With on-board trailer telematics becoming increasingly common, fleet trailer service operations are continually finding new ways to benefit from these advanced technologies.
“Telematics solutions can use data from critical trailer components to enhance service processes, support uptime and improve highway safety,” said Ross Froat, executive director of FleetPulse, a smart trailer telematics system by Great Dane. “Through APIs, fleets can also integrate real-time trailer telematics data into their maintenance management software and utilize information that relates to service.
“By receiving telematics data from critical components, such as tires, lights, and brakes, fleets can better predict service needs based on actual usage or maintenance issues,” Froat continued. “Fleet and maintenance managers can receive real-time alerts for component failures across all their trailers and use built-in reporting features to better plan maintenance schedules.”
Nada Jiddou, executive vice president of Clarience Technologies and general manager of Road Ready, pointed out that the ability to collect all kinds of data with advanced trailer telematics means service processes are greatly enhanced.
“Telematics data improves the type of service received and also prevents large issues by identifying trends and notifying fleets prior to a major event,” she said. “Telematics is growing and the amount of data fleets can track will grow, too. That’s why fleets should consider a platform that’s scalable, expandable and near-completely customizable.”
For Jim Epler, EVP business development at Phillips Connect, a key benefit of trailer telematics data is having the ability to see which units have maintenance needs and route them to the nearest repair center, dramatically reducing asset downtime. That can include PMs based on accurate GPS-based mileage and alerts about lights, brakes and tires, which can also help avoid CSA violations.
“Seeing not just the exact location of your trailers, but also understanding when they are loaded, when they become empty, and which issues may prevent the trailer from being dispatched are all telematics system capabilities that can ultimately streamline trailer service,” Epler added. “Providing more actionable data could mean the difference between dispatching a driver to a trailer that is loaded and ready to leave and getting stuck in the yard.”
Trailer telematics systems available today include the connectivity platform Fus1on, which was introduced recently by Road Ready. Designed for cloud computing, according to Nada Jiddou, it provides for tailored fleet data solutions. Initially, Fus1on will be introduced as a replacement for current Road Ready and Fleetilla platforms.
To integrate data more easily from a growing number of data sources, Road Ready Fus1on is designed to integrate API feeds, an approach the company noted that allows apps to exchange data without requiring extensive programming time.
Phillips Connect solutions, related Jim Epler, support wireless and wired sensors with J1939 CANBUS and BLE 5.0 systems. Those health sensors monitor lights, brakes, and tires, which can support maintenance services, he added.
The FleetPulse solution from Great Dane, a standard feature on new trailers from the manufacturer, includes built-in CAN harnessing so sensors can be added when new technology is introduced. Features for fleets include service center location information, access to parts lists, and diagnostic data. FleetPulse is also standard with hub mileage reporting that can supply fleet maintenance management software with alerts for managing maintenance schedules based on individual trailer data.
There is also the ability to upgrade to the company’s FleetPulsePRO option, which provides access to a suite of sensors for monitoring fault code alerts. “By providing real-time data at the individual trailer level,” said Ross Froat, “FleetPulse facilitates a predictive maintenance model, allowing you to schedule and perform maintenance based on an asset’s actual needs.
“Real-time trailer-level data leads to more predictability,” Froat added. “Telematics can provide a money and time-saving approach to trailer maintenance and drive a faster ROI and a lower TCO.”
“Overall,” said Jim Epler at Phillips Connect, “fleets should select a telematics partner who is capable of providing a scalable solution that can evolve with their needs. Selecting that kind of provider is critical for future-proofing your fleet.”
For Nada Jiddou at Road Ready, a telematics provider who is willing to work with fleets on a connectivity solution that meets their needs today but is also scalable and expandable for tomorrow is essential. “With an individualized approach they will have solutions that work for them,” she said.