HMS Industrial IoT Blog

Stay up to date with the latest technical developments and trends within industrial communication and IoT.

Fleet Management Integration Challenges

by Nolan Hartwick | Mar 30, 2018

Forklift-header_fleet

 

Fleet management is defined as optimizing fleet asset efficiency, maintenance, and safety to increase ROI from your fleet investments by leveraging data from vehicles.

For example, by collecting data on the use-time of each of your vehicles, you can determine the optimal vehicle assets for your business. You can use predictive maintenance to schedule vehicle downtime thus increasing efficiency due to inhibiting emergency maintenance. By tracking speed, location, turning angle and other movement data, better insight into factory accidents are achieved. These are just a few of the ways collecting fleet data can have positive impacts on your bottom line.

Fleet management has a long history in the transportation industry. It has become more prevalent in the lift truck industry more recently. Leaders in the lift truck industry such as Hyster-Yale and Raymond have invested heavily in it. These solutions give vehicle manufacturers more insight into vehicle use and give their customers insight into vehicle manufacturer ROI.

These solutions involve setting up peripherals on vehicles to capture the desired data and interfacing to read these peripherals. The next step is adding an edge gateway to send the data to a local network and finally setting up a local network level 2 switch to connect to a remote or on-premise server. This can be broken down into three main challenges:

1. How to collect asset data in a cost-effective manner?

2. How to retrieve asset data from each machine?

3. How to integrate vehicle data into existing IT, OT, and BI systems

 

Solution 1: Leverage the existing data on your machines:

Many current Fleet management systems involve adding sensors and other systems to forklifts which is costly and time-consuming. Many of these solutions fail to capture existing data that is already on their machine in their CAN networks. CAN networks are used for the vehicles electrical control system which touches nearly every electrical component of the vehicle. CAN data typically includes vehicle speed, runtime, fuel level, turning angle, lift height, etc. Capturing this existing CAN data is inexpensive as it does not require many extra components and, with the proper CAN interface, is easy to do. This makes it much easier to implement a new fleet management solution or expand an existing solution to include more data.

 

Capture your Forklift Fleet's Data

forklift-fleet 

Figure 2: Forklift Fleet

Solution 2: How to get the data off the machine:

Extracting the data from each peripheral on a vehicle can be challenging. Some fleet management solutions require each machine “dock” into a wired connection to download the data. This means that real-time data is not available and there are data blackouts between docking sessions. A solution is to utilize wireless data transmission such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular which allow for data transmission while the vehicle is in motion, continuously monitoring each vehicle in real time.

 

Solution 3: Flexibility in what to do with the data:

The next challenge is determining what data platforms need to be integrated into. Each business and warehouse have different information systems and information challenges. Many businesses are seeing economic value in moving databases to clouds such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services. Other businesses would like to merge into their existing OPC UA or MQTT architectures for their IIoT solutions. The ability to provide a flexible solution for each end user is key to a competitive fleet management solution in today’s market.

 

OEM Toolbox- Open Gateway Platform and SDK

Solutions_forklift 

Figure 3: OEM Toolbox Solution

HMS Lift Truck Fleet Management Solutions

HMS Industrial Networks has a unique background in both remote monitoring solutions and industrial communications including CAN, CANopen, J1939, and other Automotive network protocols. HMS leverages this in their OEM Platform solutions. OEM Toolbox allows manufacturers & OEMs to build an edge gateway based on their required specifications with flexibility in southbound connections to data and in northbound connections to servers. This platform allows connectivity to nearly every industrial protocol including CAN, CANopen, J1939, Modbus, and EtherNet/IP to collect data from your existing systems. It also can connect directly to sensors to collect additional data. This allows for much more cost-efficient data collection on your lift trucks.

This platform has many options for northbound connectivity to local and/or cloud servers. It can connect via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or cellular connectivity and MQTT and OPC UA capabilities. This means that you can meet all your customer’s connectivity needs and gather data on each of your vehicles no matter where they are and what information challenges end users have.

The OEM toolbox has pre-configured API’s to connect to major cloud providers such as Azure and Amazon Web Services, so you can use preexisting end user infrastructure. HMS also offers a pre-built cloud of their own for even quicker development.

The flexibility and connectivity of HMS’s OEM toolbox make it an ideal edge gateway for lift truck fleet management applications. This solution allows you to easily access existing data on your machine and accumulate data into any information system to access and use to improvement of operational decisions.

 

               

Get your copy of the Connected Vehicle:

 Connected Vehicle

                

Learn more about the OEM toolbox:

 OEM Toolbox

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