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James River Rolls Out John Deere Excavators With MICs

Tue November 11, 2003 - Southeast Edition

Advances in technology are allowing James River Equipment customers –– especially fleet managers –– to monitor excavator and operator performance on the job site.

In August, the dealer, with locations in Virginia and North and South Carolina, began rolling out John Deere excavators with the new Machine Information Center (MIC), an onboard data logger that uses Palm Pilot and PC software to retrieve and view recorded machine information.

In the past, only service departments could access machine utilization and performance information, said Ronnie Rowe, James River general manager in Greensboro, NC. “[The MIC] now offers accessibility to end-users.”

Keeping a contractor informed on various information, the data logger records how much the machine has been operating versus idling, traveling versus swinging; and the total hours an engine has been running –– capturing and storing up to 10,000 hours on construction-size excavators and 2,000 hours on mining machines. Information on machine use can be viewed in various time increments, such as hourly, weekly, monthly or over the life of the equipment.

The MIC also relays the history of time spent at various RPMs, hydraulic oil and coolant temperatures and pump pressures. It offers a time-stamped history of alarms and faults and an event log.

“It can tell the contractor whether or not the operator is running the machine wide open or at a quarter throttle,” noted Rowe.

An equipment owner can connect to the excavator using an mSeries Palm Pilot to download a snapshot of what has been logged on the MIC data logger. Once the data is synced to a PC, it can be manipulated using the MIC Dataviewer software.

The MIC is available on all new excavators shipped after May 2003, and John Deere has plans on extending the technology to other heavy equipment in the future.

Even with the machines being relatively new, reactions have been positive on the new technology, said Rowe.

“Contractors are really interested in machine utilization,” he said. “The new technology creates extra value in the machine.”

The MIC is currently supported by Palm Pilot models m125 through m515 and requires a PC with Windows 98 professional or later (home versions not included) and 130 MB of disk space and 25 MB of free space. The current version of the MIC software does not operate on the Tungsten series Palms, Palm OS 5.0 or Sony hardware with the Palm operating system.

A contractor can tell if a Deere excavator is MIC capable by checking out the fuse panel. In standard cabs, the customer connection point –– a six-pin white connector –– is visible at the bottom left corner of the panel.

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