Cummins oversees power systems with cloud-based monitoring tool
Cummins Power Generation has leveraged the Microsoft Cloud and the internet of things (IoT) to remotely monitor power systems anywhere in the world.
Cummins Power Generation’s new PowerCommand Cloud, a cloud-based remote monitoring solution built on the Microsoft Azure IoT suite, provides new insight into data to predict and avert problems. This technology also allow Cummins to gain insights that will power its next generation of products.
The Cummins Power Generation business, which sells most of its generators through a global network of approximately 8,000 dealers and distributors across 190 countries, wanted to enhance the way it remotely monitored generator sets for both commercial and residential customers. The company wanted to simplify operation and provide customers and dealers with better insight and more efficient and convenient options to manage their generators and power systems.
Cummins Power Generation also wanted to minimize any possibility of downtime. “When hurricane Sandy hit in 2011, there was widespread flooding and loss of power, and people were running their equipment 24/7,” said Jason Stanford, technical project leader at Cummins Power Generation. “Our dealer and distribution networks could have benefited from real-time visibility and access to customer equipment.”
“In a hospital, just a few minutes without power could make a difference in the ability to save someone’s life,” said Henrique Cubarenco, product manager at Cummins Power Generation. “We wanted a cloud-based remote monitoring system that could gain us real-time access to our customers’ equipment so we could resolve problems even faster.”
Cummins Power Generation explored a variety of turnkey solutions before concluding that building its own system made better sense. “Azure stood out, not only because of its capabilities and strong data security, but also because of its platform-as-a-service offerings,” said Greg Knowd, solutions architect at Cummins. “We knew that we needed to build a custom solution, but we wanted as much of the work done for us as possible.”
The company ran a successful proof of concept and then contacted Microsoft to help design its final product, Cummins PowerCommand Cloud. The companies teamed up to create an IoT solution capable of connecting thousands of generator sets to the cloud, taking advantage of Azure IoT Suite.
The PowerCommand Cloud collects performance data from generators located virtually anywhere, analyzes it in real time with Azure Stream Analytics, and surfaces the information through an interactive web-based interface accessible by almost any device, including smartphones. The interface allows technicians to get insight into overall generator performance as well as the performance of individual components. The solution is also designed to automatically alert technicians and homeowners through mobile apps and email.
“With Cummins PowerCommand Cloud, our distributors will be able to provide even better service by having real-time visibility and access to their customers’ power equipment,” said Jason Stanford, project manager at Cummins Power Generation.
The solution will also allow customers to have real-time notifications and visibility into their remote systems.
Cummins Power Generation said that it also looks forward to exploiting the potential of big data by collecting information from equipment in remote locations for further innovation. “We can look at all that data to get a better understanding of factors that affect product performance and reliability, like component life and how customers are using our products,” said Stanford. “We will be able to prevent an issue before it even becomes one.”