Advanced electronic options emerge as a key point of differentiation between today’s vocational truck offerings. Sophisticated electronics can simplify fleet management by tracking driver performance, monitoring vehicle health, helping drivers navigate the most efficient route, protecting components from driver mistakes and protecting employees on the jobsite by preventing unsafe conditions.
It is beneficial to not only compare traditional truck specs, such as horsepower, torque and payload capacity, but also learn about the electronic features that can boost fleet performance. Fleet tracking technology has become an important asset for many construction equipment fleets, and this technology can also be used on your vocational truck fleet.
Track equipment and maintenance
Knowing where your equipment is, what it’s doing and how it’s performing is essential to effective fleet management. Many manufacturers currently offer monitoring systems to remotely track construction machinery.
For example, Caterpillar construction equipment owners are able to access this information through the Product Link remote monitoring system, which is standard on new Cat machines. Product Link is integrated into the equipment, interacting with the electronic control modules that power and monitor machine systems such as the engine, hydraulics and transmission. Events and diagnostic codes, as well as hours, fuel use, idle time and other information, are sent via satellite or cellular communications to VisionLink, a secure web-based application hosted by Trimble. It provides scheduled and exception-based reporting for equipment anywhere. VisionLink also allows additional features, such as access to the Caterpillar PartStore for online parts ordering and SOS Services for fluid analysis.
This system is now offered on the Cat CT660 vocational trucks. The CT660 Product Link system provides all the benefits of the established Product Link technology to help owners improve fleet efficiency, optimize utilization and control operating costs.
In addition to the conventional benefits of Product Link, CT660 owners will have access to valuable truck-specific information. This functionality includes management of maintenance by mileage, engine and transmission PTO usage updates, alerts for loss of main battery power, notification of non-authorized movement during “key-off” intervals and access to odometer readings and VINs (Vehicle Identification Numbers).
You also have the ability to maximize fleet availability through efficient preventive maintenance scheduling and visibility to current health conditions. Through Product Link’s alert notification feature, customers can select the type of alerts to be received and to whom and when they are distributed. You can set up alerts to be notified when the truck enters or exits a user-defined geographic fence, or when an asset is turned on or off during a specified period of time.
Ford is also promoting better fleet management with the Ford Crew Chief, powered by Telogis. It is a fleet management tool that accesses proprietary data contained within the vehicle’s computer and shares it via a cellular connection with the fleet owner to maximize operation. Real-time data is available in three areas of fleet operation: vehicle location, diagnostics and driver behavior. Recently developed features include oil life, safety belt status and tire-pressure information.
“Our ‘Crew Chief’ wireless information technology lets fleet managers closely monitor their vehicles to help reduce costs and improve safety. In real-world use, fleet companies are reporting fuel savings between 10% to 20%, along with improvements to driver safety and vehicle durability,” says Len Deluca, director, Ford Commercial Trucks.