Remote diagnostics: beyond fleet monitoring

Telematics systems are becoming more prevalent in the concrete paving industry, providing the capability to diagnose and repair issues with the paver.

“With remote diagnostics, we can monitor the engine as well as other paver accessories such as tie bar inserters, side bar inserters, power transition adjusters, 3D and stringline grade, and steering control systems,” said Kevin Klein, Vice President of Engineering and Research & Development for GOMACO. “Even the smoothness of the pavement being produced can be monitored.”

His company’s system can also be used for fleet management and tracking paving equipment throughout the season, like any off-the-shelf telematics. Alerts for service indicators can be created to help develop a machine maintenance schedule, and machines that are properly maintained and serviced are less likely to develop mechanical problems, said Klein. Alerts can be set for oil changes, filter changes, low fluids, or for a specific, detailed machine parameter, such as engine emission equipment failures.

While fleet management is important, remote diagnostics adds extra value by allowing an inside service team member located anywhere in the world to “see” how the equipment is performing and identify solutions to problems, said Klein. If the adjustments or settings can be made on-site, the service team walks the contractor through the process.

“If the problem is bigger than simply changing some control function settings, it is possible to download software updates to rectify an issue,” Klein said. “Revisions to software can be transmitted to the machine and in coordination with the operator, put the machine in a ‘safe state,’ so the update process can be initiated.”

“The only obstacle to use of the remote diagnostics is a lack of cellular connectivity. There are yearly subscription costs that include cell service and the data portal where the telematics data are stored while in use.” His company includes a two-year subscription for each piece of new equipment, said Klein.

The data collected via the remote diagnostic system helps the manufacturer develop future upgrades that improve the performance of the equipment, but more importantly, it helps the contractor.

“The contractor gets help without waiting for a service technician to arrive on-site, which means the equipment is back to working properly much sooner,” said Klein.

This story originally appeared in the 2022 Quarter 2 edition of Concrete Pavement Progress.