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Cranes And The World Of Telematics: What You’re Missing Out On

Data Blocks
Data Blocks

Whether you work in construction, mining or hire, operating heavy-mobile cranes is a costly endeavour. This is because it can be very difficult to track a crane’s whereabouts, engine hours and upkeep. Cranes of all shapes and sizes require constant supervision, ongoing maintenance and continual operation to remain a profitable part of your business.

With telematics, you can stay in the know, make more effective business decisions and maintain a safe work environment. Here are a few ways telematics can benefit your business by keeping track of your cranes.

More Efficient Utilisation

Getting the most out of your cranes is essential for projects be successful and turn a decent profit. Without visibility into how they’re used, you won’t know the result of your project until it’s too late to make any necessary changes, such as reduce fuel intake or re-define the budget to the client. Telematics data collected by the crane can be compared with data from previous projects, allowing you to spot trends early on and plan future work. Ignition and idle reports help to reduce unnecessary fuel burn which keeps costs down and allows the crane’s engine to remain healthier for longer.

Assistance with Upkeep and Maintenance

Considering that a mobile crane is used both on and off the road, keeping it operational in a competitive market is essential. Not only do you want to send out cranes that are in tip top shape, you also want to ensure they’re up for the task at hand. Harsh usage of the boom, exhausting the motor, excessive idling, driving across harsh terrain, ignoring obvious signs of wear and tear or skipping maintenance can all contribute to breakdowns. This is not only a safety risk but may also be a hefty cost to the business.

Keeping on top of your preventative maintenance will help ensure nothing is overlooked and becomes a potential risk. With telematics, you can automatically track the condition of your cranes with ease and never be blindsided by the unexpected. The technology collects data on engine hours, fuel usage and more. While the odometer value of a typical crane isn’t very high, the engine hours on the motor can be. If the crane’s engine temperature is running hot, or exceeds a certain number of engine hours, you’ll automatically receive a reminder to schedule a service, order parts or perform routine checks.

A Better Fuel Tax Rebate

While many crane operators know about fuel tax credit rebates (FTC), it’s unlikely that you’re claiming everything you’re entitled to. Many opt for the safe harbour approach of claiming only for the on-road usage. Determining the difference between on and off-road operation is difficult without telematics. Using GPS tracking and the second-by second data it provides, operators can calculate for all road work. Telematics also makes it possible to determine times the engine was used to operate the crane, giving you the ability to claim the maximum rebate available for that equipment. You can accurately assign fuel use to the correct part of any operation, reducing overall fuel costs in your business.

Ease with Compliance

Cranes are not to be taken lightly. When not properly monitored they can pose a huge risk to everyone on site. Especially as the average work site has many different vehicles, equipment and staff operating and crossing paths constantly. To minimise risk, it’s important to know your cranes are complying with various laws and regulations, such as workplace health and safety and Chain of Responsibility laws.

Compliance is a simpler process with telematics. Not only does the real-time location data allow site managers to know exactly where cranes are, it also makes flagging compliance issues easy by keeping all relevant forms and permits in a single, digital platform. With a pre-trip checklist, operators can assess the condition of a crane at the start of every job while completing forms electronically helps to automate and reduce paperwork. Operators simply bring up the relevant checklist or form from their in-cabin device and flag any issues if they are discovered. These are sent back to the office instantly so appropriate action can be taken.

Real-time Knowledge

Knowing where your cranes are and what they’re doing is critical for both operational and financial purposes. GPS fleet tracking gives those on and off-site detailed information about what the crane is doing, such as when it arrived, the amount of time spent on site, total hours worked and the distance travelled to and from the site. This data helps businesses keep track of their cranes in real time allowing for accurate planning of dispatch to the next job.

The data from the cranes can be downloaded into easy-to-read reports which can used as part of the invoicing process and proof of attendance on a job site.

Getting on with the Job

There are some roads and bridges that aren’t accessible for some mobile cranes. Narrow streets, winding corners or heavily congested roads are all things to consider when planning routes, as well as the many permits drivers need to abide by to stay safe. This makes reaching job sites or clients difficult as you end up taking massive detours to remain compliant. In states that operate an Intelligence Access Program (NSW, QLD, VIC), telematics gives you access to a road network that would otherwise be off-limits. The in-vehicle technology helps generate suitable routes and turn-by-turn navigation for drivers to confidently follow and minimise the risk of breaching regulations.

Cranes are all about getting the job done and with telematics you can do just that. By collecting and analysing how and where they’re being used, you can leave the guesswork behind and make decisions that benefit your business in the long term.

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