Hexagon Digital Wave

Digitizing cylinder systems

From 2021, Hexagon Digital Wave is a separate business area in the Hexagon Group. As a separate business area, Hexagon Digital Wave will be better positioned to exploit its Internet of Things (IoT) opportunity and launch new business models.

Workforce (FTEs)
Digital Wave main photo

Global leader in cylinder testing technology

Hexagon Digital Wave is the global leader in Modal Acoustic Emissions and Ultrasonic Examination non-destructive evaluation of high-pressure cylinders. High-pressure composite cylinders must be recertified via testing every five years.

Hexagon Digital Wave is becoming a key equipment and technology supplier to the gas distribution industries by reducing asset down-time and inspection costs while improving cylinder inspection accuracy.

Digital Wave MAE Illustration Epicenter

Ultrasonic Examination (UE)

The UE inspection methodology has been accepted in many jurisdictions as the preferred re-qualification method for Type 1 cylinders. The systems accuracy, reliability and models representing varying throughput requirements have become the customer choice throughout the world. Presently, Hexagon Digital Wave UE systems have been installed in over 120 sites worldwide.

Modal Acoustic Emissions (MAE)

MAE will serve as the cornerstone of Hexagon Digital Wave's smart technologies. MAE inspection is done by equipping the tank with sensors that pick up guided ultrasound waves travelling within the composite wall. When analyzed, these waves can be used to source and locate damage in the tank structure. MAE technology can tell what caused the damage, based on the wave signatures and determine severity of the measurement.

Uniquely, Hexagon Digital Wave's MAE technology has been accepted by U.S. Department of Transport (US DOT) as the preferred method of requalification on Type 4 cylinders. MAE is also gaining traction in its mobile T1 trailer application, as it allows inspection without dismantling the cylinders from the trailer and more quickly returns the trailer to revenue-generating service.

About the market

Hexagon’s addressable market of cylinder system sales is expected to grow by about four times to approximately USD 8 billion in 2025. The Group is well positioned to capture these opportunities. Hexagon Digital Wave’s services apply to solutions in both the g-mobility and e-mobility segments.

Digitizing cylinder systems enable second life

As the world grows ever more digital, the demand for integrated, digital solutions is growing. In Hexagon, MAE technology will drive the digital transformation. Miniaturizing and commercializing sensors so they can be factory installed enables the creation of a digital twin of each cylinder, allowing it to communicate with other vehicle or infrastructure systems. Digitalized cylinder systems will enable increased safety, offer extended cylinder lifetimes, and ultimately enable second life through the reuse or repurposing of more viable assets.

Creating new business models

The business models for digitized cylinder systems will take various forms, including outright product purchase, subscription fees or lease payments, such as:

  • An IoT platfom enabled by smart systems, where customers can connect with their preferred partners and software tools
  • Live health monitoring of the cylinder system, with real-time reporting to driver and central fleet management of issues and system performance
  • Tank-as-a-service, or leasing tank systems with live health monitoring to improve end-of-life handling, reduce risks of ownership and provide an asset-light balance sheet. Giving customers the option of long-term leasing versus an outright purchase will help adoption.
  • Repurpose tanks for next life: Second life enablement (certified pre-owned)

Hexagon Digital Wave has first mover advantage in scaling the platform to access the of data needed to improve products, build out services and set the industry standard for safety features.

Objectives for 2021- 2022

  • Launch minimum viable product for Live Health Monitoring
  • Prepare for ramp-up in 2022
  • Preparing to launch Tank-as-a-service in 2023
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