge captains. As a result, a shipping company in Washington State requested a wireless solution from Moxa to maintain steady communication between the bridge, sounder system, and shoreline of one of its shipping routes.
• Barge length, cargo volume, and zero-visibility of the bow from the bridge, are all obstacles of sounder data transmission to the bridge.
• Network devices must withstand severe temperatures reaching -30°C.
• Communication distance between the bridge and onshore towers must be transmitted across several miles.
On many barges, including those operated by Moxa’s client, the sounder used to emit the sound waves is actually submerged below the hull of the barge and connected by several meters of cable to a sounder box at the bow. Since the barge’s bridge is located at the stern, there is nearly 200 feet of cargo deck in between the sounder box and the bridge. In order to connect the sounder box to the bridge without the inconvenience of dragging wires across the cargo deck, an AWK-3121-T wireless client is deployed on the front deck of the barge connected to the sounder box, and another AWK-3121 wireless AP located at the bridge to receive the data from the sounder.
In addition, the operators in a control room can leverage this system and use the wireless clients of onshore monitoring towers along the shipping route to connect to a specific onboard AP for more data collection, control and monitoring. Offering long-distance data transmission of up to several miles as well as an extended operating temperature range of -40 to 75°C, the AWK-3121-T ensures reliable bow-to-bridge and bridge-to-shore communications even in the coldest winter months. Since no additional wired network was required, the shipping company was able to realize substantial savings in installation and maintenance costs with Moxa’s wireless solution.
• With the wide operating temperature range supported by Moxa’s products, there is no need for an additional heater when operating in sub-zero temperatures.
• The system flexibly consolidates short-distance and long-distance transmission of bow-to-bridge and bridge-to-shore communications. Additionally, it eliminates the expensive and time-consuming task of cable installation.
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Moxa’s comprehensive line of WLAN and cellular solutions have been successfully implemented in various mission-critical industrial applications, including transportation, factory automation, smart grid, and heavy industry. For more information, please click on the icon to download the Industrial WLAN success stories.