Koch Truck

Koch Trucking

Eaton IntelliConnect™ improving 'road service'

“When we see a code, the Eaton solution will actually show me a picture of the problem, tell me what parts are bad, and will tell us if it's a shutdown situation or a condition that can wait and the vehicle is drivable. So now we can schedule any preventative service well in advance. “

Todd Wright, director of maintenance,
Koch Trucking

Background

Embracing the latest and greatest technologies in the commercial trucking industry has always been a top priority at Koch Trucking. The Minneapolisbased company was one of the earliest fleets to implement electronic support prgrams from companies such as Omnitracs, Cummins, International, TA Petro, Michelin and others.

The versatile fleet has received numerous trucking industry awards and mostly services the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast regions of the U.S.

Koch also was an early adopter of automated manual transmissions.

"As soon as we got the automated manual transmissions, the owners really believed that the future of transportation was going to be based on automation," says Todd Wright, director of maintenance at Koch and a 34-year transportation industry veteran. "We went with Eaton automation early on and remain with them to this day."

Now Koch is again partnering with Eaton, this time by embracing the company's new remote diagnostics system known as IntelliConnect. The program provides near realtime monitoring of vehicle fault codes, prioritizes the critical events and provides accurate and comprehensive action plans by technical experts at Eaton. The primary objective of IntelliConnect is to increase a fleet's uptime by reducing unplanned downtime and providing quicker repair diagnostics through remote communication with a vehicle's transmission.

Challenge

Early on, it was important to Wright that the Eaton system be fully compatible with his current telematics providers. His team of 12 maintenance professionals – known as "Road Service" at Koch – have worked with the providers for several years, often looking at up to three screens at the same time to quickly diagnose and tend to needed repairs.

"We want to assist our drivers and let them concentrate more on driving and less on trying to figure out what to do with all of the fault codes you see these days on contemporary trucks," says Wright. "They shouldn't have to be making maintenance decisions."

He also wanted a solution that would allow Road Service to implement predictive maintenance practices, as well as a solution that would assist the team in accurately identifying whether a situation is a drivable one or one that requires a shutdown.

Solution

IntelliConnect has been meeting all of these challenges and more.

IntelliConnect is built on an open architecture, which means it can easily integrate with virtually any telematics provider. For those fleets not yet on a remote diagnostics platform, Eaton will provide its own intuitive and informative portal.

"When we see a code, the Eaton solution will actually show me a picture of the problem, tell me what parts are bad, and will tell us if it's a shutdown situation or a condition that can wait and the vehicle is drivable." said Wright. "So now we can schedule any preventative service well in advance. We can safely predict, for example, if the vehicle can make it from Indianapolis to Pittsburgh where we can identify a dealer location for service. That's what the technology is doing right now.

"That same function is also allowing us to eliminate most of our transmission inspections. If we don't see a code pop up telling us a specific transmission needs attention, we pretty much leave the units alone because we know how reliable the transmissions are."

The company also has the option to select the manner in which it receives its analysis and action plans from Eaton. These can be provided via email, Eaton web-portal, or through a variety of third party remote diagnostics systems.

IntelliConnect is available with every Eaton Cummins Automated Transmission Technologies UltraShift® PLUS and Fuller Advantage® automated transmission, as well as their medium-duty Procision® dual-clutch automatic transmission. As a holistic system, IntelliConnect also reviews data from other vehicle components to determine potential root causes, and then provide solutions to larger problems that also plague the transmission functionality.

Result

"The Eaton IntelliConnect system was a natural fit here," says Wright.

He adds, "For example, let's say we have a driver trying to slide a set of tandems under a trailer and while doing so the clutch gets overheated. That will pop up on the Eaton site and they can then tell us the solution may be as simple as instructing the driver to sit and let the clutch cool down for 30 to 60 minutes. It will then be okay to drive.

"Without this, you are looking at getting a tow truck and having to send another truck to take the load. Now we can eliminate the cost of that tow truck and the cost associated with not only another vehicle and driver, but also the cost with having a driver not on the road."

Koch believes support like that can quickly add up to significant financial gains when you have more than 900 vehicles in your fleet and some 850 drivers and owner operators.

But Wright and others in Road Service reserve their highest Eaton praise for an unquantifiable dynamic that doesn't require satellites, GPS, split screens or ECUs.

"We've been very lucky over the years and worked with a lot of great vendors," says Wright. "None more so than Eaton. It's really a privilege working with them and we are really glad to be a part of this. They're a great group of people."