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Light up the operational state of your vessel

· 5 min read

Teaser image
Photo by Stephen Dawson on Unsplash

Imagine a world where you go to work, come to your office and see an electric bulb that either glows green or red to show the operational state of your fleet. Furthermore, the color and brightness scheme change dynamically, depending on the adjustments you made. No effort to spring into action and have a dedicated look into monitoring tools.

In order to showcase such scenarios, we have an easy to use end-to-end test setup with a data logging device connected via Data Butler services to our cloud environment. From there, an automated trigger activates a workflow that checks for data availability. If something wrong is detected, an alarm is raised and the bulb will change its color to red.

The complete setup can be seen below:

Hue light bulb indicating the online status of a vessel.

This opens up a door to many more possible solutions, especially with automation tools like Nodemation (n8n).

Use cases

In recent years, Hoppe established a highly secure and easy to use data transmission service, which allows our customers to gain customized insight into their vessels' data on shore side. Using this possibility in a manner, that benefits our customers, can be accomplished in many ways, e.g. through monitoring the operational state of a vessel.

Several workflows are already implemented at Hoppe, some of them based on transmitted operational data. This includes e.g. communication between JIRA and Microsoft Teams on predefined events, as well as prototypes for a data pipeline to a customer and automated notifications via email on various operational conditions.

Maybe you are interested in optimizing fuel oil consumption or trim and list of your fleet. Possibly the engines of your vessel are not allowed to run in a certain state to avoid wear. There are few limits on customizing your requested conditions and process them in a reasonable way.

Getting started

A valuable approach on automating important events or repetitive routines can be done by low-coding tools like Nodemation, also called n8n. Its structure is based on prebuild function blocks, which can be connected to a logical workflow. These nodes need a small amount of in- and output information to run completely autonomous.

It is easy to setup such a workflow when you are using those tools. Let's have a more detailed look into how it works and explain the different nodes we have used. This setup can also be seen as a base-line to build more customized and complex workflows, that could incorporate a wide variety of use cases.

Nodemation Flow

First we need a trigger to start the actual workflow. Nodemation provides many nodes for that, e.g. a Webhook trigger. For our purpose, we just use the Cron trigger, which enables us to run the workflow every 15 minutes.

Next step would be to get the current time and set our requested timespan. We use a Function Item node to get the current UTC time with the help of some basic lines of JavaScript code:

var DateRaw = new Date();

item.ToTimeRaw = DateRaw;

return item;

Now, we need another format as well as another timestamp, which represents the requested timespan. We use Date & Time nodes to customize the raw timestamps like this:

Nodemation Configuration

Afterwards, we would be able to load data from our API, which can be accomplished with a HTTP Request node. In order to do that, the function block needs an active API key as well as the following information:

  • Select Authentication: Header Auth
  • Select Request Method: GET
  • Create New Credentials: Name = Authorization, Value = ApiKey <insert_actual_api_key_here>
  • Insert URL:
  • Add Query Parameters:
    • Name = from_date, Value = {{$node["Format FromTime"].json["FromTime"]}}
    • Name = to_date, Value = {{$node["Format ToTime"].json["ToTime"]}}
    • Name = signals, Value = <insert_machine_codes_here> (optional)

Now, we can use an IF node to decide directly what to do with the given information. In this case, the bulb glows green as long as the signal quality is 100% and raises an alarm otherwise. As a result, the color keeps you up-to-date with the current operational state of your vessel.

Many actions can also be taken, e.g. sending out emails or documenting the information in a spreadsheet file. Nodemation provides many possibilities as well as a wide community to customize and support your project.

Summary and further readings

Hoppe Marine GmbH could provide a new experience in monitoring and notifying when combining the Hoppe API with automated workflows. Low/no coding tools like n8n keep the entry level low and their possibilities grow day per day. Not (yet) existing function blocks can often times be supplemented via code blocks, where you need a small amount of coding experience. To read more about our API or n8n visit or

What are your thoughts about that? Which use cases are you interested in? Which kind of notifications are valuable for you? We are curious to hear about that and could image to support the implementation. We'd be excited if you contacted us at moc.eniram-eppoh@snoitulosatad for ideas and feedback.

About the Author
Stefan SpatzStefan Spatz works as Data Scientist for Hoppe Marine since December 2021 after finishing his physic studies in Munich. He is now responsible for Operational Data Analytics as well as Development of Machine Learning Software for internal usage.

In his free time, he loves playing all kinds of games or having long bicycle tours in the nature.