5 Ways Equipment Manufacturer, Konecranes, Offers Improved Service with Remote Monitoring: Interview with Jim Skowron, VP

How Konecranes solves the mystery of malfunctioning equipment by connecting their equipment service program with the Industrial Internet of Things.

Providing quality equipment service is a big deal for global crane manufacturer, Konecranes. Service is the main focus of their homepage and the inspiration for their Lifecycle Care program. So making sure they’re providing the best, most accurate maintenance programs available is clearly at the top of their priority list.

One strategy Konecranes is capitalizing on to achieve a superior level of service is the Industrial Internet of Things, which informs everything in their equipment care program from research and design to proactive preventive maintenance to operator training initiatives.

To learn more about how Konecranes is using the IoT to provide exceptional customer and equipment service, I spoke with Jim Skowron, regional vice president of sales at Konecranes, about how they’re using various IoT technologies built into their machines to provide remote monitoring services, improve the accuracy of the services they provide, and make exceptional customer satisfaction the center of their business model.

Jim Skowron Konecranes

equipment manufacturing remote monitoring - lifecycle care

Getting on Board with the Internet of Things

A recent article by Michael Belfiore on Desktop Engineering illustrates a specific use case in which Konecranes solved a big problem one of its customers was having with their equipment before it caused any real damage. Belfiore also spoke with Jim Skowron for this story; here’s the gist:

  • The Problem: Brand new cranes supplied by Konecranes were going through parts at an alarming rate.
  • Cracking the Code: Luckily, the cranes were connected to the Industrial IoT, which meant that they continually reported operational data to a central database. “All it took was a look at that data to pinpoint the problem,” writes Belfiore. “Each crane was logging more than 20,000 motor starts and stops every week.”
  • The Solution: Solving the maintenance problem was as simple as training the operators at the plant to press motor switches halfway in for a lower speed, and all the way in for a faster one. Practically overnight, the motor starts and stops were reduced by more than half…With the simple application of relatively inexpensive training sessions, maintenance costs were cut more than in half.

Heavy Equipment Businesses Can’t Afford Not to Invest in Remote Monitoring

Watch this video interview with Skowron for another example of how the Industrial IoT enables information about actual usage of machinery.

These are just some examples of how Skowron illustrates how businesses that use equipment would be crazy if they didn’t make sure the machines they purchase has this technology on it.

“For companies that use equipment regularly,” said Skowron “I don’t understand how they could possibly afford not to take advantage of having remote monitoring capabilities on their equipment. I really believe that companies should look at making the initial investment in having that technology. Access to remote monitoring helps you throughout the lifecycle of taking care of that piece of equipment.”

5 Ways Konecranes uses Remote Monitoring to Improve Equipment Service

equipment manufacturing remote monitoring

The ultimate goal of any company should be to serve its customers. For equipment manufacturers, this couldn’t be any truer. Today’s project managers and equipment end users expect quality machines, of course, but they also demand a partner from their service provider – someone they can trust to keep their equipment up and running and their projects moving forward.

Based on my conversation with Jim, here’s how remote monitoring fueled by the IoT gives manufacturers the tools to meet growing customer demands:

    1. Understand how equipment is being used

    Monitoring equipment through the industrial internet allows manufacturers to understand their end-users’ needs and track how customers are actually using equipment (not just how they say they’re using it).
    “We can better understand certain industries and how they use the equipment by tracking the number of hours it runs per day and the number of work cycles it uses. We can look at things like when does a crane get overloaded. Does it happen on 3rd shift when no one’s there? Or on 1st shift when the whole facility is running?”

    2. Improve operator behavior

    Understanding how operators are using equipment, identifying issues to machine efficiency or project safety, and improving behavior through training is a key benefit to remote monitoring thanks to IoT sensors.

    “If you think about it, operator training is a tremendous pick up for people who have remote monitoring. A lot of times they discover their operators need more education. We can structure operator training classes to help customers with what they’re struggling with. If they’re having a problem with overloads, maybe it’s a situation where they’re not rigging the load correctly and the load is shifting when they’re lifting it. Those are the things we can do from a service standpoint to help the customer.”

    3. Develop better products

    With remote monitoring capabilities, manufacturers have insight into how equipment is actually being used in the field and can understand how operators are actually using the equipment.

    For Konecranes, Skowron said, “We have almost 10,000 remote connections globally. We’d like to be able to use that information to better understand operator behavior because if we can better understand operator behavior and how they use the crane, we can design a better crane to help the operator be more productive.”

    4. Decrease crane incidents and improve safety and convenience

    According to a recent crane incident study conducted by Konecranes, 59% of crane incidents were caused by operator error. The study reveals that as a direct correlation to tracking and correcting improper operator behavior, project managers can cut crane incidents by more than half.

    In addition to decreasing the number of crane incidents, equipment monitoring improves safety by preventing workers from putting themselves in dangerous situations. For example, workers can gauge machine temperature from their desks instead of having to climb up on the crane and measure the temperature by the control cabinet.

    5. Provide proactive maintenance before the customer even knows anything’s wrong

    Konecranes stands behind their vision of using the Industrial IoT to improve their entire business: “To make machines intelligent and aware of their condition, and network them to create real-time visibility for enhanced safety and productivity.”

    With connected equipment in the field, service organizations can set up parameters and trigger alerts based on specified equipment conditions. The can sell preventive maintenance contracts and customers can hand over all machine care to the manufacturer or dealer. This sort of all-in-one service partnership is what Konecranes offers through their Lifecycle care program.

Conclusion – Konecranes Uses Data to Build a Better Machine, Better Serve Customers

“There are a number of things we can do with the data. Our goal as an organization is to use the data to make a better piece of equipment and also to help our service offerings be more tangible and benefit the customer.”
Konecranes seems well on their way to becoming a leader in the Industrial IoT space, and as we’ll see in the coming years, that may be key to growing as a leader in the crane and heavy equipment manufacturing industry.

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