Revamping the Water Deionization Industry with the Oracle IoT Cloud

    By: Amit Mehetre on Dec 22, 2016

    Revamping the Water Deionization Industry with the Oracle IoT Cloud

    By Amit Mehetre, Ashish Thakkar and Ankit Thakker, L&T Infotech  ◾  Eric Mader, Editor

    We live in an increasingly connected world, where the physical and digital spaces are converging. Technology puts this convergence to work, in the form of the Internet of Things (IoT), which leverages automation, analytics and exchange of data and transform processes, increasing efficiency and creating value like never before.

    Using the power of IoT, we at L&T Infotech have developed a smart solution for the water deionization industry using the Oracle IoT Cloud. Water deionization is the process of removing dissolved impurities such as salts from water using deionization cylinders. Keeping track of the health of these cylinders is one of the critical components of the entire deionization process.

    Our solution connects collected industrial data with customers, technicians and service providers to provide predictive and preventive maintenance, thereby increasing the efficiency of equipment and the overall deionization process.

    Service Provider: The organization that provides cylinders for water deionization.

    Technician: Field service engineer; the employee of a service provider.

    Customer: Organization which avails service from service provider.

    Traditional Deionization Process

    Traditionally, water deionization uses Electrical Conductivity (EC), temperature and flow sensors to monitor the process on premise. These sensors gather data as water flows out of a treatment facility.

    The EC sensor measures the conductivity of the water, which is directly proportional to amount of impurity in water and inversely proportional to the health of cylinder. Signals from these sensors are collected by a panel, which stores and transfers readings to a USB storage device. The panel throws an alarm when the conductivity value crosses a certain threshold — indicating that the cylinder is exhausted.

    Figure 1: Manual Deionization Process

    Figure 1: Manual Deionization Process
    The sensor readings are manually checked once every 15 days, and a technician, based on the data, estimates the health and remaining life of the cylinder. After a floor supervisor determines that a cylinder is exhausted, the cylinder is replaced with the spare one and the replacement of the exhausted cylinder is scheduled with a service provider. Later, the service provider replaces and collects the exhausted cylinder and sends the exhausted one for regeneration process, in preparation for reuse by a different customer.

    The manual interventions in the traditional deionization process are prone to errors. For instance, impure water could result from the process if the exhaustion of the cylinder is not noticed immediately. Also, there is no way to know precisely when the cylinder will be exhausted, thus 33 percent extra inventory is maintained at a facility, at all times.

    It is also typical for an end customer to send cylinders to a competing vendor for cheaper regeneration or for some other reason. Due to this, there is a critical need for service providers to track whether or not the cylinder is on a customer’s premises. The tracking helps preserve the technology and ensure continuous business.

    Smart Water Deionization Solution – Technical Insights

    L&T Infotech’s Smart Water Deionization Solution uses Oracle’s powerful IoT cloud platform, which gives simple and secured device management, rule engine and real time data exploration, cloud storage and seamless integration with various enterprise applications.

    Figure 2: Oracle IoT Cloud Service Console

    Figure 2


    The solution also uses other products from the Oracle stack including Oracle Service Bus, Mobile Application Framework and integrations with Oracle JD Edwards Enterprise One.

    Figure 3: Smart Water Deionization Process

    Figure 3

    Figure 3 shows the flow of smart water deionization solution. Instead of relying on an on-premise panel, signals from the sensors are collected by a gateway device — a Raspberry Pi — via conditioning circuits. The gateway device collects signals from different sensors from multiple deionization setups on-site. In this solution, temperature, electrical conductivity of water and cylinder tracking data is captured using sensors with custom ZigBee based tracking tags. Since the electrical conductivity sensor is analog in nature, an Arduino Uno is used to convert data into a digital message format. The digital temperature sensor and tracking data is also attached to the Arduino. The Arduino converts all readings into the required digital message format and sends it to the gateway device using a serial protocol.

    Figure 4: High-level solution architecture

    Figure 4
    The gateway device runs the Oracle IoT Gateway software, which establishes a secured communication with Oracle IoT Cloud service over the Internet. The solution connects to the internet over Wi-Fi, but can alternatively use other communication channels like GSM/GPRS, 3G and Sigfox. The Arduino, which acts as an end node, is managed as a device connected via a gateway configuration in the Oracle IoT Cloud service.

    Figure 5: Device management - Oracle IoT CS

    Figure 5

    Once the device is registered and the data starts reaching the IoT CS, a data stream can be created using the out-of-the-box powerful rule engine Stream Explorer (SX). In SX, explorations can be created to analyze the data stream based on rules. Rules can be defined in SX, and are based on which data is analyzed in real time.

    The smart water deionization solution consists of three explorations.

    1. All data exploration: This exploration captures all the data emitted by devices and received by IoT CS, and analyzes live readings of temperature and electrical conductivity. This data is later stored in an on-premise database via Oracle Service Bus. This data is utilized by the mobile application to show the real-time monitoring.
    2. SOR exploration: The rules within this exploration look for the temperature or electrical conductivity to cross a specific predefined threshold. For instance, if electrical conductivity crosses a threshold of 8 uS/cm, the rule in this exploration is trigged and the data is captured. This exploration changes a flag for service order request in local database via Oracle Service Bus, which will raise a service order request in JDE.
    3. Tracking exploration: This exploration tracks whether or not the cylinder is in the premises. Whenever a cylinder is moved, the exploration changes a flag in Oracle Service Bus, which raises an alert.

    These explorations are also visible in IoT CS console, under the Analyzed Data screen. The Integration tab within the IoT CS web console provides features to integrate with different enterprise applications. For instance, all the above explorations are integrated with Oracle Service Bus.

    Figure 6: Integration console: Oracle IoT CS

    Figure 6
    In this solution, data is routed from the IoT CS to a mobile application and JD Edwards Enterprise One via Oracle Service Bus. The mobile application allows the end customer to monitor the performance of the deionization system from anywhere in the world. The customer also receives an alert if the health of the cylinders degrades, based on the data coming through sensors and the rules configured in the IoT CS. After receiving these alerts, the customer can immediately schedule a replacement of the cylinder from the mobile application. The request is generated in JD Edwards and a service provider can take the required action. This allows the service provider to receive a higher visibility over demand and supply in advance.

    Likewise, if a customer fails to notice the health alert and the cylinder goes into a critical condition, the system automatically generates a request for the replacement. In this case, the service provider contacts the customer to schedule a visit for the replacement work, which helps put the customer’s mind at ease and improve the overall service experience.

    In this way, the system provides both preventive and predictive maintenance capabilities, and solves the challenge of maintaining spare inventory by an overall reduction of around 33 percent. The solution also provides cylinder-tracking capabilities for the service provider. Cylinders are equipped with ZigBee tracking tags, which generate tracking data that is also leveraged in the IoT CS. In the event that a cylinder is moved off of a customer premises without prior approvals, an alert is sent to the service provider and necessary actions can be taken.

    The Field Service – Mobile Application

    The Smart Water Deionization application offers a mobile platform for service providers, customers and service engineers. The application fetches data from on premise database as well as JDE using Oracle Service Bus services.

    The application for customers features a dashboard view. This dashboard contains critical data provided by the Oracle IoT CS, including the ability to view and monitor all installations across multiple locations, and track real-time operational parameters. In addition, customers are also provided with alerts and notifications, critical business information, analytical reports, and the ability to easily request service from anywhere.

    Figure 7: Customer dashboard - mobile application

    Figure 7
    The top left section of the dashboard shows the live readings of conductivity and temperature to the customer, providing live monitoring capability of a remote plant. The dashboard also shows the trend of electrical conductivity, which is inversely proportional to the health of cylinder. Thus, on the dashboard itself, a customer can visualize how the plant has been performing over time.

    In the top right corner of the dashboard, the customer is provided with a real-time prediction of the next service order. Based on current electrical conductivity data, the algorithm predicts the number of days left before the next replacement of the cylinder will be required. The dashboard also fetches important business-related information from JDE, such as the invoice amount due, the contract expiration date and SOR history.

    Service providers also have a similar dashboard view, which allows for the tracking of installation jobs and both connected and disconnected cylinders based upon customer type and geography. Similar to the customer application, service providers can also receive real-time alerts and notifications for pre-defined conditions, such as the unauthorized movement of a cylinder outside of a predefined area.

    Figure 8: Service provider dashboard - Mobile application

    Figure 8
    Service providers can also track key metrics about active cylinders, such as conductivity, and view trends and perform analysis of this data. The ERP data can also be pulled into the mobile application, for situations such as real time asset tracking and service order management.

    To provide prompt service to customer, it is essential to efficiently and intelligently manage human resources. The field service engineer’s mobile application does this job smoothly.

    Figure 9: Open Jobs - mobile application

    Figure 9.1Figure 9.2Figure 9.3

    When a work order is created and assigned in JDE, the assignment immediately appears in the mobile application of the field service engineer. The engineer can accept and schedule the work order right from the mobile application. The application also keeps him up-to-date with upcoming jobs that he has been assigned. Upon completion of the job, the application can also capture the customer’s signature and feedback on the service.

    Additionally, the mobile application provides an “Ask the Expert” feature that allows the engineer to take a video call with the expert from field in order to showcase the fault and solve it from anywhere. Engineers are also provided with a gamification feature that tracks skill levels, time of completion of jobs, and maintains rankings for the jobs completed by the engineer.

    JD Edwards Enterprise One

    The solution utilizes JD Edwards 9.1 with Tools Release as the ERP platform. Modules like Manufacturing, Inventory Management, Sales Order Management and General Accounting (G/L) were implemented. For the Water Deionization Solution, the Inventory Management and Manufacturing modules are linked with the overall Oracle IoT CS architecture to achieve the digitization of the water deionization process.

    During the architecture phase of the project, two options were considered for integrating with JDE. The first option was to utilize the IoT Orchestrator using Application Interface Services (AIS), which was an alternative to the implemented solution that involves OSB connecting to the JDE Business Services (BSSV). In this case, since the client already had Oracle Service Bus (OSB) as a part of their existing technology stack, it was decided to leverage this platform for the JDE integration.

    JDE provides web services for querying the inventory from the database and to create the service orders. When the conductivity or temperature crosses a threshold, the data is routed via OSB to an on premise database. To achieve this integration, the OSB server running on the database calls the JDE BSSV via a web service call. The new service orders are then processed further from within JDE.

    The BSSV query retrieves the complete details of a customer such as contract information, invoice details, last active or new service order details, and parts information for specific equipment. This information is displayed in mobile application via web services.

    For example, consider the details for a specific contract, which are fetched from table F1721 based on customer number (AN8) and equipment number (NUMB). The order details are fetched from table F4801 based on Equipment Number (NUMB) and SRST as SX, SV for last added records and active orders for that equipment. For each order fetched from F4801, the invoice details are filled from table F4812H. Parts details are fetched from table F3111 based on the equipment number. The standard BSSV - JP170000 CustomerServiceManager web services call then triggers the creation of a service order. The processServiceOrder method of BSSV is then used for creating the actual service order.

    Figure 10: Work Order Console - JDE

    Figure 10

    Figure 11: Work Order Console - JDE

    Figure 11


    Business Benefits of the Oracle IoT Cloud Service

    By using the Oracle IoT Cloud Service with Oracle Service Bus, the Mobile Application Framework and JD Edwards Enterprise One, the smart water deionization solution simplifies the maintenance process while enhancing the overall customer experience. Customers are able to reduce inventory by 33 percent, while gaining 24/7 real-time monitoring, alerting and predictive and preventative maintenance for their plants. The cylinders at customer premises are tracked in real time, which prevents from events like theft and reverse engineering by unauthorized source. The mobile application provides higher visibility over demand and supply for service providers, as well quick service responses powered by process automation.

    Overall, manual intervention is greatly reduced, which leads to fewer errors and higher process efficiency. Users are also able to leverage data analytics to gain greater insights into their business. 

    Released: December 22, 2016, 1:33 pm | Updated: April 3, 2019, 12:46 pm
    Keywords: Feature | SELECT Journal | Oracle IoT Cloud | SELECT | SELECT Journal

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