Case Study

How one Intangles customer got to the bottom of a devastating incident 

After one of its tankers caught fire, a major engineering and industrial gas company figured out what really went wrong – with the help of Intangles’ Digital Twin Technology. 

Fire on the road 

On a recent mid-afternoon, an industrial gas tanker equipped with Intangles’ InGenious™ telematics device accidentally caught fire. The fire was immense, leaving the trailer charred to the ground, and it could have resulted in an even more serious incident had the vehicle been loaded.  

Yet while the damage was relatively contained, the fire presented a big mystery to the Intangles customer that owned the tanker – a global giant in the engineering and industrial gases sector. The organization is well-known for its top-notch operating practices and strict adherence to safety standards, and so company officials unsurprisingly wanted to do everything they could to discover its primary cause and help prevent similar incidents in future. 

Conflicting theories 

The company resolved to conduct a full-scale investigation and created a committee to look into every detail about what went wrong. That investigation, however, precipitated a pile-up of conflicting conclusions. 

 

One investigative track suggested that the fault lay in a short in the truck’s alternator circuit. Another line of inquiry, however, concluded that the incident had probably occurred due to a spike in the engine’s temperature. That finding would have implied negligence on the part of the operator, who may not have observed warnings on the vehicle’s instrument panel. It also suggested lapses in vehicle maintenance. 

 

The company was unable to reach a conclusive hypothesis. 

Mystery solved—and actionable insights gained 

The company reached out to Intangles to try and shed some light on which hypothesis was correct.  

Intangles’ telematics device is so effective that even though the trailer was ablaze, it continued to transmit data from all the operational sensory data points within the vehicle until it burned down. Quite quickly, Intangles’ Digital Twin platform, fed by real-time IoT data streams from the vehicle, came up with an answer to the question of which hypothesis was right: Neither. 

A comprehensive diagnostic profile of the engine, readily accessible on the cloud, clearly showed that there were no anomalies in either the engine’s cooling system or its battery-alternator assembly around the time of the incident. Intangles carried out an investigation of our own after interacting with all the parties involved. Through our analytical insights, we concluded that both of the investigating committee’s working hypotheses were wrong. The root cause lay nowhere near the vehicle’s cabin, ruling out any issues with the truck’s internal mechanisms. In fact, the real culprit in the fire was the vehicle’s auxiliary wiring, which had short-circuited and caught fire.  

By applying Digital Twin Technology’s diagnostic capabilities, Intangles not only helped the company affirm that there was no compromise when it came to their safety and maintenance standards. We also generated awareness of the auxiliary wiring risk, helping the company and its operators to avoid another incident. Impressed by Intangles’ swift and accurate analytics, the company mandated the deployment of Intangles’ devices in their whole fleet, as well as the fleets of all their third-party vendors.  

Incidents like the tanker fire can occur in any fleet, but as this unusual case clearly shows, Intangles’ proprietary diagnostics and analytics technology can help minimize the risk of such catastrophic accidents. It can even help solve a “mystery” once in a while. 

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