Forklift truck manufacturer Hubtex keeps a close eye on its customers' fleet from afar. The pallet stackers are linked to an IoT platform (Internet of Things) to transmit data on battery level, operating hours and error codes straight to customer service.
Hubtex vehicles and forklift trucks are specialized for long, heavy and bulky goods. The Fulda-based manufacturer's vehicles are used in production and commercial businesses around the globe. Even in the toughest surroundings, they can help organize efficient material flows and cargo handling. In keeping with the modular principle, each newly-ordered vehicle is custom-made, configured and built specifically for its future purpose.
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Using a Deutsche Telekom IoT solution, Hubtex connects customers' vehicles to ensure optimal and predictive maintenance. This makes it possible to avoid production outages and to minimize service costs. Since May this year the manufacturer has also been retrofitting existing forklift trucks, connecting them to head office via the system.
Operating data in real time
For predictive remote maintenance, Hubtex connects the forklift trucks' machine controls with a gateway, including an M2M (machine-to-machine) SIM card. The solution encrypts data on battery level, operating hours and any error codes and transmits them in almost real time over the mobile network to the Cloud of Things, Deutsche Telekom's cloud-based IoT platform. The system stores and analyzes the sensor data on ISO-certified, highly secure Deutsche Telekom servers in Germany and visually translates the data as a control center on a dashboard.
The machine triggers an alert
Hubtex can access the data from any conventional computer in the Fulda head office using a normal webbrowser or can keep an eye on the forklift trucks via a mobile terminal. Moreover, a display on the forklift shows the transmitted data. Thresholds are defined for each forklift. If these are exceeded the machine triggers an early warning alert to ensure the forklift doesn't incur damage. A quick glance at the dashboard with the transmitted sensor data is enough for Hubtex's service technicians to know whether they have to carry out service and what they need to do.
More precise cost calculation
The costs for this service can also be calculated accurately: Use of the IoT platform is not billed at a flat rate but per connected vehicle. Moreover, special M2M data rate plans ensure that costs are kept under control at home and abroad. The Deutsche Telekom mobile network also guarantees uninterrupted communication.
Flexible maintenancee contracts
Hubtex performs maintenance on the forklifts based entirely on their actual use, i.e. the operating hours recorded. "As far as we're concerned, inflexible maintenance contracts are a thing of the past," says Carsten Schreiner, Hubtex head of service. "In the future, we will help our customers keep their machines in good working order with tailored service models that don't break the bank."
Minimum downtime – increased productivity
Hubtex service workers can proactively replace heavily-used, wearable parts before they break down and bring production to a standstill. Thanks to the error codes and conclusions reached about the problem, the technicians know what replacement parts and tools they likely need before traveling to the customer. Thanks to the M2M solution, a second on-site visit is not necessary in most cases. The forklift trucks' downtime and service costs are minimized and their productivity increased. Through remote maintenance, Hubtex has benefited from streamlined service processes and on-site visits have become far less frequent. This saves Hubtex time and money – an advantage the company can pass on to its customers.
Efficient material flows and cargo handling
Hubtex is a leading international manufacturer of customized industrial trucks, side loaders and special equipment for long, heavy and bulky goods. This mid-sized company offers production and commercial businesses efficient material flows and cargo handling even in the narrowest surroundings. The Fulda-based manufacturer's main customers come from the wood and section industry, the steel trade, the building materials sector and the glass industry. Hubtex has subsidiaries in Belgium, the UK, France, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. With more than three decades of experience in building specialized vehicles, the company offers its customers innovative product solutions, comprehensive technical advice and maintenance services.