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Telematics Systems Drive Efficiency for Heavy Equipment Operations


By: Seth Skydel

In 2016, the global mixed-fleet telematics standard for earth moving equipment from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) received approval from ISO, the International Organization for Standardization.


The standard enables equipment users to gather data more easily on equipment location, operating hours, fuel usage, distance traveled, caution alerts, idle time, engine operations, and a variety of diagnostic codes. That information can then be integrated into business or fleet management software and in turn improve the ability to manage and analyze fleets and  operations, which leads to time and cost savings.


While the ISO mixed-fleet telematics standard is focused on earthmoving equipment, it serves as a model for similar standards that can apply to other types of machinery. With these standards equipment users have access to telematics data from manufacturers, and suppliers of business and fleet management software support its integration and enable its retrieval through a common API (Application Programming Interface) format.


And that brings us to a new industry effort to develop a telematics standard for cranes.


“The AEMP, which is made up of owners and users of equipment, including cranes, approached the AEM Crane Technical Committee about developing a telematics standard,” explained Stephanie Wood, director, product safety at Terex Corporation and the committee’s chairperson. “Suppliers in the crane industry agreed that for owners and operators standardizing how manufacturers deliver telematics data across all makes and models is important.


“Today, the potential value of crane data from telematics systems is limited in that it’s specific to each manufacturer’s products,” Wood continued. “Information is being delivered in different formats and through different portals. What the standard will do is create a common language for telematics data so users can integrate it with their operations and maintenance management systems more easily and use it to compare the same data from all sources.”


Driven by that need, Wood reported that the AEM Crane Technical Committee proposed a new telematics standard.


“ISO has created an ad hoc committee to work on a standard like the one for earthmoving  equipment that covers crane telematics,” Wood related. “Crane manufacturers are backing the effort and AEM and AEMP are in agreement about what the standard should include.”


While industry and standards organization committees develop recommended methods for providing crane data, manufacturers are already finding ways to organize and deliver the growing amount of information available through telematics systems. That includes solutions that take advantage of cloud computing platforms and mobile device applications that allow anytime, anywhere access.


“We have always had access to the vast amount of data being captured and managed by our crane operating system and factory installed telematics devices on all of our product lines,” said Bruce Kabalen, mgr. marketing & technical communications at Link-Belt. “The development of a telematics standard for crane data will benefit all parties.”


Describing what he called a three-legged stool, Kabalen noted standardized telematics data will give crane owners and users location and usage information for better managing their operations and businesses.


“While owners control that data,” Kabalen added, “sharing it with dealers and service providers enables proactive and predictive maintenance practices that eliminate unscheduled repairs and reduce downtime for service. Similarly, it gives manufacturers the ability to use aggregated information to design and develop better products.”


At Tadano, crane operators can use the manufacturer’s communication tool that connects cranes with owners, service staff and the manufacturer. Tadano also offers a retrofit option for connecting existing cranes via the cloud. Both solutions can be accessed on computers and mobile devices. With the systems, machine data is collected via satellite or cellular communications networks and stored in a highly secure internet data center, and from there it is provided to the customer.


Telematics data also drives service activity that leads to better reliability. For instance, remote tracking helps develop more effective maintenance schedules. A view into machine operating data can be used provide proactive maintenance services that prevent costly downtime. When issues do arise, service managers and technicians can maximize support and provide a higher level of service and repair expertise by using remote troubleshooting and diagnostic capabilities.


Across the board, telematics systems provide advanced fleet management and remote accessibility capabilities between cranes and their owners and users. Those connections help monitor and manage and control assets. And for crane operators and owners, telematics data from equipment has increasing value when it can be integrated with operations and maintenance management software.


Seth Skydel is an editor, writer and subject matter expert with more than 38 years of experience covering commercial asset management subjects in the trucking, transportation, logistics, utility, construction and related markets.

Article written by Seth Skydel is an editor, writer and subject matter expert with more than 38 years of experience covering commercial asset management subjects in the trucking, transportation, logistics, utility, construction and related markets.


Crane Hot Line is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.