Asset management systems also enable many critical service tasks, such as checking transport refrigeration fuel levels, changing set point or checking battery voltage levels, that have traditionally been performed manually by operations managers to be performed remotely.
Photo credit: Photos courtesy of Thermo King.
Advanced asset management solutions play a critical role in enabling maintenance managers to ensure preventive maintenance schedule compliance, avoid unscheduled breakdowns and extend system life.
Using a new generation of integrated asset management systems, maintenance managers can now track assets anytime and anywhere, control temperatures, manage alarms remotely, plus achieve higher levels of equipment uptime, lifecycle and fuel efficiency. These systems are enabled by cellular and Wi-Fi technologies and access to real-time information.
Some of these solutions are customizable to provide 24/7 monitoring or focus just on certain desired parameters, such as refrigeration unit shutdowns, low fuel levels and asset movement.
User-friendly embedded solutions that use global positioning system (GPS) data and wireless communications technologies can now deliver real-time and historical information – for a single trailer or a large fleet. These technologies use intuitive dashboards to monitor temperatures, door openings and fuel levels, change set points and other control parameters, modify operating modes and respond to alarms using any computer, tablet or smartphone connected to their secure network.
The temperature and asset management systems available today integrate seamlessly with existing maintenance, logistics and dispatch systems enable users to manage the whole fleet from one system, providing real-time control and monitoring capabilities.
Maintenance managers can now enhance transport refrigeration unit systems with telematics that allow them to track, transmit and record critical performance data.
With the growing importance of food safety, shippers and operators expect critical proof-of-compliance data right at their fingertips. Users can remotely download information from the data-logger to prove that the asset was alarm free and generate product temperature and proof-of-delivery reports.
For example, Thermo King’s TracKing asset management solution is a web-based telematics solution embedded in the refrigeration unit control system which has reliable data capture and storage capabilities and the ability to monitor real-time unit shutdown alarms, temperature deviations and accurate running modes.
The system also has real-time location monitoring and geo-fencing capabilities that enable maintenance managers to know where their trailers are at all times and manage on-time departures and arrivals.
Thermo King dealers also use TracKing to keep unit preventative maintenance records. Maintenance managers can use preventative maintenance reports to make sound asset allocation and deployment decisions knowing their units are healthy and ready to go.
Most capable asset management systems now offer mapping, alarm and notification features that can help reduce the risk of losses. These systems can detect door openings, unauthorized movements, and fuel drops to help reduce risk to assets, including cargo and rolling stock. These reductions in risk may even qualify operators for reduced insurance rates.
Asset management systems also enable many routine service tasks that have traditionally been performed manually by a technician or driver to be performed remotely. This includes tasks such as checking transport refrigeration fuel levels, changing set point, locking trailer doors and other refrigeration unit operating parameters, pre-cooling the trailer or checking battery voltage levels – that can now be done remotely. Performing these tasks remotely saves time and labor costs and enables technicians to focus on more important priorities.
Today’s advanced asset management systems offer a wide range of benefits to refrigerated fleets as they strive to protect their temperature-sensitive cargo, improve transport refrigeration unit uptime and reliability, reduce fuel consumption and secure their valuable capital assets from loss or misuse.
Gayatri Abbott is director of smart products and telematics for Thermo King (www.thermoking.com), a global leader in transport refrigeration and a brand of Ingersoll Rand (http://company.ingersollrand.com). She has more than 15 years of experience in product management, marketing and new business development in the climate control industry.