Product Sneak Peek: InSite Asset Management System

InSite Asset ManagementManaging a successful business requires owners to make hard decisions when it comes to how they spend their dollars, particularly when it comes to the equipment they operate. Aside from their employees, equipment is a business’s most valuable asset and its upkeep — whether proactive or reactive — is critical to that all-important bottom line.

Horizontal directional drilling contractors invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in drilling rigs. Any loss of time operating in the field due to equipment issues, results in loss of dollars for the company. How can owners keep tabs on how their machines are running in Minnesota from their offices in Ohio?
Vermeer has an answer to that question in the form of a new and unique asset management system. Called the InSite Asset Management System, this product addresses a contractor’s thirst for increased productivity and profitability, as well as reduced machine downtime. Vermeer will officially unveil InSite at the 2013 ICUEE show Oct. 1-3 in Louisville, Ky., but is giving Trenchless Technology readers a sneak peek at what the InSite offers.

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InSite Asset ManagementWhat Is It?

Simply put, the InSite Asset Management System is the proverbial “little black box” of the HDD rig, an invaluable resource that receives and transmits real time machine data to the contractor at the home office or via wireless device on the status and working condition of the rig, allowing them to make proactive decisions on the maintenance of the machine. Data gleaned from the system provides real time machine location, utilization and health — information that can save contractors a lot of time, energy and, most importantly, money when it comes to the lifespan of its rig fleet.

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“Asset management has become more and more important to the [HDD] industry. It’s all about productivity and maximizing the return on investments,” says Jon Kuyers, Vermeer global product manager for the underground business segment. “The more information you have and can apply to your business, the more profitable you can be. [InSite] won’t allow you to drill physically faster but it will allow you to make better-informed business decisions more quickly, increasing your overall business productivity.

The target customers for this asset management system are the utility construction fleet owners whose HDD machines may operate in a large geographical area but the system will be of benefit to anyone who owns a HDD drill rig.

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“The larger contractor is one of our target accounts because they may have equipment spread out across the country,” Kuyers says. “However, smaller customers and single machine owners will benefit from the many aspects in the health area, such as maintenance, fault monitoring and alerts.”

What It Does

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InSite Asset ManagementThe InSite Asset Management System is installed on the drill rig to monitor its various engine components, such as fuel and oil pressure. It can also be set up to send alerts for scheduled 100-hour maintenance. The system will come standard on the Vermeer 24×40 Series II drill, as well as its 36×50 Series II, D60x90 Series II, D100x140 Series II, D220x300 Navigator HDDs and larger rigs, Kuyers says. In the future this technology may be able to be retrofitted on select models. .

There are similar telematics solutions in the marketplace today but they are generally speaking a generic type system and do not meet the specific needs of the driller, Kuyers says. “They cater to different markets and do not offer the same type of detail and information that we can provide. Those telematics would be limited to basic information such as GPS location, fuel used and engine hours.

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“We are providing more value for our customers and the challenges they face on a daily basis,” he says. “Such challenges are scheduling maintenance, managing fuel costs, maximizing machine and operator efficiency, receiving timely alerts and remotely diagnosing issues.”

The three key features that set the InSite system apart from other telematics are: machine health, machine location and machine utilization.

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With machine health, the system provides an alert or warning to the customer if a specific condition or problem starts or occurs with machine. This alert provides for a proactive approach to machine maintenance, allowing the customer to minimize the potential or risk of excessive downtime. Regarding machine location, this feature may reduce the amount of time searching for an active or inoperative machine and acts as a theft deterrent as geographical parameters can be set up for each machine.

“You can set up a geo-fence around your machine with InSite,” Kuyers says. “For example, say I’m working in Des Moines, Iowa, and I have set up a geographical radius of 120 miles. I would get an alert if the machine is being used say in Omaha, Neb., letting me know the machine is located and operating outside of the predetermined area .”

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The machine utilization feature will track the operating hours and fuel usage of the machine, which will allow the fleet owner to track utilization remotely, for such purposes as proactive maintenance and operating costs. You can set up alerts to inform of you when routine maintenance checks are due, as well as the number of hours the machine has been used, Kuyers says.

The InSite system has been under development for more than a year and for now is available on just its HDD drills but Kuyers notes that the system will be designed for machines in the other markets Vermeer serves such as its tractor line and reclaiming systems.

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“The possibilities are endless,” he says. “We want to give our customers the right amount of data when they want it.”

The Vermeer InSite Asset Management System will be available worldwide on select HDD models being this winter, with several of these models on display at the 2013 ICUEE show.

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Sharon M. Bueno is managing editor of Trenchless Technology.

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