Indicium implements a worldwide wireless network for leading transport company.
Imagine the following situation: you work for an international company and regularly work at other locations abroad. It doesn’t matter where you are; you want to be able to work anywhere, without network or internet problems or other stumbling blocks. Simply open your laptop at any location and get to work immediately, in the way you are familiar with. That is what Indicium B.V. for Mammoet, the world’s largest specialist in heavy lifting and multimodal transport.
Heavy lifting and multimodal transport. That is what Mammoet has been committed to for many years. And they do that well. The company transports, ships, moves and removes large and/or heavy objects to and from any location around the world. The success of this international lifting and transport company lies mainly in its flexibility, expertise, safety and quality.
What you would almost forget as an outsider is that there is an entire organization behind Mammoet’s activities. Because getting all the necessary parts of cranes and substructures transported to the right location requires a lot of work and good planning. Two years ago, this was the reason for Mammoet to start optimizing the entire internal network and all business processes. Indicium was called in as an advisor and was allowed to write a plan to provide Mammoet with a worldwide transparent infrastructure, secure reliable wireless networks and an optimal system for all logistics processes.
In addition to a safe and optimal logistics system, Mammoet has another important requirement. The networks in locations where barcodes are scanned should never go down. The barcodes must be able to be scanned at all times so that all logistics processes continue smoothly.
It should be noted that this application is complex. The size, security requirements and the difficult locations where high coverage wireless networks are required demand a plan that brings all these components together into a working, central and global automation system. That is why Indicium has designed the comprehensive ‘Global Wireless Design’ roadmap to meet all Mammoet’s needs.
The first step of the Global Wireless Design is to perform a Site Survey, in which an experienced engineer performs a measurement on location to determine the number of Access Points (AP) for a wireless network with coverage. This is an extra challenge at Mammoet because of the difficult port location, which is located in a so-called harsh environment. These kinds of environments mean that a wireless network has to endure a lot due to interference, wireless networks of surrounding companies, ships passing by with radar signals and ships with APs. A very robust network was therefore an absolute necessity.
“This Global Wireless Design meets all Mammoet's requirements”Kees Brouwer - Senior Network Engineer
Step two is setting up the software. This step was the most important phase in the Global Wireless Design. A choice was made in a Wireless Control System (WCS). This system centralizes the worldwide network to three central points. All branches and departments are linked to this system. The network is regulated, managed and controlled from the central points. With this, changes are universally implemented, error messages are picked up and reports can be generated with everyone’s preference. Separate networks can also be created that serve, for example, for guests, so that they can use the internet or certain parts of the internal Mammoet network without having to log into Mammoet’s secure wireless network. The WCS manages all WLAN Controllers. Indicium has therefore made a careful choice for this hardware in its Global Wireless Design.
The next step is to select Access Points (AP). Indicium chose the Cisco 3500 series AP and the Cisco 1550 series AP, because of the CleanAir technology. This means that sources of interference can be detected and channels can be changed proactively. By using this in combination with the WLAN Controller, an entire infrastructure can continue to adapt independently, so that the most optimal coverage is maintained.
The Global Wireless Design is set up in such a way that Mammoet manages the infrastructure from three central data centers. These three ‘main locations’ of the Wireless Design serve as central points from which the entire infrastructure is arranged.
The central points are located in Haarlem, Houston and Singapore. Two WLAN Controllers have been placed at each of these data centers, each with its own functionality. For example, the first WLAN Controller serves as a controller for small and medium-sized offices. This Controller is also a backup for the WLAN Controllers at the large locations. The second WLAN Controller controls all guest users. Guest users are created via the central management system who can log in to Mammoet worldwide. This Controller only allows guests to access the Internet through a highly secured system.
The wireless network that Indicium realized, forms the basis for an extensive Asset Management System. Before cranes and equipment parts are moved or shipped, the parts are scanned using a barcode. By integrating this system, Mammoet has constant and everywhere insight into where all cranes and equipment parts are located.
At the relevant Mammoet locations where this registration of parts takes place, mostly outdoor areas, Indicium has implemented WLAN Controllers at the location due to the amount of roaming. This means that the local network can never fail and Mammoet can continue to register parts.
Mammoet’s requirement to be able to scan barcodes at all times in order to register parts and to maintain an optimal insight into the localization of all lift work and crane parts has thus been met.
Mammoet has significantly improved all internal processes in the field of wireless and internal networks and inventory management through the Global Wireless Design. Below is a summary of the most important advances: