Resale: onboard monitoring

Resale: onboard monitoring

As onboard technology continues to advance the science of fleet management, trucking companies are adopting solutions to realize the benefits of longer service life, fuel savings, reduced downtime, lower maintenance costs and ultimately to retain and enhance resale value and reduce capital costs.

As onboard technology continues to advance the science of fleet management, trucking companies are adopting solutions to realize the benefits of longer service life, fuel savings, reduced downtime, lower maintenance costs and ultimately to retain and enhance resale value and reduce capital costs.

The key to onboard monitoring systems is a communications capability, which allows fleet managers to remotely and proactively monitor equipment. While many of these solutions have been in use for operational needs, their application in maintenance environments is gaining in popularity.

One company that has addressed this need is Eaton Corp., which formed its Vehicle Solutions Business Unit (VSBU) to offer integrated diagnostics, as well as safety and other operational management activities. A key element of Eaton’s Vehicle Solutions vision was a product development and sales agreement with @Road Inc. The systems-based solutions combine Eaton’s onboard diagnostic and safety systems with @Road mobile resource manage

ment technology to offer a customized fleet management system that includes real-time location information, vehicle diagnostics, shop management, wireless communication capabilities and other fleet asset management optimization tools.

Developed through the alliance between Eaton and @Road is Fleet Resource Manager, which makes available the @Road on-demand mobile resource management platform for medium-duty and heavy-duty fleets through the Roadranger marketing organization. The subscription-based management optimization tool can be tailored to fit the unique needs of any fleet. Fleets are given the option to select individual services or choose from customized packages tailored toward specific vocations. By subscribing to the services, fleets are able to streamline daily activities by minimizing or eliminating manual tasks and paperwork.

One of the key benefits of the Fleet Resource Manager is the ease with which it reports data from the field, the company said. Using integrated @Road technology, Fleet Resource Manager addresses vehicle maintenance and diagnostic needs with on-board technology and management tools. For example, the system can determine when vehicles are due for service or receive alerts when a mobile asset is having trouble, to minimize costs and protect cargo.

Part of the offering from Eaton and @Road is a vehicle diagnostics module that retrieves critical engine information from the electronic control module and transmits the data. Fleet managers can use the information to remotely monitor engine parameters for proactive intervention and prevention of downtime. Critical data on engine faults such as low oil pressure, very high coolant temperature and sustained excessive engine speed can be derived from Trip Detail Reports or Trip Summary Reports, which are provided either in a daily summary or in real time.

With the Eaton Fleet Management and @Road mobile resource management technology fleet managers may designate which maintenance items to track, access reports showing maintenance status and set up automatic reminder notifications for maintenance that is due. Using these features, managers can see a clear picture of the maintenance history for each vehicle, and use the automated system to track required maintenance actions.

Maintenance tracking can improve overall vehicle performance, which may lower the risk of costly breakdowns and resulting service interruptions. As an added benefit, using the module to track maintenance may help enhance resale value and extend the life of vehicles, reducing capital costs, the company said.

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