Leveling the playing field

Technology is an important ingredient for growth and innovation in any business.

For industrial construction and maintenance projects, it can inform hiring decisions, reduce costs and help businesses do more with less, which is especially important when equipment, materials and labor are all in short supply.

Therefore, technology should be an essential component of any construction site. Innovations, such as enabling a smart and connected fleet of devices, can harness the power of data for efficiency and customer insights and help keep people safe.

Understand the power of telemetry

While data has always existed, its potential has not always been fully realized. But as more cost-effective telemetry devices have come to market and the IoT has evolved, these developments have allowed data to be harnessed and better used across a wide range of industries and customer applications.

Across the Coates fleet, telemetry sensors now capture real-time flow rates for safe water management. They measure loads placed on structural supports for safe excavation.

They also inform proactive asset maintenance and help industrial businesses track and understand the use of tools, equipment and consumables. The possibilities for telemetry to inform and improve customer activities are limitless.

Unlock data value

The real value of telemetry, however, is not in the raw data it provides, but in the analysis and interpretation of that data to reveal business insights.

In addition to telemetry sensors, we use asset management technologies like SiteIQ (replacing CHASE) and productivity tools like Smart Site to help customers reduce costs, drive business efficiency and drive customer and market focused solution delivery .

For example, late last year Coates supplied, tracked and monitored tools and equipment for a major upgrade at Mount Piper Power Station in NSW.

By eliminating unnecessary redundancies and helping to return equipment that would otherwise be idle to the site, a data-enabled approach helped this customer achieve an 80 percent improvement in instrument uptime efficiency.

And while helping clients reduce their employment may seem counterintuitive, it’s important to remember that efficiency is a two-way street, with benefits on both sides.

From a market perspective, as the efficiency gains allow leasing equipment to a customer, it can also be used to support other businesses facing similar challenges around equipment demand and supply.

Put technology at risk

Replacing humans in performing high-risk, high-cost tasks is another high-value application for technology in the construction and industrial sectors.

Custom drones are increasingly being used to perform pre-commencement safety inspections on construction sites and for remote asset inspections during industrial maintenance.

Sending drones into these environments instead of humans eliminates the need for access equipment like scaffolding, ropes and booms, and helps businesses keep their most important assets safe.

For inspecting industrial assets such as cooling towers, drones also allow the creation of highly accurate 3D models and digital twins to guide current and future maintenance.

No matter how far along your technology strategy is, there will always be opportunities for technologies like these to level the playing field and mitigate industry challenges. And there will always be productivity, efficiency and safety benefits.

Murray Vitlich is the CEO of Coates.

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