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IoT technology: a full range of opportunities

Published 2.7.2024

As part of the company’s digitalization strategy, Techint Engineering & Construction has adopted the Sigfox network to monitor the location and use of non-operated equipment. The new tool paves the way for other innovations.


In the search to optimize processes, improve quality and reinforce safety at the projects, Techint Engineering & Construction has employed the Sigfox low power wide area network which uses Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity.

“This network is designed for low-speed communications (0G) and serves to transmit small volumes of data, such as temperature, flow, pressure, geolocation, etc., picked up from different sensors,” explains Edwin Melgar, IT Site Manager at the C20+ project. The tool is supported by a structure made up of antennas and base stations dotted around the country that communicate with the sensors and with the server where the data is stored.

Sigfox technology is already being used in Chile, at the C20+ and SADDN projects, and in Mexico, in the Veracruz Machinery Park, to track smaller machines and rented equipment. Meanwhile, in Argentina, it’s being applied for smaller equipment at the company’s Machinery Park, in Gral. Pacheco. In addition, tests are being carried out at the Northern Gas Pipeline Reversal Project, in Córdoba, to create remote measurements and controls for pipelines.

“The sheer geographic extension of pipeline projects requires us to map any assets of value that lack built-in telemetry, such as the heavy equipment we’re using. This is where the need for IoT connectivity technology arises, as we can transmit data such as positioning using a dedicated network that only handles 'small' packages,” points out Alejandro Aguirre, Innovation & Knowledge Mgmt. Sr. Manager.

The case of Chile

Carlos Payra, IT Business Applications Specialist, explains that at the C20+ and SADDN projects, they began using the Sigfox network along the pipeline route as part of a first stage, in order to track autonomous units not operated by people. “We use equipment such as lighting towers, motor-welders and motor-compressors, among others, that we couldn’t keep track of and didn’t know whether they were being used. So we had to process these data manually on site. Thanks to the incorporation of this new technology, we can now control the location of machines like these just through satellite geolocation, enabling us to measure their use through vibration, all with merely two messages a day,” details Carlos.

“We invited Jorge Zamorano, Heavy Equipment Auxiliary Inspector at the Machinery Park in Mexico, who’s the current administrator of the Sigfox platform, to help with implementation in Chile. It was an excellent opportunity to learn from him and acquire his know-how, as well as shorten lead-times and help with implementation and training,” adds Carlos.

The case of Argentina

The IoT network will be used to transmit variable monitoring data from pipeline hydrostatic tests in Argentina. Currently, a Proof of Concept (POC) is being carried out to measure the water pressure and temperature at the other end of the pipe from the launch or filling head of the test section.

“The aim is to avoid having to transmit data by radio and manually read conventional dial pressure gauges, which means having to have personnel standing by to report the readings from the gauges. On the other hand, having this time-critical information available to everybody is a major advance in terms of safety, since the entire project team will be able to see when pressure is being raised during testing and thus take the relevant precautions for field personnel,” emphasizes Aguirre.

Infinite possibilities

Apart from the aforementioned uses, which include geolocation, vibration measurement and control of pressure and temperature variables, there are many more ways in which IoT technology can be applied at projects and for services. Options range from measuring liquid levels in tanks, to monitoring rotating equipment to anticipate preventive tasks, as well as safety management for onsite workers, providing alerts about events such as unsafe conditions or nearby risks.

Materials management can also benefit from this technology in critical situations as materials can be tagged to a radio frequency that sends an alert when quantities fall lower than required. Another application is for onsite fuel management, which can done more efficiently using IoT devices to monitor the operation of tanks and tank-trucks and cross-reference this data with fuel consumption rates. There are even IoT devices for heavy equipment that lacks the native telemetry to monitor onsite performance. In short, the possibilities are unlimited!

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