Vanderlande uses IoT technology to enhance its operations with data

Vanderlande, one of the largest material handling and logistics automation companies worldwide, has partnered with Xomnia to create the infrastructure necessary to utilize data collected by its item handling devices.

Xomnia’s Data Engineer Floris Smit joined Vanderlande for a few months, providing his Microsoft IoT Edge expertise and assisting in developing a blueprint application that can provide a standardized solution for the company’s customers. This application can be later deployed to collect data in Microsoft Azure cloud to keep this solution constantly up to date.

This on-going project was launched in April in 2020 to help the company tap into insights collected by its on-site machines. The goal is to help the company know more about the state of its systems and centrally advance its services based on those insights.

We are very happy to have Floris from Xomnia on our product team, who helped build Vanderlande’s innovative cloud-based products and services– Xiaowen Lu, Product Manager Data Solutions, Vanderlande Industries

Challenge

Vanderlande provides material handling services to clients spanning airports, e-commerce giants, and international couriers. The company provides on-site machines, which sort packages, move luggage, and perform other material handling services. Every on-site machine comes with an operational system in the form of a dashboard, which controls the machine and collects data about its performance.  

Vanderlande had to copy these dashboards to be used by its newer clients. The company also lacked a centralized location to store and process data collected by its different machines. This prevented it from using the data to improve and enhance the dashboards already in use by its clients. This also meant that each dashboard used by different clients evolved differently than others.

Vanderlande aimed to centralize its dashboarding tool to capitalize better on the data collected by its machines. It did so with the aid of IoT technology, cloud computing, and Xomnia’s expertise.

Solution

Our Data Engineer Floris Smit joined Vanderlande to provide his expertise in Microsoft IoT Edge, an open source product from Microsoft. This technology aids Vanderlande in creating an on-site application where data from machines at clients can be gathered, processed, and shared in the cloud.

Using decentralized IoT Edge devices, the raw data is sent to Microsoft Azure, where it is processed to make a refined data product. Next, the data can be used by stakeholders at Vanderlande to perform predictive maintenance, process mining, and dashboarding, among other processes.

Vanderlande aims to make this application a generic product, so that it is installed in on-site machines delivered to different clients. Meanwhile, the application and on-site devices keep getting automatically updated remotely via updates sent from the cloud, to guarantee the client a constantly smooth experience.

Impact

Using IoT technology, Vanderlande aims to constantly enhance the dashboards, and thus services, it offers to its clients. By storing and processing the data collected from its devices in a single location in the cloud, updates to the dashboards used by different clients can be done quickly and remotely.

These advancements will help Vanderlande make their operations more efficient, and save them the costs usually spent on customizing their services for each client. Most importantly, their clients will not only benefit from their on-site machines and running applications, but also from a host of data and insights to help them better understand item handling processes and KPIs related to them.