Real-time asset availability becomes an affordable goal

Ctrack demonstrates that tracking assets is a means to many ends not limited to improving safety, project control, productivity and efficiency. All of this comes with the release of the Ctrack Asset range.

Mining operators can now track the flow of goods coming from a mine site carrying a payload of iron ore, coal or lithium thanks to a range of devices that not only follows a powered item, but also its non-powered counterpart.

These IOT devices can also be placed on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) equipment for a quick identification of its whereabouts when an emergency event occurs. 

They can also be used as a theft prevention tool because the device can be set to alert if an item has been moved from a location to a place where it’s not supposed to be.

The device doesn’t leave companies in the mercy of the perpetrator, but instead enables them to warn the perpetrator of their knowledge of the latter’s whereabouts.

This is how Ctrack has given mining companies the ability to conduct quantity control, emergency response and theft prevention in an unprecedented way.

It owes to the newly launched product range, Ctrack Asset, which keeps tabs on where a company’s items are located, whether they are valuable or important for efficient operation in the field.

Mining operations that have an Internet of Things (IoT)-dedicated network, 4G-Cat M1, or a supported low power, wide area networking protocol like LoRaWAN (long-range wide-area network) set up on-site can enjoy this offering.

“One of the big issues facing mining companies in this area is they only have satellites connectivity as their best and failsafe option to track items or devices,” says Greg Howard, Ctrack New Zealand business development manager across IoT, telematics, GPS and asset tracking verticals.

“The problem with this is that satellite connectivity is normally significantly more expensive.

“With LPWAN, you will maintain coverage while saving a considerable amount of cost, and you’ll still be able to track your items.”

The Ctrack Asset range also has devices that can sniff WiFi connections or low-power Bluetooth tags, which are useful for tracking lower cost noncritical assets like handheld equipment. These connectivity options can replace the use of more expensive GPS devices to trace smaller assets.

When hooked on a powered vehicle, users can track its location in real time.

In delivering even greater safety to mine sites, operators can use Ctrack Asset to keep tabs on maintenance, including when the vehicle was last serviced.

Using the maintenance recorders within the system, users can be alerted to perform maintenance as scheduled.

Ctrack Asset is also an aid for day to day operations at a mine site. With the size of many truck fleets, there will often be a large number of vehicle keys a driver needs to scramble through to get on the right machine, and then there’s the items they must take along with them.

This is where the Bluetooth tags become particularly useful. Batteries on the tags can last beyond three years in typical use. Ctrack Asset also helps track a forgotten item when an operator moves from one part of the mine to another.

Ctrack New Zealand business development manager Greg Howard.

“If someone leaves behind, say, a generator, Ctrack Asset can save a lot of energy, effort and time in identifying where the missing generator is,” Howard, who has 20 years’ experience in telematics, GPS and asset tracking, says.

The industry veteran joined Ctrack this year, giving credit to the company’s fourth ranking in the world in terms of global asset tracking and connected devices.

“Ctrack has a huge presence globally and from its roots in South Africa, which has a large and vibrant mining industry that has helped build up the company’s experience,” Howard says.

“It has a very, very strong pedigree in asset tracking. Ctrack has been involved in the transportation of people, recovery of stolen vehicles and transporting of valuable commodities such as gold and platinum, cases where Ctrack’s suite of technology has been used.”

Companies that choose to invest in Ctrack Asset will see greater benefits flowing from its technology suite later this year when the business integrates its lone worker solution to the platform, which is critical for health and safety of workers who are away from the safety of the mine site telecommunication network.

Ctrack has traditionally focussed on vehicle technology and driving style, such as harsh braking and speeding, or even identifying the cause of the significant event, such as a vehicle rollover.

At the higher end of the Ctrack product suite is technology that can video-monitor activity outside of the vehicle and also inside the driver cab. The focus of the asset platform is to enable companies to widen their locational intelligence to assets that were previously too expensive to track.

This article appears in the July-August issue of Safe to Work.

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