Hitachi Construction Machinery launches ConSite® Health Check smartphone app for diagnosing the condition of construction machinery based on operation sound and measurement data
Contributing to lifecycle cost reductions through diagnosis of engine and hydraulic pumps.
Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd. (TSE: 6305; “Hitachi Construction Machinery”) announced that it has launched the ConSite® Health Check app, which enables service technicians to quickly diagnose the condition of construction machinery by using a smartphone. The app was developed as a new solution in the ConSite® package of service solutions aimed at reducing lifecycle costs, which is an important customer concern. ConSite® Health Check is the first*¹ app that is capable of performing diagnosis and assessing the condition of construction machinery based on its operation sound and measurement data in the construction machinery industry.
The app will initially be made available to service technicians at dealers in Indonesia, the Middle East, and Africa starting in March 2020. The full-scale release to the global market will be implemented gradually at a later date.
The ConSite® Health Check app is equipped with functions that enable users with a smartphone to diagnose the condition of (1) the fuel injectors in the engine of a construction machinery and (2) the hydraulic pumps, with a ranking of A (normal), B (further monitoring required), C (consider repair), or D (repair required). Going forward, Hitachi Construction Machinery plans to expand the service by increasing the parts that can be diagnosed by the app.
In the conventional method for diagnosing the condition of fuel injectors and hydraulic pumps, technicians had to listen for slight abnormalities in the sound of the machinery, using skills that required many years of practice and experience to develop. The conventional method required extensive labor and time-consuming testing and pump disassembly to check for wear.
In addition, previous service tools at Hitachi Construction Machinery involved connecting a computer to the construction machinery with a dedicated cable, in order to display measurement data that could be used to judge the condition of the machinery by technicians. In contrast, the new ConSite® Health Check app can perform a semi-automated process for diagnosing and judging the condition of fuel injectors and hydraulic pumps with an accuracy that exceeds human capabilities. As a result, service technicians are able to suggest evidence-based repair plans to customers using judgment results acquired through quantitative data analysis that was previously not possible.
With the ability to quickly diagnose the condition of fuel injectors and hydraulic pumps, “health checks” can be performed on construction machinery to identify degraded performance before a major failure occurs and takes the construction machinery out of service. As a result, the app can help decrease the costs of downtime and maintenance, thereby contributing to the reduction of lifecycle costs, which is an important customer concern.
For construction machinery such as hydraulic excavators and wheel loaders, recent efforts toward adopting more stringent emission standards, improving operability, and reducing fuel consumption have resulted in more advanced control technology, which has led to greater complexity in the repairs and maintenance technology that are required. In addition, with the shrinking manufacturing labor force and increasing age of skilled workers, shortages of expert service technicians are forecast in the future. To continue providing customers with high-quality services under these circumstances, it is necessary to increase the efficiency of maintenance and inspection operations while also maintaining and improving quality, by visualizing the condition of the construction machinery with quantitative data through the use of ICT and AI.
Hitachi Construction Machinery established the ConSite Development Department as a specialized unit in 2017 by bringing in engineers from across the Hitachi Group with expertise in the utilization of ICT and AI in information and data analysis. The new ConSite® Health Check app adds to the Consite® service menu. Consite®, which is a service solution for remotely monitoring construction machinery, incorporates a wealth of accumulated knowledge in maintenance and inspection operations for construction machinery, along with the cutting-edge information and data analysis technology of the Hitachi Group. Consite® is one of the service solutions in the Lumada*²® platform of the Hitachi Group.
The ConSite® Health Check app relies on technology that utilizes AI to detect and assess slight abnormalities in the sound of the construction machinery, along with technology that diagnoses conditions based on the mechanical characteristics of the construction machinery. Both of these technologies were jointly developed by Hitachi Construction Machinery and the Research & Development Group at Hitachi, Ltd., making this app a new service that fully leverages the synergy of the Hitachi Group.