“You can imagine, a big ship is sailing in the endless and stormy sea for days or even months. Once its diesel engine fails, its power and lighting systems will be put into great danger, and even worse, the ship will lose power and begin floating at the sea, which will put the shipowner and his crew at risk and make their family worried.” said Li Weibiao, general manager of Guangzhou Diesel Engine Factory Co., Ltd. This is what he cares about the most.

A turning point for the diesel engine factory

Hip Tung Wo Engineering Works, predecessor of Guangzhou Diesel Engine Factory Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “GDF”), was founded in 1911. Devoted to developing Chinese national industry at that time, this traditional factory produced the first diesel engine in China four years later.

In 1966, the factory was officially renamed as “Guangzhou Diesel Engine Factory” after the joint venture restructuring. In 2010, this oldest enterprise in China’s diesel engine manufacturing industry completed the shareholding reform and became the “GDF” nowadays, whose products are now sold all over China and are also well known in Southeast Asia.

Nowadays, while international trades are getting busier and busier, large cargo ships have more and more strict requirements on the safety and reliability of diesel engines. Meanwhile, with the development of new generation information technologies such as cloud computing, big data, Internet of Things, mobile Internet and artificial intelligence, the management of ship engines and even the whole ships has started to become networked and intelligent.

In the past, marine diesel engine does not even have a lot of electric devices. Now, it is at a great turning point for digitization and changes. In the end, should we stay safe on the sidelines, or advance with bold innovation? This has become a fork in the road for Li Weibiao and GDF after about 100 years of development.

Traditional manufacturing takes up IIoT

As GDF’s general manager, Li Weibiao decided to advance with bold innovation. In May 2019, GDF and ROOTCLOUD launched the project of “Building an Intelligent Equipment Service Platform”.

“Since we decided to do it, we should choose to partner up with the expert who really understand industrial Internet.” Li Weibiao introduced the current project cooperation with ROOTCLOUD in a full range of hardware and software, including the entire after-sales service system. The system is developed by ROOTCLOUD, and GDF mainly provides hardware for diesel engines.

After the ROOTCLOUD IoT box is installed on the diesel engine, the operating parameters of the monitoring system on the diesel engine can be read and uploaded to the cloud. Through the software and cell phone APP developed by ROOTCLOUD, the power, real-time operating speed, location and other parameters of the diesel engine can be obtained from computers or cell phones in real time to grasp the real-time operating status of engines of ships sailing across the ocean. This helps GDF reduce about 30% of equipment management cost and shorten about 20% of response time for equipment management.

The intelligent service platform built by ROOTCLOUD for GDF

It cannot suffice GDF’s needs for more intelligent development if only the operation status of diesel engines is monitored by engineers. With the accumulation of parameters stored in the cloud, GDF’s engineers and ROOTCLOUD’s big data and AI experts will work together to build a diesel engine health diagnosis model, providing real-time health assessment and risk warning for each connected GDF diesel engine based on the past operational metrics and parameters.

The ship engines are networked to enable risk diagnosis and fault warning, and to plan out maintenance targeted for each engine in advance, so as to not only avoid huge economic losses to ship owners due to suspension of shipping services, but also guarantee the safe navigation of ships.

In addition, the after-sales service system can track the customer’s equipment using behaviors based on the monitoring of engines, and provide customers with after-sales services including parts sales and maintenance. Li Weibiao said, “We believe that the integration of offline service resources through ROOTCLOUD’s online intelligent service system is expected to help GDF increase its after-sales service revenues by more than 30% within five years.”