Volvo Trucks Uptime diagnosticsVolvo Trucks is testing a tyre management service in Sweden in a move which it says will help it take care of potential malfunctions before they become serious.

The pilot scheme, at this stage for selected customers in Europe, provides advanced monitoring of tyre pressure and temperature in real time. The results can be monitored through an app, helping the driver and owner to identify slow punctures and avoid possible tyre explosions, which lead to unplanned stops and high costs.

By applying machine learning, Volvo hopes the accuracy of predicting component failures before they occur will improve, providing customers with optimal service planning.

“We’re looking at uptime from a customer perspective," said Markus Efraimsson, vice-president of Uptime at Volvo Trucks.

“New technologies for monitoring and analysing truck data in real time are opening up exciting opportunities to predict failures more precisely and further into the future. It’s all part of our continuous effort to keep our customers’ trucks on the road."

When a potential problem is detected by a Volvo Truck Monitoring Center, the customer’s local Volvo workshop is alerted so that preventive actions can be taken.

The company plans to extend the service successively to other markets in Europe, as well as expand its use of machine learning, collecting and analysing large amounts of truck data for research and development.

“By using advanced computer modelling and analytics, the ambition is to be able to identify hidden patterns to predict component failures far in advance, making it more likely that the required service or repair can be done during a scheduled service visit for maximum truck uptime,” the Gothenburg-based company stated.

Commenting on what has been achieved to date, Volvo Trucks said: “By monitoring and analysing data from thousands of trucks in real time, a large number of potential breakdowns have been avoided, resulting in improved uptime and productivity.”

The subject of uptime has become increasingly important in the haulage sector. Speaking at Automotive Logistics’ Supply Chain Conference in Atlanta last March, Jay Johnson, general manager of aftermarket supply chain at Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), referred to a culture change the company went through. Back in 2013 it initiated ‘the 72-hour challenge’ on truck repairs, because they were taking too long. The time is now down to 24 hours, he said.

In a presentation at the Aftersales Excellence Forum hosted by cloud-based aftermarket services provider Syncron in London last year, the company’s vice-president of sales for the EMEA region Gill Devine commented: “Many manufacturers are embarking on transformational journeys from ‘react and fix it’ to an environment where they look to maximise uptime.”