Improving productivity with real-time equipment tracking

THE ability to monitor the location, status and service requirements of equipment in the field will soon become a reality with the ClearSky system from JLG. To be officially launched at this year’s Hire and Rental Industry Association Convention on the Gold Coast (Queensland) in May, ClearSky is designed to maximise equipment returns while minimising downtime and expenses. “It lets owners know where a machine is, when it’s operating, how long it has operated for and whether it’s due for maintenance or has service problems,” JLG stated. “This means rental businesses can now track customers’ real usage, including where a machine is used and for how long. Also, with some 30 per cent of service call outs being nuisance calls, faults can now be diagnosed in real time and acted upon efficiently.” A major technological innovation of the system is its applications. These are available to suit Apple, Blackberry and Android smartphones and mobile devices, allowing customers to access ClearSky information ‘on the move’. “In a nutshell, ClearSky combines GPS technology with data reporting via the mobile phone network in an easily accessible, web-based management system that provides real-time equipment position[ing] and operational reporting. This includes fault reporting alerts via email that allow online diagnosis and the dispatch of service personnel with the right parts to get the machine working again quickly,” the company stated. In addition to on demand remote diagnostics and troubleshooting, ClearSky offers preventative maintenance alerts, maintenance history, geo-fencing, and the ability to map fleet assets locally, regionally and nationally. Utilising these features, customers can substantially lower company costs and improve productivity through optimising equipment maintenance management.
“Although there are a number of other companies offering generic equipment tracking solutions, what makes ClearSky a standout system is that because it’s designed by JLG for JLG equipment, the diagnostic details and capabilities we have are far superior,” JLG technical support and training division employee Luke Schubert said. To integrate with ClearSky, a machine needs to have a telecommunications unit (TCU) and a GPS receiver/antenna. The TCU acts as a memory storage buffer and modem, and is the interface between the machine and user: providing real-time access to the machine’s systems while the GPS provides real-time location reporting.
Information from both units is then fed back into JLG’s web centre, where it can be accessed by customers from any web-connected computer, and most smartphones and mobile devices, including iPads. “Importantly, information display and reporting features can be customised to suit individual preferences,” the company stated.

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