How Remote Asset Management Provides Value to Field Operations
Flying a technician out to determine a functionality issue on a tiny sensor in a piece of equipment may seem outrageous. But this very scenario has occurred thousands of times in the fluid power industry. Elite Controls, Inc. (ECI) is working to end the inefficiency and introduce new solutions to connect equipment, because in today’s world, digital technology available through our smart phone can control many aspects in our everyday life – transferring money, opening the garage door, scanning a boarding pass and viewing live weather radars – so why not use this to address the above scenario?
The President of ECI, Scott Jones, was troubleshooting a plant in Yasny, Russia that was having issues with variable frequency drives. Scott wanted to avoid a costly trip to Russia and so Scott was able to resolve the matter all through using his computer, and although he does not speak Russian, the internet helped him to translate when needed.
This is a great example of how the right technology can solve problems for customers all around the world. Scott specifically identified the following three benefits from integrating controls and telematics into mobile equipment: remote troubleshooting, remote monitoring and data logging.
Remote troubleshooting is critical when dealing with mining sites. Safety is a huge concern for mine operators, especially if the application relates to bulk explosive trucks. A faulty valve can cause volatile results and the truck operators typically are not knowledgeable regarding controls.
By including automation and telematics, the OEM or integrator engineer sitting at a desk in Houston can easily connect via an onsite laptop with modem or WIFI to see voltages, temperature, pressure and flow. This information allows an engineer with knowledge of the system to quickly diagnose whether it is software issues versus a sensor malfunction versus a hydraulic component failure. The ability to quickly diagnose the issue plays a huge role in safety.
Telematics technology can also provide an “eye from the sky.” In the oilfield, we see this technology being used to increase efficiency of well production by the installation of telematics in artificial lifts.
With remote monitoring capabilities, operators can collect data on production levels and receive real time alerts via text or email for system maintenance. This technology reduces the number of visits to the well, decreases labor costs, and in the case of a malfunction, can alert operators of an issue faster than traditional methods.
Finally, telematics can also act like your accounting team by keeping track of the numbers. For instance, the pesticide industry has started to use telematics to track chemical usage. Installing sensors and data logging into each of the machines allows these OEMs the ability to record the amounts of pesticide used and compare to amounts of pesticides purchased in order to enforce chemicals contracts within their nationwide distribution network.
Telematics aren’t everywhere, but the fluid power industry is rich in history of unparalleled power density. As technology continues to develop around us, it’s our responsibility to respond, react and provide our customers with the best possible solutions, and so telematics does exactly that.