Features, News

HATCON: The fleet management app in the palm of your hand

 

An original equipment manufacturer has developed a data-focused solution that allows attachments and tools in a quarry producer’s fleet to be monitored via an app available on computers, tablets and smartphones.

Knowing the ins and outs of a quarry operation is important to maintain seamless performance at the site. 

Epiroc’s Hydraulic Attachment Tools Connectivity (HATCON) provides an enhanced, digital alternative to fleet management. It is available as a factory-mounted or retrofit hydraulic attachment kit for breakers and drum cutters.

HATCON’s data can be integrated into fleets to monitor operating hours, location and service intervals of attachments. This data can then be accessed anywhere with an internet connection via My Epiroc from a computer, tablet or phone. 

HATCON also enables service notifications to be transmitted directly to a personal device for added peace of mind and also features a GPS function with three years of licensing that can send an anti-theft alert.

FLEET MANAGEMENT SOLUTION

Released earlier this year, HATCON represents a brand new fleet managing solution for the quarrying industry. Epiroc’s Glenn Illingworth told Quarry that HATCON has been used in Epiroc’s German hire fleet for several years to gradually develop the HATCON solution with in-house software but is now being “released to the public as an option”.

“The software is all in-house,” Illingworth said. “We had a hire fleet and it was important to know where that fleet was, so we needed a GPS component.”

According to Illingworth, the design of the HATCON device had to be considered to withstand the demanding conditions of an extractive industries environment.

“There’s a lot of forces applied on a hydraulic attachment so you need to find something robust enough to withstand that and still be able to extract the data that you want,” he said. 

HATCON can be factory-fitted when ordering Epiroc’s medium and heavy breakers, as well as its drum cutters, and can also be easily retrofitted to other Epiroc breakers.

“They can be retrofitted by us or the customer can retrofit it themselves, it’s not complicated,” Illingworth said. “In simple terms, you reduce your maintenance cost. It comes with any new medium and heavy breaker, and the Erkat drum cutters free
of charge.”

The HATCON device (pictured) is a factory-mounted or retrofitted hydraulic attachment kit for breakers and drum cutters on an excavator.

A MULTI-BRAND SOLUTION?

In theory, HATCON can be installed on hydraulic attachments from other brands but Illingworth explained choosing Epiroc enables customers to unlock the full potential of the breakers and hammers. 

For one, the older breakers and hammers don’t have pre-drilled holes to be able to mount the devices. “Every new hammer and drum cutter manufactured already has these pre-drilled holes,” Illingworth said.

“We have a 3G/4G signal that we upload – it goes to the cloud-based Certiq system which is again part of Epiroc and from that system, it’s downloaded into the My Epiroc software.”

While data is central to HATCON, Illingworth said that it can only be seen by the user. “This is for the customer,” he said. “We cannot see the data, they can only see it. We administer access in terms of the user, but after that, we don’t have access to the information.”

PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE

HATCON uses this data to alert customers about service intervals to prevent costly repairs. 

“In a quarry situation, a quarry in Melbourne shares the breaker between quarries,” Illingworth said. “It monitors
hours, it sets service intervals, to encourage the customer to do preventative maintenance and avoids expensive repair bills through failures. 

“If you allow them to run until they stop working, obviously the cost of that is much more than preventative maintenance.”

The devices are also battery-operated to enable remote access, and feature an anti-theft alarm from the My Epiroc software. 

“Battery life is roughly three years depending on how often you upload the information,” Illingworth said. “There’s an alarm attached to that, that gives you a warning when the battery is getting flat. It is also tamper-proof, so if someone tries to remove it, it will also set off an alarm.

“As part of the My Epiroc software, you are also able to upload your service information, so you can see the service history. Operators can also raise any issue from the mobile app back to their office, let’s say they need to replace a tool or more hammer grease.”

The preventative maintenance encouraged by the HATCON system also allows for services and maintenance planning to be scheduled more efficiently via My Epiroc which adds to the return on investment.

“You can now plan for services and maintenance much more efficiently,” Illingworth said. “Support is through our experienced stocking dealer network backed up by our distribution centre in Sydney.

“This system enables the operators to pre-plan and for the distributors to meet deadline and will reduce unplanned stoppages and downtime.”

STRONG INVESTMENT RETURN

The My Epiroc app has a number of perks to improve a producer’s fleet management system beyond what the HATCON device can provide, such as loading service information, selecting a “favourite” in the fleet, and location mapping and tracking. 

“You’re able to have this software on all of your various media such as your laptop, computer, phone and tablet,” Illingworth said. “The operator can send a signal that is picked up on the media. All this data can be collated on My Epiroc.”

Illingworth said My Epiroc also has more features in the pipeline, such as the ability to order new parts via the app. This adds to the value of integrating a site’s machines into Epiroc’s hardware and software systems.

“We have another system called DocMine – through MyEpiroc, you can link to DocMine and order new parts,” he said.” In future, you’ll be able to go to your applicable parts list via serial number. This means it will be a more user-friendly, time-efficient system.”

Whether the HATCON system is pre-installed or retrofitted, Illingworth is confident that it provides a strong return of investment for customers. And while it is fresh to the market, HATCON has already been considered a valuable option to a civil construction customer.  

“If they’re buying a new breaker, their investment return is straight away because we will provide HATCON free of charge – as part of the cost of the breaker,” he said.

“If it’s an existing customer who already has a breaker in the field, there will be a minimal cost but they should get that return back in the first year because they will be able to plan and schedule, and have a planned preventative service. 

“It’s a bit like changing the oil in your engine – you wouldn’t let it seize up.”

Illingworth said HATCON’s monitoring of hydraulic breakers and drum cutters is just the first part of the device’s potential. 

“The first stage for us was hydraulic breakers and Erkat drum cutters,” he said. “Second stage will be other attachments in our range. It’s not ‘one fits all’, you obviously need different readers, depending on
the product.”

By Nickolas Zakharia