Digital solutions are transforming the air access industry
Hearing about the autonomous construction sites of the future, where machines communicate with each other and with the people who manage them, may sound like a distant concept that will not exist for years to come. But it’s actually closer than you might think, as advancements in technology continue to redefine expectations and experiences in nearly every aspect of the construction industry, including access equipment such as platforms. -mobile elevating workforms (PEMP). As the industry continues to move towards connected job sites, today’s MEWP users are looking for new opportunities to interact with these machines.
While a fully self-contained job site may be in the distant future, MEWP users enjoy “self-reliant moments” with their already connected devices that can solve some of the industry’s most common challenges, like simplifying project planning, improving fleet management and improving training, all in driving safety and productivity gains.
By increasing fleet connectivity in a fairly simple to implement manner, the industry can take advantage of innovative new technologies that give MEWP end users the power to perform a variety of virtual tasks, such as eequipment selection, ooperator training and awareness, jplanning obsite and flease management.
Each job site has its own specifications and requirements, which means that selecting the right MEWP for the application can often be difficult. Choosing the right machine can lead to a productive work day, while having the wrong machine on site can lead to unexpected delays or inefficiencies.
Augmented Reality (AR) technology can make machine selection more intuitive. For example, the innovative AR applications available in the market can provide machine visualization that allows users to place 3D machine models “to scale” in the actual working environments in which they will be used. Users can then virtually move a selected MEWP through doors, into small spaces, and / or around obstacles to help determine if the particular machine can be used in the space it will need to maneuver.
In addition, this type of AR application can allow viewing of accessories. Users can see the different options and accessories available for the selected MEWP to better visualize what may be needed to further improve productivity on the job site.
Operator training and awareness
As AR makes great strides in machine visualization and selection, virtual reality (VR) technology continues to advance equipment training. Realistic simulators give trainees the opportunity to improve familiarization with controls and practice using the equipment well before setting foot in a physical machine. This form of experiential training takes users to virtual job sites, helping to build operator confidence before using the physical machine.
JLGFor example, some of the latest advancements in PEMP Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) virtual training include a PEMP platform that simulates the actual motion an operator experiences while operating the machine. Trainers using VR tools like this can choose from a variety of jobsite scenarios or create custom scenarios based on the user’s skill level or application specific training that may be required.
New technology is also available to help make MEWP operators more aware on the jobsite by giving them a better idea of their immediate surroundings. For example, electronic detection systems can equip MEWPs with sensors that provide visual and audible alerts informing operators that the MEWP is approaching a structure, thereby increasing the protection of people and property.
The technology can also be used to plan upcoming projects and make informed decisions about the job site. For example, building information modeling (BIM) can transform the traditionally siled disciplines of architecture, engineering, and construction to work together more effectively with integrated workflows. How? ‘Or’ What? Because it is a smart 3D equipment model with specification information that gives architects, design engineers and construction professionals the ability to work collaboratively throughout the early stages of tender, planning and design of a project to better plan the construction phase.
Using OEM models ensures that MEWP users benefit from the latest specifications, so the models look and act like the actual equipment in the field. OEM-specific BIM libraries enable architects and design engineers to use accurate PEMP models early on in a construction project to ensure that design elements are accessible throughout construction and then retained afterwards. construction. For example, the PEMP BIM templates that contain the machine specifications ensure that the selected equipment is suitable for the short and long term jobs to be performed.
JLGOnce a MEWP is selected, mobile apps can improve the operator’s experience with the machine before work begins. For example, OEM AR apps allow users to scan MEWW safety decals for current ISO symbol information, as well as see an overlay of a specific machine’s control panel with explanations of its functions before operation of the machine.
Mobile applications can also offer remote control of a MEWP without connection to the machine. This allows users to maintain a safe distance from the machine while maneuvering it around obstacles, positioning it in low clearance areas, and loading / unloading it from trucks. It eliminates the need for an operator on the platform or to walk alongside the machine.
Technological aids are not reserved only for the equipment operator. For example, an OEM’s AR application can provide service technicians with virtual overviews of machine components that need to be inspected, repaired, or replaced.
Typically, most construction jobs operate with tight margins, and MEWW operators often have to complete a particular aspect of one project before they can begin the next. Therefore, if equipment breaks down or requires maintenance, entire projects can fall behind. Telematics technology can help address these challenges by providing visibility into the location and operating status of equipment at any time of the day or night. As a result, it’s easier to be more proactive when it comes to maintenance.
For example, telematics allows maintenance departments to remotely assess the configuration and personalities of a MEWP to diagnose qualitative operational issues and examine fault codes. This allows technicians to proactively assess whether a service call is needed.
Remote diagnostics also allow technicians to be more efficient with their time on the job site by making sure they arrive with the materials needed to complete the job. These advancements can help contractors reduce labor costs while increasing machine availability.
In addition to enhancing service calls with remote diagnostics, telematics data enables fleet managers and equipment owners to quickly receive actionable diagnostic information about a MEWP’s battery and charger system, which can help owners and operators follow best charging / discharging practices to improve battery life. Plus, it can help reduce the majority of battery replacements, which are often done in error due to a lack of actionable data.
One of the best ways to continue to drive the construction industry forward with technology is for OEMs, such as JLG, to develop solutions and tools that create ‘moments of autonomy’ at overhead sites, by taking measures towards connected sites thanks to practical and easy-to-use functionalities and applications. .