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Equipment Hub: Remote technology to keep your equipment up and running

Zach Neiderer for Progressive Forage Published on 01 November 2021

Modern farm equipment has evolved as a response to farmers’ desires for increased crop yields, greater productivity and lower operating costs. With the advanced capabilities of today’s machines comes greater requirements for new solutions for customer support and innovative ways to diagnose a problem so repairs can be completed quickly and accurately.

The telematics integrated into many of today’s tractors and other equipment allows original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and farm equipment dealers to not only take care of machines that are down in the field but also proactively make sure those machines don’t go down during a critical time. Issues can be diagnosed before they become a major problem. That proactive approach is, in my opinion, the exciting part of the service technology that’s available on today’s high-tech equipment.

Using telematics, your dealer can see what is going on with your equipment in real time. Agriculture equipment is becoming increasingly smarter and more technologically advanced. What makes this technology so great is the usefulness and practicality of it. Telematics allows your dealer to analyze all the data available on your machine without you having to remember exactly what was happening when you started experiencing an issue.

For example, on the service end, if you see a fault code come up on your machine, you can contact your dealer and a service tech will be able to see the operating parameters and any fault codes that have occurred on your machine. The tech can look up the fault code and tell you what he thinks the problem could be and advise you on a solution. He may ask you to try certain things to fix the issue without having to schedule a service call. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, a technician could come out to make the repair with a more informed view of what the issue could be. This allows the technician to be prepared so he can bring the right parts the first time he’s out, rather than having to go out, diagnose the problem, order the parts and then go back out again to fix the issue. Being able to see the problem speeds up the repair process instead of having to bring the machine into the dealer’s shop and plug it into a computer to diagnose the issue.

If you don’t know how to operate a particular function of the machine, or don’t know what screen to get into to monitor crop yield and moisture, for example, remote viewing provides the ability for your dealer to see what you are seeing in real time. A dealer can initiate a remote viewing session with your display that will, upon your approval, allow them to see exactly what is on your screen. On the dealer’s computer, he could circle the button you need to push (or point to it with an arrow) to help you get to that screen or to enable a feature. You will see the circle or arrow on your display, which is much easier than having someone try to explain the appearance of a certain icon you need to push.

And when it comes to routine maintenance, a machine with integrated telematics provides a huge benefit for farmers who are concerned with their machine uptime. For example, if a machine has 550 hours and has a service interval coming up at 600 hours, your dealer can have a pretty good idea of when your machine will hit that 600-hour mark. Knowing this, maintenance could be scheduled around harvest and busy seasons so you don’t have to interrupt a machine for an oil change, a belt change or any other routine maintenance issue.

Looking to the future, a dealer may have someone on staff whose job it is to monitor the conditions in your area and your equipment reports to preemptively address the potential for downtime. He may note that you are out running now and see some indicators that something might happen so he can alert you before a critical breakdown occurs.

Some OEMs are working on having product technical specialists who are monitoring different factors in the machine, such as hydraulic oil pressure, engine oil pressure, engine coolant temperature as well as the ambient temperature. The ideal is to monitor key parameters and be able to help proactively. By assimilating this information, they can determine that when a certain combination of parameter readings and environmental impacts occur, it’s likely a failure will ensue. This type of advance warning will give you the opportunity to stop the machine, look at it and address it before it becomes a machine down in the middle of the field.

That’s the future of service: making sure the right people are in the right place to take care of an issue before a breakdown happens to keep you up and running all season long.  end mark

Zach Neiderer
  • Zach Neiderer

  • Aftersales District Manager
  • New Holland, North America