Remote access to construction equipment enables contractors to solve machinery issues, update design files and more, whilst maintaining social distancing. Position Partners’ Tokara Link gives workers access to machines whether they are in different states or down the road.
Social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic mean sites and contractors need to adjust the way they work to keep everyone on site safe.
In some cases, this means switching to electronic systems to avoid unnecessary contact.
In an effort to provide technical support to any site across Australia efficiently, Position Partners created Tokara Link, an Australian-designed construction equipment telematics solution.
The solution is designed to improve efficiency and productivity in earthworks and civil construction projects and is useful to help with the upkeep of social distancing practices.
Another important benefit of using Tokara Link is the opportunity to avoid downtime. In the construction industry downtime has no price limit and the industry is well versed on its costly impacts.
For example, if crews are working on a job two hours north of Perth and a machine goes down, it’s likely the entire crew will cease production until the machine can be fixed.
As technicians are not often based on remote sites in which equipment can be operating, machine failure requires them to travel in order to solve the problem.
In these cases, the best person to solve the issue may not be available to travel to the site, eventuating in longer delays.
This is the picture Aaron Krenske, Networking Solutions Manager at Position Partners, paints as he explains the importance of remote machine access.
“Travel to construction sites in Australia, especially Queensland and Western Australia, might mean sourcing accommodation and flights due to the sheer size of the country,” Mr. Krenske says.
For equipment with Windows or Android machine control systems, Tokara Link can connect all machines on site to the office. This enables remote access to each machine through a central web portal.
“With Tokara Link we can locate the machines on site, determine what job files each one is using and issue new ones to those machines, control and configure machines remotely and identify hardware issues as well,” Mr. Krenske says.
“Our technicians are now working from home to maintain social distancing, continuing to support customers as usual and keep everyone safe,” he adds.
Tokara Link enables project managers, surveyors and other key stakeholders to login to a web portal to track and manage their machines and survey instruments or send design updates to the field without leaving the office.
By eliminating the need to physically visit each machine or survey rover, manually transferring design updates through a USB, Tokara Link removes the unnecessary machinery contact and helps with social distancing requirements.
As Tokara can be used anywhere with an internet connection, there is also the option to work from home and maintain productivity.
“Project managers can see their entire job, all the devices on site with a map and know where they have to go to if they need to visit the devices. They can also send or retrieve files with those devices whether they are online or not,” Mr. Krenske says.
When new files are sent to a device, even if it is offline Tokara Link system is set up to update as soon as possible meaning as soon as the machine is turned on again it will retrieve the correct files.
“We have an alert for when a machine comes online so if it’s getting a new engine or working out of a cellular range, we can send an email alert. Then when that device comes online next, we will get an email with the message we sent when we set it up,” Mr. Krenske says.
He says the most important feature of Tokara Link is its ability to save time on civil projects.
“The first project we deployed the Link on, it was estimated two full time people would be needed to visit the machines and upload the job files,” Mr. Krenske says.
“By using Tokara Link it automatically sent the files to each machine and effectively, over the period of two years, two full-time wages were saved on that project. Then there are the safety benefits associated with not having those people driving around the site,” he says.
Time savings are also noticed in situations where Tokara Link can eliminate the need for a technician to travel to site.
“The best person to diagnose a machine issue might be based in Victoria but the project could be in Queensland. The right technician can be virtually on site by clicking a button through the link. It’s a collaborative approach, so companies can have more than one technician trying to work through a complex issue,” Mr. Krenske says.
“At Position Partners we have always prioritised timely and efficient support because we know that if your machine control system isn’t working then you’re not making money.”
In addition, Tokara Link keeps a record of the history of people that have connected to each machine.
“It’s important for people in the office, so if a worker remotely accesses a machine and makes a change that is discovered to be incorrect, they can go back and work out who did it and train them accordingly,” Mr. Krenske says.
Tokara Link also provides access to Position Partners’ technical support and links the user to any GNSS/GPS network required for the job.
Mr. Krenske says Position Partners has been able to develop its Tokara suite through the unique set of skills and expertise built up by the company over many years.
“Our unique blend of experience and industry knowledge means that we are ideally placed to deliver a single industry-wide solution. We understand the business, our customers, and what they want to achieve,” Mr. Krenske says.
Tokara Link can be used on machines that have Windows or Android based systems; it does not have to be specific to Position Partners technology.
Once in use on site, the solution can be easily transferred between machines if needed.
“The Tokara Link modem can self-configure depending on what system it’s plugged into so you could move between android or windows systems and will understand how to reconfigure itself,” Mr. Krenske says.
“Tokara has been developed in Australia, using Australian skills and programmers. It is based around customer requirements and has been extensively tested with contractors and end-users throughout the country.”
Mr. Krenske says the solution is used widely by the civil construction industry from major infrastructure projects to residential developments. He says Tokara is a trusted and relied upon service to help customers keep projects running efficiently with minimum downtime.
“Now, more than ever, it is a service that can assist contractors, project managers, surveyors and technicians by removing the need to interact in person and maintain social distancing measures,” he says.
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