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The sea port is a hub for the transportation of land and sea logistics. According to statistics, two thirds of all global trade passes through sea ports. As the world economy has grown, port throughput has increased year by year driven by global economic growth. This has brought new challenges and pressures for ports, such as rising costs and the shortage of labour resources. In this article we’ll take a look at how industrial fanless PC’s and 5G network technologies have become essential tools for automating ports around the globe.

Fanless PC's are essential for enabling Smart Ports

Using the information system as a framework, the logistics supply and demand management can be integrated into an all-in-one system of logistics and transportation using innovative applications of new technology. This greatly improves the processing capacity of the port, as well as related logistics parks. 

Intelligent supervision, intelligent services, and automatic loading and unloading have become the main areas for automation. This provides modern logistics with a high-security, high-efficiency, and high-quality service, which is essentially a new type of port, the “Smart Port”. 

Smart ports is an inevitable trend of future port development. Through remote control, automatic control, automatic driving, intelligent monitoring and other technologies, cost reduction and increased efficiency have become a common demand of global ports. 

Taking the crane control as an example, after remote control is implemented, less crane operators will be required, which greatly reduces the labor demand. The remote control system also greatly improves the working environment for operators, thus completely solving the problem of difficulty in recruiting workers. 

In addition to crane control, the intelligent scenarios to be implemented in the port also include:

  • IGV (Intelligent Guided Vehicles) used to replace manually driven collection cart; 
  • 4G network-based AGV (Automatic Guided Vehicle);
  • Machine vision intelligent monitoring; and
  • Remote auxiliary maintenance. 

These intelligent scenarios will further alleviate the pressure of labor demand at the port and dramatically improve the efficiency of port operations. 

Felixstowe Container Port

Photo courtesy of Rab .(CC Attribution)

Industry Requirements

In the past, ports mainly used fixed networks (optical fibers, Ethernet, microwave links) to build communication infrastructures. These have high deployment and O&M costs, and poor mobility. In addition, Wi-Fi often suffers from weak coverage, and poor stability and reliability. The limitations of these traditional communication technologies have increased the cost of digitizing ports, reduced the flexibility of application scenarios, and brought insurmountable obstacles to the transformation and upgrading of old ports. 

The arrival of 5G mobile technologies has brought new opportunities for the upgrading of the global port industry. In the AGV application of smart ports, the industrial computer serves as the vehicle-mounted communication terminal of the Internet of Vehicles. These small rugged PCs, along with remote monitoring devices, connect with the port cloud control platform using 5G wireless connections, simplifying the deployment, and thereby saving labor costs and improving efficiency.

CyberVisuell Solutions

CyberVisuell introduces the latest generation of its TBOX fanless industrial PC lineup, the TBOX-12831 which is ideal for a variety of roles in smart ports. 

As the AGV (Automatic Guided Vehicle) communication terminal, TBOX’s main function is to serve as a central gateway, managing the communication between the vehicle and the internet via mobile network (5G / 4G), and functions such as communication security protection, data gathering, and high-precision positioning. The built-in 5G/4G module with SIM card communicates with the operator. 

In terms of integration into vehicles, the TBOX communicates with each ECU in the vehicle, receiving information such as basic vehicle information, vehicle status information, vehicle failure information, etc. It can then send control commands from the port cloud control platform to each relevant ECU, to realize the corresponding vehicle control. 

TBOX can also integrate a built-in high-precision GPS positioning module, which is used for the positioning of IGV’s. Combined with the analysis of application requirements of this project, the CyberVisuell TBOX-12831 industrial computer is perfectly suited for the AGV of the smart port. 

TBOX-12831 is based on the standard product TBOX-128X0 series, which is a ruggedized & compact, fanless embedded modular industrial PC system. Equipped with the latest 8th generation Intel Whiskey Lake low power and high-performance Core® i7 processor. TBOX-12831 industrial computer comes with rich I/O interfaces, 2 Ethernet ports, 8 USB ports (4 of them USB3.0 ports), 1 CAN port, 8 GPIO’s with isolated interface, 1 HDMI, 1 VGA, 6 RS232 (support 1 RS485) serial port. Internal expansion slots allow addition of a 5G/4G module and GPS module, which can meet the smart port AGV system requirements.

CyberVisuell TBOX Fanless PC's

TBOX-12831 Features: 

  • Rugged, compact & fanless design; 
  • Intel Whisky Lake 8th generation Core quad-core eight-thread i7-8665U processor; 
  • DDR4 memory, single channel, maximum capacity up to 16GB; 
  • Supports 1 * 2.5-inch SATA and 1* mSATA, HDD and SSD; 
  • 2 Intel Gigabit Ethernet ports, 1 CAN port, suitable for AGV bus communication protocol; 
  • 8-channel GPIO, with isolation;
  • 8 USB interfaces (4 of them USB3.0); 
  • DC 12~24V voltage input, with overvoltage, overcurrent and polarity protection; 
  • 6 RS232 serial ports, support 1 RS485 serial port;
  • 1 HDMI and 1 VGA output; 
  • Expansion using standard Mini-PCIe modules such as Huawei’s latest 5G module, backward compatible with 3G/4G communication.

The TBOX fanless PC range offers high performance in a rugged and proven form factor, used in industrial applications all over the world.  Along with competitive pricing and full Australian technical support and warranty, CyberVisuell’s TBOX range is the leading fanless industrial PC on the Australian market.

Please contact us to discuss your industrial PC requirements, we’d be happy to make a recommendation.

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