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From insights to innovation: how data drives product development at Konecranes

Data is at the core of several Konecranes services leading our industry towards deeper digitization.

Bertrand Marion
Bertrand Marion

A lot of our development work at Konecranes is focused on digitizing our lifting solutions to enable data-driven decision making in our customers’ operations. Data can help to improve safety, productivity, sustainability, asset utilization and more.

When we develop digital services, we always start by mapping the customer journey and asking the question: “What is the problem we’re trying to solve?” From here we move on to mocking up a new service concept and then interviewing customers to see if it really addresses their needs. What customers do not say is sometimes as important as what they do say! When something works as it should, it may barely get a mention.

Any feedback goes into our service-development process, with checkpoints and continuous iteration ensuring we’re moving in the right direction. Once an application is launched and taken into use, we track the experience with analytics and use this information to specify any new requirements in future releases.

This whole process comes together in innovations like TRUCONNECT®, our telematics solution that allows operators to closely monitor vehicle performance. Installed as standard in all Konecranes lift trucks – which include reach stackers, forklifts, empty-container handlers and laden-container handlers –TRUCONNECT® is essentially a modem in the truck’s cabin that communicates with its sub-systems.

“We offer different packages with varying levels of asset intelligence,” says Bertrand Marion, Business Development, IT & Digitalization Director for Konecranes Lift Trucks. “At the basic level, TRUCONNECT offers standard safety and usage data. Upgrading to Premium adds tire-pressure and shock monitoring, while Premium+ includes oil-condition monitoring too. This advanced feature allows fleet managers to replace hydraulic oil only when needed, which benefits the environment, reduces downtime, and lowers costs.”

Operational efficiency information dashboard
Operational efficiency dashboard on Konecranes' TRUCONNECT service.

Processed data in detailed dashboards

All data collected via TRUCONNECT® is sent to our cloud-based customer portal: yourKONECRANES.com. This single-access hub for Konecranes services is unique in the lifting industry, boasting the ISO 27001 certificate for information security.

Konecranes uses a cloud-based Application Programming Interface (API) to process the TRUCONNECT® data and create fleet-level KPIs for customers to monitor. The data manifests in color-coded infographics that refresh in near real-time. Customers can use these dynamic dashboards for enterprise-resource planning, maintenance management, and even terminal operation.
“The main focus is on safety alerts, as we want everybody to get home safe and sound at the end of the workday,” says Marion. “The data allows an operator to see if a truck is overloaded, for example, or if a driver is trying to override safety features.”

The dashboards also include KPIs for monitoring the operational efficiency of a lift truck fleet, so that managers can optimize asset utilization. These indicators can reveal some surprising findings, says Marion.

“We see that the lift trucks in a typical fleet are driving fully laden just 20 to 30 percent of the time. For 40 to 50 percent of the time they’re driving around empty, and any remaining time is spent idling,” he says.

“Our monitoring system brings managers fact-based operational data that can be used for better asset utilization. There’s an environmental benefit too, as a reduction in idling time helps to lower CO2 emissions. When you’re not moving anything, your investment is literally going up in smoke.”

Konecranes also uses the remote-monitoring data gathered by customers and our own field-service technicians to plan predictive-maintenance schedules. As a result, customers can plan their maintenance intervals in advance and match them with their operational needs to reduce downtime as much as possible. Parts replacement planning can also be done ahead of time, before any type of breaking or long-time issues occur.

Raw data for real-time control

For customers who want to integrate digital technologies even deeper into their business, Konecranes offers access to the raw data and local IoT interfaces needed for controlling equipment in near real time. Lift truck operators often use this functionality to ensure containers are picked up and dropped off in the correct locations.

“We enable all the data a lift truck driver needs for locating and transporting a container, including the correct boom angle and stacking height,” says Marion. “Losing track of containers is a daily occurrence in port operations, so having the exact coordinates reduces the time wasted in trying to find something.”

Access to raw data is especially important for customers operating equipment from multiple manufacturers. This is not uncommon in the lifting business, so customers may want to integrate multiple raw-data streams to create their own dashboards and other tools for a 360-degree overview of operations, maintenance and more.

By providing raw data on the performance of Konecranes equipment, we’re helping to move the whole industry towards even deeper digitization and the efficiencies it brings.

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