How to hack an industrial crane
What do you get when you combine tens of hackers and the expertise of a world-leading crane manufacturer and service provider? Fresh ideas and promising new possibilities – and a crane with emotions.
The first ever IndustryHack Hackathon event was held on February 6-8, 2015 in Hyvinkää, Finland. 15 teams, a total of 41 hackers, took up the challenge of developing and building new applications and services around the industrial internet in material handling in the span of 48 hours.
The event held in the Konecranes premises combined the knowledge and enthusiasm of the developers and designers, with the technical expertise of Konecranes.
The attending teams were chosen from a wide array of applicants and granted access to the application programming interface (API). Upon arrival, the competing teams were given an intensive course on safety issues and an introduction to the cranes in the premises. Then it was off to intensive hacking.
The main idea of the IndustryHack event was to show the possibilities and get people excited around the industrial internet. And of course, come up with fascinating new ideas.
“We’re definitely looking for new out-of-the-box ideas. Something, what we’ve never thought of before ourselves. Since we have so many start-ups and companies, experienced ICT people attending and developing applications with us during the weekend, our expectation level is high”, stated Lasse Eriksson, program manager from Konecranes at the beginning of the event.
Improving safety and productivity, sharing ideas
Enhancing crane safety was a predominant theme among many of the ideas presented by the competing teams. Many also dealt with making cranes smarter or more productive, for instance, by checking their condition and availability.
One concept presented by Team Eldar recognizes the crane operator and monitors his/her alertness and actions. Unwanted behavior causes the crane to develop a “fear factor” towards an operator, showing as a change in the cranes emotional state and response to the operator. This solution received recognition for fitting the bill as an out-of-the box concept.
Team Kun Cao, who were developing a solution for an indoor positioning system, which either slows or shuts the crane down when there is a risk of collision, thought the atmosphere was great and found the event enlightening. “Everyone is sharing ideas here. You can really feel it!”, they said.
As the second day started to turn into night, the teams were lead to an evening of activities and networking. And as the event was held in Finland, a trip to a sauna was naturally involved.
Winner shows a practical approach to customers’ issues
After two days of hard work, each team got to present their solution.
Team Valuemotive, represented by Marko Laakso and Kristian Ovaska, developed the winning application. Valuemotive is a Helsinki-based company specializing in data analysis and lean software development consulting.
Laakso explained what spurred the team’s winning idea: “We were highly inspired by Konecranes’ background tool, which enables the tracking of items on a map. It made us think of how we could use that tool in an industrial environment.”
Juha Pankakoski, Konecranes’ Chief Digital Officer said that the team’s concept stood out among many excellent conceptual and practical ideas presented by the teams:
“It was very well thought out to begin with and has a lot of development potential. It focused on our customers’ problems and issues,” Pankakoski said.
“Valuemotive showed a couple of examples of how the application could be used. For example they were collecting and comparing crane data and ERP data with each other to find out anomalies, such as loads that didn’t match what they were supposed to be,” added Lasse Eriksson, Program manager at Konecranes.
“The application enables the user to react and push events to other systems and so forth. It demonstrated a lot of attention to different aspects, used multiple data feeds and really showed value,” continued Eriksson.
(Valuemotive) were collecting and comparing crane data and ERP data with each other to find out different things, such as loads that didn’t match what they were supposed to be.
Pankakoski emphasized that all teams retain the rights to the ideas they came up with during the event, many of which have potential to be developed for implementation in other sectors.
First of its kind, many to follow
The Hackathon was the first to be organized as part of the IndustryHack series of ten industrial Hackathons. IndustryHack is the brainchild of Petri Vilén and Pekka Sivonen, who developed the events as a means to raise interest in the possibilities that can be generated by the industrial internet.
Pekka Sivonen, a seasoned veteran in the ICT industry, with 30 years of experience, sees that the industrial internet is not just about machines communicating with each other.
“The industrial internet is also revolutionizing the way human beings, operators of the cranes, interact”.
“In this hackathon, we witnessed some of the stuff that is cooking out there. We saw very big things migrating and integrating with very small things. We brought in a bus load of developers to explore the area between the wearables, smartphones and tablets, and the biggest cranes in the world”.
Click here to see the highlights of the event:
To see all the videos from the three-day event,
go to Konecranes’ YouTube channel @ http://youtube.com/user/liftingbusinesses
Find out more about http://konecranes.com/hackathon