Introduction

RAVAS is a manufacturer and distributer of industrial weighing systems. Many of its clients were having a hard time weighing large machines. An operator had to move to the place where the indicator is placed and have to log the reading manually, which used to delay operations. The client wanted us to come up with an innovative solution and our first guess was an application, a mobile app.

Offline Data Exchange

While developing a mobile app was the most obvious solution, the biggest challenge was to establish a connection between the weight indicator and the app to ensure the displayed weight reflects on the app. Transmitting that information over an IP was our first take. However, the client insisted on offline functionality. Therefore, we looked around other methods.

Bluetooth LE (BLE)

BLE is a version of Bluetooth that consumes very low energy thus can go on a single AA battery for months, not days, even in the case of real-time functionalities. The application would communicate with the weight reader and duplicate its value on the app screen. The problem was the weight indicator attached to huge machines would only return a reading to the app screen with a specific command. There were various sets of commands.

Simplifying the Commands

To make the app acknowledge and process these many commands required a lot of low-level coding, which would have increased cost. Therefore, we worked around bringing all commands under one set that the app via the BLE interface would register and reciprocate. By the time of MVP, the app was capable of reading net weight, gross weight, and TAR weight.

TAR Weight

A majority of the clients complained that they did not like the idea how the app just duplicates the value on weight indicators via Bluetooth even when the machinery is inside a shell or a box. As the resulting weight was the sum of machine’s and box’s weight, the operator had to manually subtract the box weight from the total weight to calculate the machine’s weight. It took him the same time it used to take for manual weight registration. That is why we brought the concept of TAR weight to app.

Manual and Auto TAR

The concept of Auto TAR is simple. The operator can register a weight showing on the app as TAR weight. The operator can start by loading just the box on the weighing machine and register the first value it receives on the app as the TAR weight. Then, the app will deduct TAR weight from all upcoming weight reading to show only the net weight unless the operator resets TAR.
In case of Manual TAR, the operator has to manually enter the TAR weight.
Net Weight = Gross Weight + TAR Weight

Diagnostics

A number of times the clients were clueless what happened with their RAVAS machine that it is malfunctioning. Of course, this was a tough question; after all, there is so much that can go wrong in those complicated industrial weighing systems. To help diagnosing the problem causing malfunction easier, we included diagnostic features in the app. Pressing the button issues a command to the indicator and it will release diagnostic information to the applications local storage, which a person can export in CSV format.

A win-win situation

RAVAS helps manufacturers and distributors to integrate their mobile industrial weighing systems in hand pallet trucks, warehouse trucks and forklift trucks located at their location. The addition of a mobile app to connect with the weighing system over Bluetooth will help both the parties. RAVAS will get a fairer share of the industrial weighing market owing to wide adoption of bleeding edge technology. The distributors and manufacturers will be able to streamline and automate a larger part of their operations and, thus, save costs.

Technology Used

The team of mobile developers at TOPS Infosolution used Swift Language, Android language and Raspberry
SDK to develop the Koloni Share.