Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Saudi petrochemical company uses Globalstar and Ovinto M2M to track fleet

Steve Rogerson
November 3, 2015
Saudi Arabian petrochemical supplier Sabic is equipping its entire European fleet of 500 rail tank cars with M2M satellite-based tracking and monitoring technology supplied by a partnership between US satellite company Globalstar and Belgian wireless provider Ovinto.
The company uses its European fleet of rail tank cars to transport chemicals. By selecting the Atex Ovinto Sat M2M asset tracker, Sabic has taken a significant next step in its focus on safety in the production and transport of chemicals. Additionally, the technology is helping Sabic optimise its supply chain operations and enhance partner relationships.
Because Ovinto Sat relies on Globalstar’s next generation Leo satellite constellation, Sabic benefits from the network’s reliability and reach to obtain timely, accurate information about the status of every asset in its fleet. This helps ensure that stakeholders have immediate access to data to act more speedily and efficiently.
Meanwhile, Sabic can track each vehicle on its journey in real time so it can have an accurate understanding of delivery times. This enables it to know immediately whether a rail tank car has been loaded or unloaded or is ready to be redeployed.
“Sabic is a major provider of petrochemicals with customers who use our chemicals and plastics for many different applications," said Judith Kleinen, category manager at Sabic. “One of the transportation means we use is our fleet of rail tank cars. Keeping track of a large fleet of these cars, dispersed all over Europe, is crucial. Our rail tank cars contain all sorts of materials, it is absolutely critical that we have the ability to track and monitor the status of the rail tank cars and their contents at all times.”
She added that thanks to Ovinto Sat and Globalstar, “we are in an even better position to service our customers and suppliers and all the other stakeholders in the supply chain in order to get the materials they need when they need them and to be assured that our fleet is being used as efficiently as possible”.
The Atex Ovinto Sat product provides oil, gas and chemical industry customers with details about cargo being transported and its condition, including pressure and temperature, whether it is in the correct location, or has been impacted due to a crash or derailment. Satellite is the preferred option for such communications due to its availability, reliability and low power consumption compared with GSM.
At the heart of the technology is Globalstar’s low power, STX3 chipset. Since it is battery powered, Ovinto Sat lets users monitor hazardous materials in unpowered environments including rail tank cars and tank containers. Because of its low power consumption, the battery can last up to eight years. Ovinto Sat collates data from various sensors and GPS in each of Sabic’s rail tank cars and sends it securely by satellite to the customer headquarters at regular user-defined intervals.
“Sabic’s choice to install Ovinto Sat in all its rail tank car fleet in Europe is a strong endorsement of the solution and its ability to reliably monitor remote assets wherever they may be,” said Corry Brennan, regional sales manager at Globalstar. “When materials are being transported across Europe it is critical that the location of assets be always known, but also whether those assets and their contents face risks. Only satellite can deliver continuous, reliable, power-efficient connectivity with these assets in order to ensure safety but also to help maximise operational efficiencies.”
Frederick Ronse, Ovinto CEO, added: “To ensure efficient and reliable transportation of chemical materials across vast distances, uninterrupted monitoring is critical – relying on GSM alone simply cannot guarantee this connectivity. Now, not only will Sabic be able to know exactly where their assets are, they can help ensure these assets are performing better and being used efficiently.”