Keeping track…..excavators

The theft of construction equipment is a global problem and in the UK it costs the economy almost £1 billion per annum, points out security specialist Kosran. In the current downturn, theft and fraud are up 10 per cent. There is a big market for stolen plant in Poland, Russia, the Middle East and South America where there is a construction boom so a machine can quickly leave the country. Thus it makes sense to secure plant with the aim of preventing its theft.

In 2005 Kubota became the first mini excavator manufacturer to offer a complete security system as standard equipment on its machines. Now the company has introduced its newly upgraded Anti-Theft Plus system, in the UK and Ireland, which has also gained the certification of Thatcham, the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre.

It is the first construction equipment security system integrated into machines when they are built to achieve Thatcham endorsement, recognised by insurers and likely to result in substantial discounts on premiums for users of Kubota mini excavators. Anti-Theft Plus is now fitted as standard to all new Kubota machines from 1.5 to 8 tonnes.

Richard Harrison, Sales and Marketing Manager, Kubota (UK)– Construction Equipment, said: “It’s satisfying to know that our new Anti-Theft Plus system is considered so secure it has gained the certification of Thatcham. In 2005 when we launched the original Anti-Theft system we were the first mini excavator manufacturer to offer a key-based security system as standard. It has been a great success and to date we have no record of any Kubota machine fitted with it ever having been stolen by means of thieves tampering with the ignition.”

The security system is based on an individually programmed key for each machine instead of the traditional universal starter key, using an identification code embedded in an IC chip that incorporates a state-of-the-art immobiliser system.

It starts and stops the engine like a conventional ignition key, and also opens the machine’s cab door, fuel filler cap and engine canopy. Without it, the fuel, hydraulic and electric systems are fully immobilised. Any attempt to start the machine with an un-programmed key activates the system’s alarm. There is also now extra guarding around the more sensitive areas of the machine operating system.

Two pre-programmed keys are supplied with each new machine. A third master key gives users the opportunity to easily reprogramme the machine with a new unique identity number, via buttons on the digital dashboard, if one or both of the original keys are lost or mislaid at any time.

At Intermat, Kosran will launch the new ECV COMMS Keypad System which integrates electro-mechanical immobilisation with remote control asset management.
By a simple computer or mobile phone procedure hire company plant managers can now remotely immobilise plant at random or set times from any location – for example: hire companies can shut-down plant immediately it is off-hired or over weekends unless a rental is being paid.

For contractors, the plant manager does not have to be on site and can remotely shut-down machines during downtime and stop unauthorised machine use by children, employees and thieves and contain his exposure to safety claims.

The immobilisation system electro-mechanically shuts-off the diesel fuel supply and locks the hydraulics. The telematics package is integrated into the Keypad on which
PIN Codes validate the user.

Kosran suggests that it would takes a well equipped professional thief in excess of one hour to bypass the deterrent and points out that no Kosran secured machine has ever been bypassed. Leading insurers offer discounts for Kosran protected plant and the company itself offers a £1,000 guarantee against theft and a three year warranty.

Marubeni-Komatsu’s MR-3 mini excavator range features Komtrax, a machine monitoring and tracking system which uses a network of global positioning satellites to identify where a machine is at all times, quickly alerting the owner if its stolen. It also provides a working record of operational information as well as daily and monthly reports that enable the owner to monitor machine health and schedule preventative maintenance.

At SED, Enigma Vehicle Systems and Meck Lock UK will announce a new collaboration in security and tracking products. The companies have jointly developed a system that provides the benefits of the Skyline advanced GPS satellite tracking and telematics system from Enigma and the hydraulic anti-theft system from Meck Lock simultaneously.

The Meck Lock system can be fitted to any vehicle or machine with a hydraulic system and works by isolating the hydraulic flow using a patented key-operated mechanical system. In the new joint set up, the Skyline system receives a signal from the Meck Lock system which allows the customer to see whether or not it has been activated using the key. If it has not been locked, Skyline can alert the customer with a text message and can be used to activate the Meck Lock remotely. If the Meck Lock is deactivated by a thief, the signal to Skyline will be cut and the operator notified that the system is being attacked to take the appropriate action.

In vehicles, Meck Lock provides a permanently fitted anti-theft device by isolating the clutch, pneumatic handbrake or both and is the only system on the market that works by isolating the clutch. When the clutch pedal is depressed the slave cylinder remains in the open position and gears cannot be engaged. Meck Lock can be fitted to any vehicle, but works best on machinery with a PTO as the driver can engage the PTO, remove the Meck Lock Key and leave the engine running, knowing that the vehicle is immobilised. This is also advantageous from a health and safety point of view as vehicles cannot be moved by accident and injure anyone, or be stolen and cause third party damage.

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