When Sarens Group rents out one of its cranes, the company can keep track of exactly where it is located at all times. The tracing solution also records everything about the crane’s activities. This machine-to-machine system is increasing security on the worksite and provides useful information about the fleet in real time.
The Belgian family-business Sarens Group is active worldwide in crane rental. The company has specialized in cranes for exceptional situations: lifting and moving large and heavy loads, often at especially high elevations or in unusual locations. The Sarens cranes are active in a variety of sectors. The primary customers are companies in oil and gas extraction, energy, petrochemicals, public works and mining construction. In addition, Sarens has a department that is focused on the installation of wind turbines, on land and at sea. The activities carried out by Sarens call for a major investment in rolling stock. That is why the company was looking for a way to be able to trace and track its machines. At the same time, Sarens also wanted to gather all information on the performance of the equipment online in a single central system, regardless of the brand or type of equipment.
Insuring safety in use
“Via the machine-to-machine system we are able to view – in a single interface – the location of all of our cranes and other, chiefly rolling, equipment,” explains Guy Frederickx, Global Fleet Director at Sarens Group. “At the same time we are able to track performance and monitor that the cranes are being used safely.” The data – mileage, hours worked, tank contents, etc. – is transmitted to the ERP system, where it forms a control basis for the service reports provided and billing, but it’s also useful for monitoring and planning the preventative maintenance. “We manage a wide range of different types of cranes and other machines. This includes machines with their own batteries and equipment without batteries such as ‘man boxes’ or ‘mobile fuel systems’,” points out ICT Manager Steve Vossen. “We install the same black box in all of them. Later, we configure the various inputs for each device.” Sarens chose the tracing system from Multicap. Belgacom provides the connectivity. Frederickx: “It’s important to us that Belgacom has a worldwide network of roaming partners. After all, our cranes are operated around the globe.”
Accurate information in real time
In principle, the communication runs over GPRS. If there is insufficient coverage, then the system automatically switches over to SMS. In total, Sarens has equipped some 800 cranes, vehicles and other rolling stock with the solution. The automatic data transfer replaces the previous procedure using paper documents and human intervention. “We are also a lot more efficient now in planning our maintenance schedule,” Vossen noted. The fact that Sarens knows the exact location of the cranes at all times is also a major advantage in renting them, particularly in the case of smaller cranes and trucks. Moreover, the system contributes to better use and management of the machines. Frederickx: “We can respond more quickly to the behavior of the crane operator, for example, if we observe that he is using certain motors unnecessarily. Thanks to the location data, we were also able to act faster in the case of theft.”
Sarens Group is a Belgian family-owned company that is active in over 50 countries. With a workforce of 3,600 employees worldwide, the group has a turnover of 480 million euros. The company headquarters is located in Wolvertem.
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