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Wirtgen’s advanced telematics support its crushing customers

Wirtgen Australia is using advanced telematics to support its crushing customers around the country before a technician even makes it to a site.

The Wirtgen Group believes in the ethos of being “close to its customers” when it comes to technical support and aftersales.

It is particularly important in Australia where crushing plants are often located in remote regions.

Nathan Friend, Wirtgen Australia product support manager for crushing and screening, told Quarry support needs to be where the machines are in metro or remote areas.

Customers often need rapid response times. Going to their site takes time, and while in transit, machines are not working how they should – potentially losing significant productivity.

Wirtgen has invested in advanced telematics to bolster its customer support in addition to its branches in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria, and New Zealand.

Friend said Wirtgen’s ability to provide remote diagnostics has been vital.

“The ability to provide remote diagnostic assistance means we have the confidence to support a remote crushing site in NSW with assessments from our Perth office,” he said.

“Our diesel electric machines can tell if there is a fault before it even becomes a fault.

“At an owner level, our systems can transmit machine information externally via email, letting the owner know if something has gone wrong, even if they’re in a different state.”

Wirtgen can aggregate data for an entire quarry site, which is then automatically linked to the machines to quickly provide a snapshot. This data can be fed back into the system to see fuel consumption on a dashboard.

This allows technicians to pre-diagnose faults before they attend the site.

Mark Drury, a product support manager at Wirtgen Australia, manages the internal diagnostics systems and helps customers use the company’s digital support platforms.

He told Quarry the company can use these technological tools to provide expert assistance through a smartphone.

“We have a platform that allows us, through the use of the Wirtgen Group Expert Assist app on smartphones or alternatively an augmented reality headset, to communicate with personnel on site,” he said.

“Through the Expert Assist platform, we can see exactly what the operator or technician is seeing and take screenshots, circle components that need to be tested, or guide personnel onsite during troubleshooting.

“It also means that when we send a technician out to site, they can pre-empt the parts necessary for the job, slashing downtime.”

Wirtgen invests extensively into training for technicians and customers. Image: Wirtgen

When it comes to spare parts, the company’s product support managers determine what will be needed in the short and long term, depending on which machines are in certain locations.

Wirtgen Australia employs a full-time data analyst to go through parts usage and determine the stocking levels, based on past data and future predictions.

Warehouse operators can also collaborate with the head office in Germany to acquire freight from facilities around the world, such as Southeast Asia.

Drury said anything that affects the cost per tonne is a big pain point for quarries, be it downtime, freight costs, or fuel consumption.

“Many of the machines in the Kleemann portfolio employ a diesel-electric drive system technology, which is more fuel efficient,” he said.

“In addition, the Ops Centre and Spective Connect allows quarries to see any changes in fuel consumption in real time.

“Being able to see fuel consumption and plan maintenance means they can schedule downtime better.

“The scheduler might not even be on the site, they can use the telematics data to predict, based on current utilisation, when the next service will be.

“It gives sites the ability to tie maintenance at the same time, making it more effective.”

In addition to its technological offering, Wirtgen invests extensively into training for technicians and customers.

The business covers three main areas: training operators on how to best use the machine, training maintenance personnel on how to carry out preventative maintenance, and an in-depth technology and training package aimed at fitters, and electricians to diagnose faults.

Wirtgen’s internal training is vital to ensure its staff can handle the high-tech machinery they will be required to work with and fix.

Drury said because the company is a technology leader, extensive training for its support team is required.

“We’re dealing with high level technology that goes above and beyond the status quo,” he said.

Friend agreed and said the company has trainers in Germany that will fly around the world to ensure its global staff know exactly what to do.

“For Kleemann, we’ve flown out a factory application specialist to spend about six weeks in Australia, meeting with technicians,” he said.

“They get out into the field and show people how to work with the machine. It’s a heavy investment but its worth it.”

Going forward, the company plans to continue upskilling its technicians, particularly when it comes to dual trades.

Staff members are being encouraged to take on a second apprenticeship if they show interest in electrical roles from a mechanical background.

Friend said anyone who wants to learn more is being encouraged to learn.

“Having a highly skilled team helps customers, so we’re investing a lot into our team.”•

For more information, visit wirtgen-group.com

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