– 5 min. min
Published: 21. November 2022
By Soeren Brogaard
CEO at Trackunit
– 5 min.

5 Ways Telemetry Helps Eliminate Downtime

We know that downtime is the biggest scourge facing construction as it faces up to the challenges of finding long-term sustainable solutions. Here’s 5 ways telemetry helps to cut waste and boost productivity.

Over the last ten years, construction has made a considerable leap forward in its recognition of technology as an essential building block in driving up productivity, safety, and in helping to eliminate downtime across sites and the supply chain.

The construction industry has gone from the bottom of the technology use table to one of the top six in terms of investment. To ensure that this leap of faith accelerates the positive downward pressure to eliminate downtime, the industry must focus on a range of targets.

Here are five opportunities to help create real benefits supported by telemetry.

1. Creating the foundation

Telematics has been around for more than 25 years, and within construction equipment, rental companies were early adopters. At its core within rental, it provides customers and operators with the ability to know what they have, where it is, and how it’s being used.

Increased demand for telematic solutions and government mandates on safety and security are key driving factors. Recently released research from marketsandmarkets.com predicts that the Total Construction Equipment Market will grow from $180 billion in 2022 to $223bn by 2027. Machines are becoming more expensive and the requirement to maximize utilization in a growing market is increasing.

However, cost sensitivity of fleet owners is a continuing hurdle in the deployment of fleet management technologies. Telematics companies are working with OEMs, rental, and other customers to deploy technologies that provide optimized solutions, allowing customers to scale up as their experience with the technology grows.

‘Machines are becoming more expensive and the requirement to maximize utilization in a growing market is increasing.’

Current estimates are that around 40% of machines, in most rental fleets, employ some form of telematics capabilities, with the most expensive telehandlers enjoying the highest rates of connectivity. Another report from marketsandmarkets.com indicates that the Construction and Heavy Equipment Telematics Market is expected to grow to $1.498bn in 2026, up from circa $0.68bn in 2021.

Technology’s growing opportunity requires suppliers to demonstrate the associated cost-benefit, especially where the solution is an after-market installation of devices and systems across whole fleets as this is a costly exercise. However, increasing numbers of rental and construction organizations are witnessing the value of these technologies. Today they are adding to the efficiency of ownership and smoother running projects, as well as strengthening the bottom line of the businesses.

Connectivity and shared data are what is driving a step change in the industry. Technology is revolutionizing construction and dumb machines are becoming smart assets. Millions of gigabytes of data are being transferred daily, and that information is increasing technology’s ability to predict outcomes for the benefit of workers and organizations.

2. Near-and-far coverage

Non-powered tools and accessories have been a legacy obstacle to eliminating downtime. The lack of inexpensive technology solutions has until now prolonged the industry’s inability to track and monitor light equipment on site, or off. The hand tools market in 2021 was valued at $22.07bn, in a report from ReasearchAndMarkets.com.

Industry estimates suggest that between 2-3% of relatively inexpensive tools and accessories are electronically tagged and easily located on site. This dismal statistic illustrates why between 15–20% of this type of asset are lost each year. Imagine, if organizations could recoup between $3-$4bn in lost and stolen tools and accessories each year. That’s mind-boggling.

‘…each Bluetooth enabled asset creates a radius of around 250 meters and on large work sites this would create a significant IoT mesh network…’

There is a solution that can drastically reduce that number. In fact, it can locate assets on site, in stock yards and stolen tools and equipment that have been removed from sites. Inexpensive Bluetooth tags attached to the tools offer capabilities to monitor when, how and where the assets are being used. Furthermore, each Bluetooth enabled asset creates a radius of around 250 meters and on large work sites this would create a significant IoT mesh network adding a substantial amount of useful data on asset location and use.

Bluetooth tags that connect equipment and light assets help save costs.

Through the tagged asset network created by the IoT-enabled large machines and attaching Bluetooth chips to the tools that extend the network, rental companies can dramatically reduce the number of tools lost, stolen, or misused on jobsites. Today, suppliers and rental companies are using the data to help them differentiate their businesses in an increasingly competitive market.

3. Mitigating the supply chain crisis

The fall-out from Covid and continuing supply chain problems means that machines and spare parts are increasingly difficult to supply to customers. Therefore, intelligent use of the data gathered from machines is essential to ensure optimized fleet utilization.

Analysing machine data and taking under-utilized machines off rent not only saves the customer money, but it can also release 2-3% higher equipment utilization by moving the equipment to another customer, increasing the machine’s income.

4. Hitting green targets

Many countries, including most of Europe, and the US are introducing government or municipal-backed emissions reporting requirements. Telematics is a pre-requisite for being able to report carbon emissions by either asset, fleet, or job site. Fuel-use emissions are essential for carbon-release models and understanding how the machine’s engine is being used over time provides a more accurate assessment of the carbon output.

The global fuel crisis has redoubled efforts by operators and rental companies to monitor how fuel is being used and highlight anomalies to ensure fuel is not being wasted or stolen from machines. Analysis of fleet fuel use over time will highlight which machines have an unusual use of fuel, which can be investigated by the customer or rental company. The anomaly may be due to driver behavior, engine service requirement, or possibly theft, but technology is now supporting users in their investigations which will result in fuel savings.

5. Extending machine life

Another area where telemetry data is increasingly essential, especially as vehicle lifecycles are extending due to supply chain pressures, is maintenance. Sharing machine data across customers and OEMs is influencing new machine designs as well as increasing life cycles and increasing machine utilization.

Access to machine data is crucial to optimize machine maintenance.

Using sensing data to determine when a machine will require service and maintenance can save rental companies and customers both time and money. Scheduled machine servicing based on operational data and replacing with fresh machines on site can reduce breakdowns. Forecasting servicing ensures spare parts are available and allows for planned replacement and optimised machine rentals, increasing efficiency.

Eliminating downtime

At this time of short supply and extended delivery timescales, protecting assets from unnecessary faults and breakdowns helps optimize machine utilization. Machines are being owned for a longer periods, up from five years to six or even seven, which inevitably significantly increases the total cost of ownership. Telematics is a key driver for cost reductions. Knowing what type of repairs could occur, reducing that time to repair and first time to fix.

‘Technology is helping to transform machines and equipment into smart assets and even non-powered tools and accessories are now adding crucial data into the productivity mix…’

The construction industry cannot wait for technology to happen to it. Technology is helping to transform machines and equipment into smart assets and even non-powered tools and accessories are now adding crucial data into the productivity mix through reduced asset loss or speed of retrieval. Telemetry applications are expanding across the spectrum of construction activities and can unlock productivity, eliminate downtime, and offer a platform to reduce the carbon footprint of an industry which is finally on the rise.

If you want to know how telematics can future-proof your fleet, talk to us.

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Published: 21. November 2022

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By Soeren Brogaard
CEO at Trackunit


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