Engineers at Cross Co., a supplier of fluid power components, systems and controls based in Greensboro, N.C., have developed Cross Mobile IoT. The hardware and software system connects vehicles through a sophisticated — and easy to use — cellular gateway, according to company officials, to improve fleet efficiency, reduce costs and help equipment manufacturers generate additional revenue by creating new markets with new opportunities.
The IoT system reportedly provides genuine tangible value to dealers and end users. For example, it collects operational data on machines in the field that can be used to optimize performance. For instance, it can monitor a machine’s real-time power usage and duty cycle to ensure batteries and other power sources are specified correctly. And it’s easy to make program changes to update PLC logic, which can eliminate expensive trips to a customer’s work site.
Cross Mobile IoT can also control warranty costs by gathering machine operational information to make data-driven warranty decisions. And by monitoring equipment performance it can enable predictive and preventative maintenance.
In operation, a mobile-rated (IP67) cellular gateway attached to the equipment transmits telemetry data for any number of variables. This IoT-enabled data monitoring lets customers easily collect and store information such as:
• Engine hours and downtime
• Engine fault codes
• Fuel level
• Engine oil temperature
• Hydraulic temperature.
The hardware also features additional analog and digital I/Os which enables data collection from external systems. Oil particle counters, pressure transmitters and other devices can all be connected without having to add them to the PLC control system.
Certain connected systems can also be operated remotely. Turning the engine on and off, adjusting settings and making program changes are all possible through Cross Mobile IoT. In addition, it lets users know exactly when, where and how a machine is operating, to ensure efficient equipment use and optimize driver behavior. And GPS tracking capabilities reports equipment location at all times.
The system can also collect historical data to identify trends within a vehicle, and between vehicles, before they become an issue. For instance, being aware of when a vehicle has service due lets users schedule downtime when it is convenient, not when a machine breaks down.
Dealers also benefit from Cross Mobile IoT. They receive notifications about key operational parameters, such as when engine oil temperature exceeds a certain limit or when engine hours pass a predetermined threshold. It can determine machine utilization for billing and maintenance forecasting. And it can improve maintenance planning for more efficient onsite repairs. Knowing machine fault codes ahead of time, before traveling to the work location, ensures maintenance technicians are better prepared when they arrive.
Finally, it can improve up-time by permitting remote, secure access to equipment’s CAN Bus system to troubleshoot, service and update software.