GPS Tracker for Excavators: Enhancing Efficiency and Security in Construction Projects

10 minute read

GPS Tracker for Excavators Enhance Security

In the fast-paced and demanding realm of construction projects, efficiency and security are of paramount importance. That's why innovative solutions like a GPS tracker for excavators have become indispensable tools for construction companies worldwide.

Gone are the days when construction managers had to rely solely on manual monitoring and guesswork to keep track of their excavators' locations, working hours, maintenance status, operators, and more. With the advent of GPS and telematics technologies, tracking and managing these heavy-duty machines has reached a whole new level. GPS trackers provide real-time location data, empowering construction companies to optimize their operations, enhance productivity, save fuel, and safeguard their valuable assets.

In this article, we will explore the many advantages of using GPS tracking for excavators. From improving project timelines, to cost savings to deterring theft and minimizing downtime, these powerful devices are transforming the construction industry. We'll dive into the various features and functionalities offered by GPS trackers, shedding light on their potential to revolutionize how excavators are managed on construction sites.

How do construction fleet managers benefit from using GPS tracking for their excavators?

Construction fleet managers reap a multitude of benefits by incorporating GPS tracking into the management of their excavators and other heavy equipment, including bulldozers, rollers, backhoes, mini excavators, loaders, and more. Here are some key advantages they experience:

  1. Enhanced Equipment Utilization: GPS tracking enables fleet managers to monitor the location and usage patterns of excavators in real-time. This valuable data helps optimize equipment utilization by identifying idle or underutilized machines. Fleet managers can maximize job site productivity and reduce operational costs by reallocating resources effectively.
  2. Improved Operational Efficiency: With GPS tracking, construction fleet, and asset managers gain valuable insights into excavators and other construction equipment performance, including fuel consumption, engine hours, working times, inputs/outputs, maintenance needs, driver performance, and more. This data can facilitate proactive operator training and maintenance scheduling, preventing unexpected breakdowns and costly repairs. By streamlining maintenance operations, fleet managers can ensure smooth project execution and minimize costs associated with downtime.
  3. Real-Time Monitoring and Safety: GPS tracking allows fleet operators to monitor excavators' movements, speed, harsh events, angles, and operating conditions in real-time. This feature promotes safer operations by identifying potential hazards and operator errors and preventing unauthorized use with instant alerts. Fleet managers can receive instant alerts for any unusual behavior or deviations from predefined routes or outside geofenced job sites, enabling swift intervention in case of emergencies.
  4. Theft Prevention and Asset Recovery: Excavators and other heavy construction equipment are valuable assets increasingly becoming targets of theft. GPS tracking provides an effective anti-theft mechanism, enabling fleet managers or business operators to track stolen excavators' exact locations and share that with law enforcement to have them recover the stolen asset quickly. Additionally, geofencing capabilities allow for the creation of virtual boundaries, triggering instant alerts if an excavator leaves the designated area without authorization or similarly triggering alerts if equipment moves at times when it should not.
  5. Data-Driven Decision Making: GPS tracking generates comprehensive data reports and analytics, empowering fleet managers to make informed decisions. They can analyze historical data to identify operational inefficiencies, optimize routes, track hours, analyze safety data and implement strategic improvements. By leveraging data-driven insights, fleet managers can fine-tune their operations, enhance overall efficiency, and drive profitability.

How to track an excavator or other pieces of heavy construction equipment?

Tracking an excavator using GPS technology is a straightforward process that involves the following steps:

  1. Install a GPS Tracker: Begin by selecting the best GPS tracker and installing the tracking device specifically designed for heavy machinery like excavators. These devices are compact and can be easily attached to the excavator's body or securely hidden within the machine. Ensure that the GPS tracker has a reliable power source, either through the excavator's battery or an independent power supply. In some cases, if the tracker is hidden inside the cabin or engine compartment of the machine, it may require an external antenna to acquire the optimal GPS satellite signal.
  2. Activate the GPS Tracker: Once the GPS tracker is installed, activate it by following the manufacturer's instructions. This typically involves connecting the device to a cellular network or satellite system to transmit location data. Trackem GPS staff are here to help you through this process for your fleet.
  3. Configure Tracking Settings: Set up the tracking parameters in the GPS software system settings, according to your requirements. This includes defining the frequency at which the GPS tracker will report the excavator's location, such as every minute or at regular intervals. You can also customize additional settings like geofencing (defining virtual boundaries) or speed limits to receive alerts for any deviations, notifications, drivers, user types, vehicle information, maintenance reminders, dashboards, customer GPS and telematics reports, and more.
  4. Access Tracking Platform: To track the excavator, construction equipment, and fleet vehicles, access the GPS tracking platform provided by Trackem GPS. This web-based and mobile application allows you to monitor the location and other relevant data transmitted by the GPS tracker. Each system user will have their own login credentials and user settings.
  5. Track Excavator in Real Time: Once you have access to the tracking platform, you can view the real-time location of the excavator. The platform typically provides a map interface that displays the excavator's position with accuracy. You can zoom in, zoom out, or switch between different map views to track the machine effectively. Place geofences around specific job sites to monitor hours working in or out of (in transit) those geofences/job sites. 
  6. Utilize Additional Features: GPS tracking systems often offer additional features to enhance tracking and management. These may include generating reports on the excavator's usage, fuel consumption, maintenance needs, etc. Take advantage of these features to optimize operations and improve overall efficiency.

How to use GPS to recover a stolen excavator?

To recover a stolen excavator or any piece of construction equipment that is protected using GPS technology, you can follow these steps:

Firstly, it is crucial to report the theft of the excavator to the authorities promptly. Provide them with detailed information about the stolen machine, including its make, model, and serial number. This step ensures that the police can initiate an investigation and increase the chances of recovering the stolen equipment.

Simultaneously, contact the GPS tracking provider or the company that installed the GPS tracker on the excavator. Inform them about the theft and provide them with the necessary information, such as the tracker's unique identifier or device ID. This enables the tracking provider to assist in locating the stolen excavator using GPS technology.

The GPS tracking provider will access their tracking platform, either through a web-based interface or a dedicated mobile application. They will input the relevant details of the stolen excavator, such as its unique identifier, into the tracking system. This action initiates the tracking process, enabling the provider to start monitoring the location of the stolen machine in real-time.

As the GPS tracking system starts recording the excavator's movements, the tracking provider will work closely with law enforcement authorities, providing them with regular updates on the machine's location. They may also collaborate with recovery agents or specialized recovery teams to facilitate the safe retrieval of the stolen excavator.

Once the stolen excavator's whereabouts are determined, law enforcement authorities and recovery teams can take appropriate action. They will coordinate efforts to recover the machine, ensuring that the necessary precautions are taken to protect both personnel and the equipment during the recovery process.

It is important to note that GPS tracking technology significantly improves the chances of successfully recovering a stolen excavator. However, it is always recommended to rely on the expertise of law enforcement professionals and recovery specialists throughout the process to ensure a safe and efficient recovery operation.

By promptly reporting the theft, collaborating with the GPS tracking provider, and working in tandem with law enforcement and recovery teams, you can increase the likelihood of recovering your stolen excavator and minimizing potential losses.

What is the best GPS tracker for excavators?

When it comes to selecting the best GPS tracker for excavators, it's important to consider factors such as reliability, durability, functionality, installation convenience, and power source options. Two common options to compare are wired devices and battery-powered devices. Let's explore the characteristics of each:

1. Wired GPS Trackers:

Wired GPS trackers are directly connected to the excavator's power source, typically the battery. They offer several advantages:

  • Reliable Power Source: Since wired trackers draw power from the excavator's battery, they have a constant power supply, ensuring uninterrupted tracking.
  • Real-time Tracking: Wired trackers can provide real-time tracking updates as long as the excavator's battery is operational.
  • Ability to Integrate I/O Tracking: Wire GPS devices like the Trackem Rugged GPS Tracker, or Trackem Fleet GPS Tracker allow hardwiring in inputs/outputs (eg. hydraulics on/off, stabilizers up/down, siren on/off, etc.) from other electronic or mechanical functions of the excavator or piece of machinery. 
  • Permanent Installation: Once installed, wired trackers are generally more secure and less prone to tampering or theft and do not require recharging or battery replacement.

However, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Installation Complexity: Installing wired trackers may require professional assistance or technical expertise. It involves wiring connections and integrating the device with the excavator's electrical system and needs to be installed in a manner that allows the device to get reliable GPS satellite fixes. 
  • Limited Mobility: The tracker is fixed to the excavator, so it doesn't offer mobility outside the machine, to be used on another asset.

We recommend the Trackem Fleet Tracker or Trackem Rugged Tracker for a hard-wired option for your excavator.

2. Battery-Powered GPS Trackers:

Battery-powered GPS trackers are standalone devices equipped with their own power source, typically rechargeable batteries like the Trackem MagTracker or AAA batteries like the Trackem Solo Tracker. They offer several advantages:

  • Easy Installation: Battery-powered trackers are typically simple to install, as they don't require complex wiring or integration with the excavator's electrical system. Some have simple magnetic installations, while others require two mounting screws. 
  • Flexibility and Mobility: These trackers can be easily moved between different excavators or other equipment, providing flexibility in tracking multiple assets.
  • Wide Range of Options: Battery-powered trackers come in various sizes and forms, offering options to choose from based on specific needs, each with varying battery life or charge capacities. 

However, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Battery Life: The duration between recharges varies depending on the tracker and GPS ping rate. It's important to choose a device with sufficient battery life to meet tracking requirements.
  • Maintenance: Regular battery charging or replacement is necessary to ensure continuous tracking functionality.

Determining the best GPS tracker for excavators and other construction machinery depends on your specific requirements and preferences. If you prioritize a constant power source, more PTO functionality, and permanent installation, wired trackers may be a suitable choice. On the other hand, if you prefer easy installation, flexibility, and the ability to track multiple assets, battery-powered trackers offer more convenience.

We recommend the Solo Tracker for a long-life asset tracking, battery-powered option for your excavator.

Ultimately, it is recommended to research and compare different GPS tracker models, considering factors like battery life, tracking accuracy, ease of use, and additional features provided by the manufacturers. Consulting with industry experts and reading customer reviews can also help in making an informed decision based on your unique needs.

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