Caterpillar partners with Modustri to provide immediate parts wear inspection data in the field

Caterpillar’s D3K2 dozerCaterpillar’s D3K2 dozer

The latest in a growing string of tech investments and partnerships for the company, Caterpillar announced today a collaboration that will give its customers access to mobile-based equipment wear management hardware in the field.

The world’s largest heavy equipment manufacturer has entered into a strategic alliance with Modustri, the developer of the HDE Product Suite, a line of software and hardware products that integrate ultrasonic inspection hardware with mobile and Web apps.

Modustri’s HDE inspection kit tethers an ultrasonic wear measurement device to a tablet running inspection software. Measurements taken in the field can be shared immediately to mobile and Web apps, providing detailed reporting and the ability to track the lifespan of tracked machines.

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The HDE lineup is the first such integration of ultrasonic and mobile hardware, Modustri says, adding that it cuts machine inspection times in half. Plus, it can be used in industries outside construction and heavy equipment management, including transportation and infrastructure management.

Caterpillar says its work with Modustri will focus on the development of parts wear measurement solutions for Cat customers.

“Our parts monitoring and management tool has been a leader in the equipment management industry for 75 years, but we’re always looking for ways to step up our game,” said Doug Hoerr, Cat vice president of Reman, Components and Work Tools, in a statement.

The primary upgrade to Cat’s current wear monitoring tools will be in the mobility of the hardware and access to instant readings while in the field. Cat says the technology, “could save customers hundreds of hours and millions of dollars by proactively helping Cat dealers and customers better measure wear rates and manage wear parts replacements—including those from other suppliers.”

Modustri founder and CEO Brian Steketee said the partnership will “help dealers interact with customers, build trust and plan ahead for maintenance and parts replacements.”

Proactive fleet management decisions has been the defining theme so far in 2015 for Caterpillar, which has focused much of its announcements and energy on supplying customers with more data.

In May the company announced an investment in and partnership with Yard Club, a peer-t0-peer equipment rental service that allows contractors to log in and rent idle heavy equipment from one another.

That move was preceded by the company establishing its new Analytics & Innovation division in April. The new division is tasked with working to create a “connected analytics ecosystem,” and managing the company’s relationships with third-party providers.

And in March Cat announced a minority investment and partnership with Uptake, an analytics firm the company will work with to develop predictive diagnostics technology for both Cat-branded and non-Cat-branded products over the next few years.