Kobelco partners with Iridium for remote asset tracking

By Dominic Ellis
Integration of two-way satellite communications marks second tech tie-up in two weeks...

Kobelco Construction Machinery Co. has integrated Iridium's two-way satellite communications into its hydraulic excavator machinery, heavy equipment and the KOMEXS remote asset management platform. 

The addition of the Iridium service provides KCM equipment with truly global coverage for the first time, along with the flexibility of programming deployed assets to provide automated recurring telematics and equipment health updates, while also enabling customers to request real-time reports.

The KOMEXS platform provides the capability to manage multiple deployed assets across several job sites and tracks machinery health information such as working hours, engine health and fuel consumption. 

The system helps users keep track of valuable resources, manage costs, boost productivity, and proactively plan for maintenance requirements that can help increase efficiency and safety. This can also include warning alerts when deployed machinery needs servicing and geofencing to ensure machinery is deployed to the correct worksite.  

"As the need for real-time, global communications solutions continues to increase, Iridium and KCM are delivering reliable, effective and weather-resilient connectivity for KCM's vast customer base," says Bryan Hartin, executive vice president, sales and marketing, Iridium. "This partnership solidifies Iridium's leadership position in providing global satellite industrial-IoT communications within the heavy equipment industry."

KCM expects to begin shipment of vehicles equipped with Iridium Connected devices in early 2021.  Initial deployment will occur in Southeast Asian countries, followed by Russia, Central and South America and North America. 

As of Q3 2020, Iridium commercial IoT subscribers grew 20% from the year-ago period to 924,000 customers, further cementing the company's place as the premier satellite IoT company.  

Last month KCM collaborated with Leica Geosystems, part of Hexagon, to develop integrated 2D and 3D machine control solutions which can be operated remotely as part of the K-DIVE CONCEPT (pictured).

By manipulating a dedicated cockpit with displays showing the jobsite from an office, operators can control excavators remotely without going onsite. 

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