Smart Technology for Smart Machines Integrating Hardware and software for better performing machines

Sachin Nijhawan
Mr. Sachin Nijhawan Vice President and Business Head Mahindra Construction Equipment
We live in the Age of “Smart Everything”. Smart phones, smart homes, smart appliances, smart switches and just plain smart everything. So it is very obvious that the smart technology will find its way into the machines that create the nation. The construction equipment industry is now home to some of the most sophisticated smart technology available in the market today. The industry is striving to better integrate the hardware at the core of these machines with the interface circuit and software. Let's take a look at how the integration of both these technologies is changing the face of the construction equipment industry for the better.

Data matters: Machine to machine communication and data have become a necessity for most construction equipment. These machines come loaded with software technology to gather data about the machine and its functioning. The softwares collect data on fuel consumption, pressure, idle time, hydraulic functions, location, system malfunctions, etc. The collected data is then analysed to find the problem areas and then solve them for better performing machines. Equipment now come with inbuilt location and remote monitoring software to ensure the machine’s efficiency and safety. The inbuilt data collection system ensures the machines become smart machines that operators cannot exploit.

DK Earthmaster

We have machines that keep the owners informed of the exact amount of fuel in them, and how much of it is being used where, in addition to data on the machine’s idle time, and if there is anything wrong with any part of the machine. The software ensures that problems are caught in the bud while they can be solved with smaller expenses instead of them growing big and leading to larger damage of both machine and productivity.

DK Earthmaster SX
IoT: The internet of Things is the perfect definition of machine to machine communication that has gained much prominence in the industry. Internet connectivity is used as a basis for a much sophisticated technology wherein GPS is used to chart the job site while the software comes up with a plan of action for the machine to ensure that the job is completed in the most efficient way possible. As a matter of fact, there are systems that create a 2D and or 3D model of the live job site and show the operator exactly what the ground reality is and what more needs to be done. Access to such information, can help the operators use and pirate the machines with increased efficiency.

IoT has made it possible to live monitor one’s machine and its condition from any corner of the world. You can get live updates about the machine via a single sms with use of remote care technology that the Mahindra Earthmaster comes equipped with. Additionally, the machines come hardwired to stop and shut down completely should certain parameters of temperature and or pressure be exceeded. This is smart self care technology that the machines come equipped with. In the past, lack of this technology led to the machines being abused by the operators leading to heavy repairs and replacements.

DK Earthmaster SX
Now lets come to the heart of these machines: the powerful engine and the hydraulics. While the software doesn't come into play with the actual functioning of the engine and hydraulics that get the job done, it plays a pivotal role in the interface of human and machine. A well programmed circuit will not only direct the machine to work with higher efficiency but also safeguard the machine from damage and abuse. For example, the Mahindra Earthmaster range relays instructions to the operator about malfunction in the functioning of the machine so that it can be attended to in time. It comes with safety measures so that the machine shuts down on its own should the operator ignore the warnings beyond a certain limit.

There is no denying that smart is the operative word today and that it is the smart machines that provide higher efficiency in the hands of a skilled operator. The hardware and the software can no longer be independent of each other if we have to break the glass ceiling of machine performance. The more closely integrated the two components are, the more efficient and smarter the machines will be. And the smarter the machines are, the better they will perform.

NBM&CW June 2017

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