Industry 4.0: Energy Supplier Releases Wireless Device to Control Machinery Remotely

A power management company with major operations in Southfield has launched a line of wireless mobile control solutions for heavy machinery and field operations as well as wet kit packages for end-dump applications

Eaton's Omnex Trusted Wireless mobile control solution
Eaton’s Omnex Trusted Wireless mobile control solution allows for the remote control of heavy machinery. Photo courtesy of Eaton

A power management company with major operations in Southfield has launched a line of wireless mobile control solutions for heavy machinery and field operations as well as wet kit packages for end-dump applications.

The technology is part of Industry 4.0, in which factory machinery and systems can be operated remotely via sensors and devices.

Eaton, which is based in Ireland and has operations in Southfield and Galesburg (east of Kalamazoo), unveiled its Omnex Trusted Wireless mobile control solutions from its eMobility business for heavy machinery and field operations.

The 900 MHz two-way remote-control units allow for the wireless control of high-value machinery in harsh environments, including mining, construction, agriculture, locomotive, and marine markets.

“Our next generation of rugged, weatherproof Omnex wireless controllers were designed with customer input and offer a number of benefits including enhanced safety and productivity for machine operators,” says Scott Adams, president of e-mobility at Eaton. “Overall, we’ve improved upon the reliability and connectivity that was always a benefit over the competition, and we continue to advance our wireless technology in those areas.”

The controllers can operate heavy machinery. Remote operation can reduce the amount of personnel on-site and keep workers out of harm’s way. The units have a range of up to 1,650 feet and can be programmed for a range of functions, such as remotely controlling boom functions, rotating a mixer barrel, or raising and lowering a crane. The controllers can also be programmed to provide feedback via a screen, haptic response, or sequenced light-emitting diodes. The function can be used to signal to an operator when a crane is fully extended or be programmed to display the amount of weight a trailer is carrying.

The units have undergone Eaton’s cyber security protocols to prevent the signal being hacked, while algorithms allow for a fail-safe operation. Each controller can be programmed to connect with a vehicle that has been equipped with a receiver installed in the electronic systems of a vehicle or machinery. The units are dust- and water-tight and feature updated radios and lithium ion batteries for better performance.

In addition, 2.4 GHz version will launch later this year.

The company has also introduced its wet kit packages for end-dump applications supporting the Bezares line of power takeoff units that fit Eaton Fuller and Eaton Cummins Endurant transmissions. Bezares SA is a global manufacturer of power takeoff units, hydraulic pumps, fittings, tanks, valves, and other mobile power hydraulic components.

The wet kits include all the components into a single part number. They are installed on medium- and heavy-duty trucks with accessories such as booms and cranes that need hydraulic pumps to operate. The pump is activated by the truck’s transmission.

Each wet kit includes a power takeoff unit with Viton seals and Garlock gaskets for easier installation and fewer leaks, a roller bearing dump pump for reliability, and an aluminum tank for lighter weight. Compiling all the needed components in one kit streamlines installation, which saves time when compared to ordering a system with individual parts and numbers.

“Eaton’s (power takeoff unit) wet kits are a simple solution to a complex problem that provides our customers with a turnkey solution for end-dump applications,” says Tim Bauer, vice president of aftermarket for Eaton’s Vehicle Group. “Our goal is to make life easier for users by providing everything they need. We’ve already done the homework for them.”

Many of the kit’s components allow end users to configure the hydraulic systems to individual customer or application needs, such as a 50-gallon aluminum tank, which can be mounted either behind the cab or with a round side mount. A direct-mount air shift dump pump can be used with both two- and three-line systems.

The kits are available for shipment.

Eaton reached a distribution agreement with Bezares SA in 2019 to become the North American master distributor for its mobile power hydraulic portfolio.

Eaton works to improve the quality of life and environment through the use of power management technologies and services. It provides solutions to help manage electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical power. The company sells its products in more than 175 countries and has about 93,000 employees.

Written by Grace Turner for dBusiness magazine.