Remote monitoring of heavy equipment can deliver many benefits including reducing machine downtime and maintenance costs. For example, take a look at the article about Komatsu’s remote monitoring system that appeared in the its Down to Earth magazine (see p. 26), where a local government was able to double hours of operation between service intervals for their new equipment.
In late 2012 and early 2013, the Tasmanian Huon Valley Council took delivery of two new Komatsu GD655-5 graders. As part of the package, the council also opted for the KOWA (Komatsu Oil Wear Analysis) and KOMTRAX monitoring service.
KOWA is an oil sampling service that looks at the particles that begin to appear in the oil as components in the equipment begin to wear. Combined with information from KOMTRAX, Komatsu service organizations can help identify trends and provide recommendations for preventative actions before a failure.
For the Tasmanian Huon Valley Council, actively monitoring the oil of their graders along with equipment use has meant that they have been able to extend the service intervals from the standard 250 hours to 500 hour intervals. According to Malcom Russell, the council’s manager of works, the increase in service time not only saves them money by reducing downtime but it also reduces servicing costs.
In addition to oil analysis, monitoring usage and critical fault codes is another way to reduce maintenance costs. Doosan Telematics has recently released an upgraded telematics package for its heavy equipment. The new system gives customers, fleet managers and dealers access to many reports that are designed to reduce maintenance costs including:
- Operating hours
- Engine idle time vs. work time (revolutions per minute)
- Error codes
- Engine and hydraulic oil temperatures
However, many fleet managers opt against remote monitoring systems to help with their maintenance programs, partly because of the volumes of data that can be created and having to access multiple portals for mixed fleets. Nevertheless, the industry is working on resolving some of these issues.
The Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) recently released a new version of its API which is intended to make it easier to transfer telematics information in mixed equipment fleets to end user business enterprise systems. This will allow fleet managers to analyze data from mixed equipment fleets and be able to extract the nuggets of information that will reduce the amount of maintenance that needs to be performed on equipment.