Kobelco adds Iridium communications to construction equipment

  • December 7, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Japan’s Kobelco Construction Machinery has integrated Iridium’s two-way satellite communications into its hydraulic excavator machinery, heavy equipment and the Komexs remote asset management platform.

The addition of the Iridium service provides KCM equipment with global coverage, along with the flexibility of programming deployed assets to provide automated recurring telematics and equipment health updates, while also enabling real-time reports.

The Komexs platform provides the capability to manage multiple deployed assets across several job sites and tracks machinery health information such as working hours, engine health and fuel consumption. The system helps users keep track of resources, manage costs, boost productivity and proactively plan for maintenance requirements that can help increase efficiency and safety.

This can also include warning alerts when deployed machinery needs servicing and geofencing to ensure machinery is deployed to the correct worksite.

“As the need for real-time, global communications continues to increase, Iridium and KCM are delivering reliable, effective and weather-resilient connectivity for KCM’s vast customer base,” said Bryan Hartin, executive vice president at Virginia-based Iridium. “This partnership solidifies Iridium’s leadership position in providing global satellite industrial-IoT communications within the heavy equipment industry.”

Iridium’s network is qualified for mobile telematics reporting and serving the needs of heavy equipment and construction machinery for connectivity beyond the reach of terrestrial networks. With small-form-factor devices that can be easily integrated with existing products such as the Komexs platform, Iridium works closely with its partners to help simplify the process of adding global satellite connectivity to their services.

KCM expects to begin shipment of vehicles equipped with Iridium connected devices in early 2021. Initial deployment will be in south-east Asian countries, followed by Russia, Central and South America, and North America.

As of the third quarter of 2020, Iridium commercial IoT subscribers grew 20% from the year-ago period to 924,000 customers. As the satellite IoT market continues to grow through the increased adoption of satellite-enabled telematics, the need for global and reliable services will increase.

Iridium is a mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe. In 2019, the company completed a generational upgrade of its satellite network and launched its specialty broadband service, Certus. Iridium Communications is headquartered in McLean, Virginia.