BD Asset Management Issue: “It’s not just the container, protecting the cargo matters, too”

For more than 30 years, Anova has had a proven track record in industrial asset monitoring.

Bulk Distributor Magazine, Asset Management, February, 2020

Specialising in the design, installation and maintenance of systems that employ advanced wireless hardware, software technologies and cloud-based analytics, Anova has become a leading provider of Industrial IoT (IIoT) solutions to manage industrial assets remotely – including cryogenic gases, LPG & propane, chemicals, lubricants, fuels, and water.

Headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey, USA, Anova has offices around the world, including Portugal, Germany, Australia and Malaysia. The company incorporates numerous brands, such as DataOnline, Wikon, WESROC, ISA and Silicon Controls (GASLOG), and with nearly 600,000 cellular, satellite and LPWAN devices monitoring a variety of assets, Anova believes it is connecting the industrial world for the better.

“We provide unmatched scale, service, and innovation to service over 1,500 customers in 70- plus countries,” says CEO Chet Reshamwala.

As one of the first brands in the Anova family, WESROC’s background is anchored in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) distribution throughout North America.

Reshamwala explains that many LPG customers were looking to diversify into accompanying chemicals and refined fuel segments and asked the company to come along on that journey.

“We have a rock-solid LPG solution, and understood the similar distribution challenges in these other markets, so only needed to add the best sensing devices in the industry. This makes us a more valuable partner for our customers’ end- to-end distribution needs,” he says.

Over the years, the company has steadily extended its reach to cover numerous industrial assets, including ISO tanks containers. Lots of companies now offer remote tracking on such mobile assets, but Reshamwala maintains that what makes Anova’s offering stand out from the others is managing not just the asset but also the cargo it contains.

“Fleet management organisations that have a track record in location monitoring may not have experience with secondary instruments,” he comments. “At Anova, we fully understand the importance of understanding not just geographic location, but the physical properties of cargo for safety and spoilage prevention. And more importantly, we have 30 years of experience of monitoring multiple parameters in environments that lack traditional power sources.

This year, we’re rolling out new tools to help our customers make better real-time use of that data. Tools to help embed data-driven decisions, delivering a variety of cost-saving benefits and ensuring that data isn’t just informing customers’ business, it’s driving it.”

Anova’s offering stands out for managing not just the asset but also the cargo it contains.

Currently, Anova’s remote monitoring solutions protect over 600,000 assets around the world, including both cryogenic and non-cryogenic ISO tanks, rail cars, road tankers, tube trailers, and various smaller mobile assets.

“And on all those, we monitor at least one other parameter besides location – including pressure, level, temperature, to name a few,” adds Richard Adams, Anova’s mobile asset product specialist. “On more complex ISO tanks, we monitor up to eight different parameters.”

As the penetration of remote monitoring increases, it is going to become that much more important for companies to digitise their operations to remain competitive. “That means getting IoT up and running today – not down the road, not next year, now!” says Reshamwala.

“IoT is at the core of the future of remote mobile asset management. The data and insight it provides will drive greater automation, better decision-making, more efficient responses, and seamless workflows,” Reshamwala continues. “For this reason, nearly 75 percent of remote monitoring customers are making significant IoT investments – and half believe it will be the most important cost-cutting technology for their business.”

Anova sees ISO tanks as a significant opportunity for those operating in IIoT. “It requires a specific solution, and we embrace the key challenges it brings,” says Adams – and that stationary and non-stackable tanks do not.

“We’re building solutions that cover the critical requirements – now and in the future – that we see in our markets and at key industry events like last year’s ITCO conference,” he explains.

These include providing a sensing device that was able to monitor a wide variety of cryogenic liquids, chemicals, oils, lubes and fuels – already a key market vertical at Anova; as well as sensing devices with a low profile that are not intrusive to the stackable capacity of the tank.

Adams goes on: “(Clients also want) the ability to have global access to GPS locations of their ISO tanks, all within one application environment. Our engineers and developers worked tirelessly to develop an industry-leading IoT solution and as a result, we’re proud to support ISO logistic companies as they have been fantastic partners in helping the ISO tank market innovate and evolve.”

In recent years, Anova has struck agreements with various other niche suppliers to the market to roll out a genuinely comprehensive range of products and services.

Most recently that meant a merger with Silicon Controls; in particular, Silicon’s GASLOG equipment and services brand. “Silicon Controls has grown significantly in the past five years, a general trend in the adoption rate of tank monitoring in propane,” says Robert Battye, VP and COO of GASLOG. “Sales, support and transformation services were primarily based out of its HQ in Sydney, Australia, requiring long overseas stints by the leadership team to maintain customer satisfaction and progress strategy.

“To build on its growth, Silicon recognized an urgent need for a global organisation to build the key capabilities their customers deserved, such as ‘follow the sun 24/7 support’, in-country sales and marketing, access to extended application engineering teams, and, of course, added depth   in leadership.”

(Anova participated at last year’s Tank Container Village at transport logistic)

IoT is at the core of the future of remote mobile asset management

By merging with Anova, this otherwise significant investment in time and resources was resolved without risk to Silicon’s customers, Battye explains. “While any merger takes time to realise, self-evidently the agility of both companies is rapidly bringing tangible benefits to our customers, suppliers and our teams. This inevitably will impact the growth rates and expansion of Anova, while simultaneously increasing our relevance to customers in its primary market segments – LPG/propane, chemicals, oils, lubricants, fuels and cryogenic gases,” he says.

It also means that Silicon’s Australia-based HQ brings top-end sales, support, and technical teams to Anova’s customers in Asia-Pacific, as well as win-win benefits to both organisations for industry experience, thought leadership, and product development.

Last year also saw the acquisition of Portugal- based Intelligent Sensing Anywhere (ISA). ISA’s product lines diversified Anova’s offerings and expanded its global footprint to serve customers better.

“The results to date have been undeniably positive for Anova and its customers,” says Reshamwala. “We have an increased presence in Europe, Latin America, Middle East and Canada, a more global customer support team with multi- language capabilities, and a powerful IIoT  software platform with a scalable cloud-based architecture.”