This week, we could celebrate our first tech-event about the railway infrastructure diagnosis vehicle gDFZ from SBB. Joel Casutt, Florentin Marty and Patrick Wernli led the audience with over 200 guests through the vision, how the Zentrales System works, collects data, computes data makes them ready and visualizes them, as well as which sensors are utilized and what first learnings about fault detection on the rails could be observed.

As of July 1, 2018, SCS has launched a new Department for Blockchain and Internet-Of-Things. Alain Brenzikofer heads the newly formed group as the new Department Head. We congratulate Alain Brenzikofer on the new role and wish him every success.

Distributed Ledger Technologies, Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, IoT: The terms are ubiquitous and will disrupt various industries. Alain Brenzikofer has been observing these technologies for years and is a profound expert on the scene. Interesting applications arise today in the energy sector, but also in the commodity trade, with guarantees of origin. Some of these are already under development at SCS: As Partner in the “Quartierstrom” project in Walenstadt, where a blockchain-based peer-to-peer energy market is being created.

The German company GLP Systems Ltd., based in Hamburg, is an innovative specialist in the area of information and automation systems for clinical laboratories. GLP Systems has revolutionized the sample transfer using a new approach: Similar to a Carrera race track, the sample vessels are individually moved through the laboratories and cold-storage rooms in intelligent CARs along lanes. Worldwide, lots of those systems are already being used, also in the Center of Laboratory Medicine at the Insel Hospital in Bern.

Figure 1: The pool of empty CARs allows for an efficient and automatic filling on the right lane. In the Tube Assessment Center (TAC), at the right rear of the picture, the samples are classified reliably by the SCS computer vision system and start their individual route through the laboratory.
Source: Center of Laboratory Medicine – Insel Hospital, Bern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incorrect analysis results are being avoided thanks to the SCS computer vision solution: The samples are being classified in purely visual terms using their shape and color only. Practically, the world wide range of vessel types is a challenge, since their characteristics oftentimes only differ slightly. Using a statistical evaluation; those samples can be reliably identified despite their variations in production batches. Since the system automatically withdraws samples with unsure classifications, confusions are hence avoided. In those rare cases, employees check on the samples manually and guarantee for the mandatory safety.

SCS Service Tool
Figure 2: The SCS Service Tool allows a detailed status analysis. Thanks to rapid prototyping using MATLAB, the agile development took place quickly in a cost efficient manner and was soon ready for use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A service technician can quickly detect causes of uncertainties thanks to the SCS Service Tool: It analyzes and visualizes diagnostic images along with other data of the TAC. If required, a new series of images can be acquired and thus, the data pool used for the machine learning can be continually expanded. Applying this method, new types of vessels can easily be learned by the system. Moreover, new variations of known vessels can be understood better, therefore the recognition rate is steadily optimized.

Picture 3: Thanks to swarm intelligence, the CARs drive autonomously through a variety of modules (TAC, centrifuges, cap removers, analysis devices etc.) This allows for an individual and cost efficient analysis of the blood samples according to the Industry 4.0 idea.  Source: Center of Laboratory Medicine – Insel Hospital, Bern

Dr. Uwe Franke from Daimler introduced together with Felix Eberli the potential of deep learning for autonomous driving during this year’s first tech event. The presentation covered the impressive technical developments, driven by Convolutional Neural Networks and increased computation power. These methods are even nowadays superior to the human driver in particular situations such as night vision or mirrored images due to rain fall. Over the next years, we can expect significant progress in the field driven by the technical capabilities.

Industrial applications require an increasing degree of trust and privacy protection. Proof of existence, of origination or of a consistent track record gain importance. Trusting the timestamps and the integrity of sensor data can be a crucial requirement, i.e. for using surveillance camera footage as evidence in court.

SCS has set up an infrastructure that proves a concept to add trusted timestamps to sensor data based on a public blockchain. This allows to prove that (sensor) data has been captured at a specific point in time. Such a proof includes existence at certain time as well as prior inexistence, with a time precision of minutes. While it has previously been possible to prove that data existed before a certain point in time, this concept show a way to also prove that data only existed after
a certain point in time.

Please read our whitepaper:

trusted-sensor-whitepaper

 

After a highly successful research- and demonstration project, the GridBox Technology is now being commercialized within the scope of a spin-off project. The company smart grid solutions AG (website), led by Martin von Euw, will take the technology to market maturity. Supercomputing Systems AG is the technology partner of the new company.

Concerning this matter, read this press release:

 

Zurich, 27th of September 2016

Establishement of smart grid solutions AG:
Spin-off of the largest Smart Grid demonstration project in Switzerland

The project partners of GridBox, the largest smart grid demonstration project of Switzerland, have now established smart grid solutions AG. The company aims at the industrialization of an innovative grid management solution and its further development. Using the new platform smartbox, the pioneering GridBox technology as well as the acquired knowledge of the successful one-year-trial are being unified in one solution.

Thus, smart grid solutions AG offers the distribution grid operators an intelligent and scalable solution, which is able to manage current and future technical challenges. Anton Gunzinger, entrepreneur and member of the board of directors of smart grid solutions AG, explains the use of the real time management systems as follows: “Due to the increase of decentralized producers, battery storage solutions and E-mobility, grid operators will face new challenges, or are already facing them. The smartbox is a tool to master these tasks and does not only serve one single purpose, but as a platform it supports a variety of tasks, services and business models of the grid operators.”

The smartbox technology is the comprehensive platform for a modern distribution grid management. As a coordinated and spread solution it guarantees for a safe yet economic network operation. Thereby the smartbox covers a multitude of requirements. Applications like fault detection- and localization, extended network monitoring, support of the asset management, prosumer-applications as well as market functions, featuring real time characteristics are being unified on just one platform.

 

By applying this generic approach, smart grid solutions AG offers a flexible and scalable measuring-, communications-, and control platform, which allows for a rapid implementation of new business models and therefore already has the answers for tomorrow’s challenges.

For more information please contact:
Martin von Euw
Geschäftsführer smart grid solutions AG
Phone +41 43 543 64 32
Mobil +41 79 230 88 58
martin.voneuw@smartgridsolutions.ch

Press Release (PDF) from 27.9.2016

In cooperation with BKW (Berne), ewz (Zurich) and BEAG (Baden), Supercomputing Systems AG develops a holistic smart grid platform that will help to make distribution grids future-proof:

The electrical energy system is undergoing fundamental changes. Efforts to decentralize the system that is historically based on central energy generation and top-down distribution. Large power stations might be replaced by many local energy generation units like PV, water power, wind power etc. In addition, regulatory requirements are changing and energy markets see new rules of the game. All these transformations have an impact on the electrical distribution grid which will have to be more dynamic, less cost-intensive and more intelligent in the future.

GridBox is a generic platform for the intelligent grid of the future: Distributed measurement and control devices (intelligent PMUs, phasor measurement units)  collect data about the grid every second and communicate the grid state to a local master agent. The master agent implements algorithms for grid stability, grid monitoring, asset management aspects, market aspects etc. and takes control of the grid through a set of available actors such as PV inverters, electrical water boilers, batteries, e-car loading stations etc. The platform therefore is a real-time control system for the distribution grid.

The GridBox platform enables additional applications such as power quality measurements, grid monitoring, virtual power plants, support at grid dimensioning, coordination of PV and batteries in homes, smart markets with real-time price signals etc.

Gesamt_faded

There are two real-world test regions: A rural grid in the Bernese Oberland (region of Kiental) including low- and mid-voltage grids and an urban test region within the city of Zurich. There are 150 devices installed in total and the project will also gather high-resultion grid measurement data throughout an entire year. Experiments and demonstrations will take place live.

The present state of the system and the woring of the state estimator and the optimizer can be observed live through the GridBox cockpit:

kiental_N5_zoom_sidepane_mousetip

pv_active_power_cloudy_day

The project is co-funded by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy and runs until mid-2016.

Presentation slides: PDF

Contact: Stephan Moser

The safety and availability of SBB railway infrastructures is ensured by the Infrastructure Monitoring business unit. SBB requires a “towed diagnostics vehicle” (gDFZ) to fulfill this duty and at the same time to provide an enhancement to the existing self-propelled diagnostic vehicle. The gDFZ can also measure the vehicle dynamics and overhead line. When in use, the gDFZ is drawn in a train composition consisting of a locomotive, a braking and a control car.

The central system forms the heart of the new vehicle. It not only adopts the interaction with the user, but also the analysis and the persistent storage and display of all measurement data.

The SBB has accepted the tender from SCS for the development of the central system (hardware and software). The successful concept in the public call for tender combines for the first time modular measurement equipment via open interfaces with the technology of a modern data centre and integrates them into a rail car. This flagship project meets all the essential features of an “Industry 4.0” application.

The Microservice architecture allows a modular, flexible, extensible and highly scalable solution. The result is a clear and extensible software environment, which is extremely well suited for further development over the entire life of the gDFZ and which can also be operated efficiently.

SCS also takes on the role of integrator for the overall system. System integration is the key success factor for the entire project. The chosen solution therefore supports the integration of all current diagnostic and support systems through a clear and systematic approach and through open, transparent and scalable system architecture. SCS has extensive experience both in the field of open systems, the integration of third-party systems and the development of “mission critical applications” including maintenance and support throughout the entire life cycle (Life Cycle Management – LCM), for example with the REGA communication system.

We are delighted with this award and the prospect of working with SBB and the suppliers of the other work packages, peripheral systems and vehicle modifications.

gDFZ-Komposition

Background information on the application:

The SBB infrastructure monitoring business unit is responsible for ensuring the safety and availability of railway infrastructure in compliance with the applicable regulations. The services provided by the monitoring unit are fulfilled using a mix of human expertise (route inspectors) and machine-determined diagnostic and prognostic data (Measurement and Diagnostic Technology). In the medium term the proportion of machine performance will increase due to the expansion of the industrial monitoring of the network and the commissioning of new high-speed lines (Gotthard and Ceneri Base Tunnel GBT/CBT).

Measured test runs are state of the art in railway technology and essential for professional investment management, particularly in the track and traction current asset classes. The measurements in the field of driving technology are mandatory because of the legal and regulatory requirements (including R 22070). Reliable, consistent and meaningful measurement data also provides an important input for short-term diagnostics (monitoring), preventive maintenance and the prognosis of the substance preservation. They form the basis for the medium and long-term maintenance control of the asset classes.

Industry 4.0, Internet of Things, Cloud – all these terms are currently being discussed all over. However, most of the time, a common understanding is missing about the meaning of these terms and the way they are to be implemented in the industry. Also, the benefit for the customer is not always clear.

During a recent round table of the forum “Laufenburger Talks”, Dr. Johannes Gassner was invited as an expert to talk about this topic.

The article „Swiss KMU is ready – but the benefit is still unclear” was subsequently written about this roundtable and was published twice:

  • Article in the “Technische Rundschau”, the Swiss industry magazine
  • Article in the “Polyscope”, the magazine for electronics and automation

The “Internet of Things”, abbreviated IoT, has the intention to equip many electrical appliances with the ability to communicate with each other via the internet. Industry 4.0 stands for the pooling of technology trends and a vision of the way the manufacturing business may look in the future.

The „Laufenburger Talks“ offer a platform to discuss interesting, controversial and current topics among experts.

Contact person at SCS
Johannes Gassner