Predictive maintenance may have a higher initial cost for the software, but studies have shown a typical 8 to 12 percent savings over the long run because of the increase in reliability and availability of the vehicles. Current maintenance processes typically run on a timescale, as opposed to the actual vehicle condition. Predictive maintenance turns this around and keeps vehicles up and running. Three companies share how today’s systems are advancing fleet maintenance and monitoring.
Continental offers KIBES-32, a complete, end-to-end diagnostics system that allows users to see what’s working, failing or malfunctioning from the driver’s seat, a PC or a remote location.
The KIBES-32 vehicle multiplex networking offers advanced vehicle control and monitoring technologies so maintenance personnel don’t have to rely on physically inspecting a vehicle to see what’s working, failing or malfunctioning. Two innovative performance features it provides not available on competitive systems are centralized diagnostics and information accessibility. All diagnostics data is presented in once common display and represents advancements over the industry’s current use of LEDs to display failures, which requires technicians to open multiple access points and check multiple nodes to troubleshoot the problem. The information is easily accessible by a PC connection, remote or via the driver’s instrument panel. It can also be configured to provide specific information to different personnel, depending on what is pertinent to their responsibilities.
KIBES-32 saves on design, build and installation costs by replacing bulky wiring harnesses and conventional electronics with a flexible multiplex architecture. This system allows for easy connection to the various components throughout the vehicle.
The software system utilizes Windows PC-based PLC programming and is built on an open and scalable product platform, using both off-the-shelf and custom components that can be mounted and configured in a variety of ways. This system allows for flexibility in operational, diagnostic and developmental parameters to meet bus manufacturers and agencies needs.
Matt Williams, key account manager, special vehicles NAFTA for the Continental Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket Business Unit, explains that it’s the company’s 100-year history and automotive experience where a lot of the technology is born out of. With his focus on the bus market, he sees the truck business following the automotive business and the bus business following the truck business. “With the relationships that we have with all the major auto manufacturers of the world, especially with some of these premium brands like VW and Daimler, you don’t survive that world without having great products, superior technology manufactured correctly and good relationships.
“Our ability to do that really allows us to then take those experiences and bring them into the truck market and it’s been tried and true.” He adds, “That’s one of the things as a company that differentiates us from our competition. We’re just so integrated within the business in all aspects.”
When Williams talks about the American transit market, he says he’s starting to see that the challenges that it’s faced with in terms of infrastructure, populations into the cities, the transient population is creating infrastructure problems here that the European markets have dealt with for a long time.
With the majority of European transit buses having their system on it, he says they have a technology that’s already distributed for a market and it is the standard in a market that is dealing with the things the United States is going to be needing to address in the future.
“I see this all the time; our competition has got great products for today. We’ve just got great products for tomorrow,” Williams says. “When we come to the table we say, ‘OK, we have got a solution that not only helps you today, but it’s going to help carry you into your next stages of development and as you start to resolve these infrastructure issues.”