Agricultural Machine Monitoring
Posted by Tony Garvey
May 09, 2019
A large machinery manufacturer based in Europe that produces heavy machinery for the agricultural and public sector such as local authorities. The client prides itself on producing equipment renowned for their low running and upkeep costs, helping their customers reduce maintenance bill and machine downtimes. They export products globally, and each year are adding new markets to their large customer base.
The machinery produced by the client is predominantly PTO (Power take-off) driven, and has no electrical connection on the equipment. Power during usage is delivered through a tractor that pulls the equipment when in use.
In the heavy machinery business world, equipment is typically sold as a one off capital cost to their clients. Equipment is often sold through a dealership or partner network around the world, so the manufacturer has limited visibility to the end user in many cases. It’s not uncommon that the manufacture would not hear from a customer until they either want to buy a new machine, or if there is an issue.
The manufacturer provides information to all its customers about recommended service intervals for different aspects of the equipment. This information is usually based on usage of the machine, e.g.: after 16 hrs. of usage, apply grease to X locations. Up to this point, this information provided is available in booklet that is attached to the equipment in a protected metal box.
In the now expected world of online customer support, our client needed to get a closer understanding of how their machines are being used so they can provide better customer service to the end users, as well as their dealership network.
Our client requested Remote Signals to work with their team to develop and introduce a remote machine monitoring system for their machines. The system was to be developed to allow existing machines to be retrofitted with the system, as well as allowing it to be easily integrated into the manufacturing process of new machinery.
The primary objectives of the system were to provide details on machine identification, machine usage and distance travelled on a daily basis.
Additional considerations to be taken into account were that there was no power source on the machines and that the machines would be used in harsh outdoor environments.
Remote Signals developed a telematics monitoring device that can be used on any machine, but with custom sensor harnessing for the specific equipment the client manufacturers.
The hardware aspects are added at manufacture but can be easily retrofitted to existing machines. This product is certified for use across Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa. It supplies machine identification information together with hours worked and distance travelled updates on a daily basis.
The information gathered is displayed on both mobile and web applications. The recommended service intervals provided by the manufacturer are logged in the Remote Signals cloud. The sensors report data daily and compares the actual usage to the recommended service intervals. When the usage times are close to the service times, a notification is sent to the user or dealer. This then lets them know what areas of the equipment require attention and once they compete a service they can acknowledge or signoff on the work online.
The system provides all parties, from manufacturer, dealership and users valuable information about the service records of each machine. Regular maintenance at the correct times ensures reduced maintenance bills and machine downtimes.
The system provides the manufacture valuable data about how the machine is being used and serviced. They are able to reach out to clients if services are not being completed on time as this is critical information to ensure the warranty on the machines remains valid. It also helps keep a record of the machines work history and can be used to value the asset when it comes to trading in or re-selling the equipment.