What is the value of a machine that can instantly communicate with a project manager, service technician, or operator to let them know that all is working within established parameters? Better yet, what if it were to notify them when a small issue occurs, so it can be addressed before a major downtime event arises? “In concrete paving, paver downtime can result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars and lost paving days, and our number one priority is to limit this loss,” says Frank Flores, CEO of Flores Automation.
This is the promise of Guntert & Zimmerman’s EGON (Equipment Guidance and Operation Network) system. Introduced this spring at bauma 2013, EGON adds remote interface and diagnostics to the company’s tried-and-true onboard Plus+1 machine controls system for all of G&Z concrete paving equipment. “The system offers real-time connectivity to the paver via a Wi-Fi or GSM connection from anywhere in the world,” says David Lipari, marketing manager for Guntert and Zimmerman Construction Division, Inc.
Paving contractors already have experience using G&Z’s Plus+1 control system for paver configuration and operation and for use of a third-party stringless paving system. EGON pulls everything together in an easy-to-use system and includes the industry’s most advanced diagnostic systems to simplify paver service, offer real-time connectivity, and improve paver performance.
The new EGON system takes the concept of telematics—monitoring engine functions to catch small issues before they become major problems—and expands this to all aspects of machine operation. According to Flores, nothing on the market comes close to the depth of monitoring, reporting, and diagnostics capabilities as offered by EGON. Lipari adds, “We use the term IntelliMatics™ to describe the depth of the system’s capabilities.”
At the heart of the system lie Sauer-Danfoss controls that monitor machine performance. An environmentally sound, sealed PC is tied to the machine’s existing CAN Bus connection for monitoring.
An LCD display is mounted above the operator’s console, which allows the operator to control machine functions and view machine performance. The anti-glare, high-resolution screen features sensor-controlled backlighting to ensure optimum viewing in all lighting conditions, even direct sunlight. The entire operator’s console, including LCD display, comes in a compact package that can be easily moved along the handrail of the operator’s platform.
As part of EGON’s expanded diagnostics/monitoring system, G&Z’s engineering team designed a web-based remote user interface to enable connectivity to the paver from anywhere in the world. This enables input/output monitoring, remote troubleshooting, error code reporting, machine location monitoring, data logging, maintenance reminders, and remote setting changes, as long as a person has a Wi-Fi or GSM connection. “It’s the closest thing to having a mechanic on the machine without him/her traveling to the jobsite,” says Flores.
EGON consists of seven segmented controller groups—left machine side, right machine side, power unit (engine), and four to monitor the toggle switches on the operator’s console. Creating these segmented groups offers a clean, modular design that results in less wiring and easier diagnostics. “Maximizing paving uptime is the key behind EGON,” says Lipari.
Once EGON detects a system fault or a component operating outside of set parameters, the fault is immediately emailed to the customer and G&Z. “For example, if a stringline sensor, pressure transducer, or any other component on the machine fails,” says Flores, “G&Z may notice this before the operator does, and the crew can be notified to take corrective action.”
When logging into EGON via the Internet, the main screen shows the seven controller segment groups. For easy troubleshooting, the cluster where the error occurred will show in red, whereas all the other cluster squares will remain green to indicate there is no issue.
Navigation throughout the web-based interface is easily handled by a series of tabs at the top of the page and covers critical machine functions ranging from steering and elevation to speed and slope. “These are the four diagnostic screens that help companies and operators to improve machine performance,” mentions Flores.
The system will report if the machine is not performing within set parameters, and allows an authorized person to remotely adjust settings, such as the speed output of a track or the elevation to get better ride numbers. “The information provided by EGON is a powerful tool to help contractors lay a better road surface and save money,” comments Flores. “For instance, if the elevation valves were to fall outside of set parameters and the operator wasn’t aware, this could result in missing spec and the requirement to grind to spec or, even worse, remove and replace the pavement.”
EGON also monitors all hydraulic system and power unit functions. Service personnel can receive email alerts as a reminder that service interval levels have been reached or an oil filter needs to be changed. The hydraulics page also monitors fuel level, so the maintenance technician can see when the paver is low on fuel and dispatch a fuel truck, even before the paving crew requests it.
The versatile reporting system also gives companies a valuable tool for machine management. System managers can download items, such as fault history, engine data, machine run time, and filter life, as part of machine management tools to help the paver operate at peak efficiency. The system’s GPS page gives the precise location of the machine, so companies can keep track of their assets.
EGON is available for all G&Z highway and airport concrete pavers using the Plus+1 system and can be retrofitted to existing field units using Plus+1. Additionally, all G&Z placer spreaders and texture cure machines can be equipped with EGON.
“The sky is the limit with this system, and the potential customer savings over the life of the paver are limitless,” concludes Lipari. “EGON has taken machine connectivity and remote diagnostics to the next level.” ■
For More Information:
For more information about Guntert & Zimmerman’s EGON (Equipment Guidance and Operation Network) system, visit www.guntert.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, August 2013
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