Donaldson previews new line of connected filters

It was only a matter of time before even the filters on your truck became connected. But keeping in mind that fleet managers are at risk of data overload, Donaldson has taken steps to make the information it will present as easy to interpret and act on as possible.

It will use a green/yellow/red color code to notify fleet managers or service technicians about the status of their filtration. First to market as part of the Filter Minder Connect suite will be a “smart” engine oil sensor that will provide oil condition alerts in real-time.

Nate Zambon, director – Filter Minder with Donaldson, walked the truck press through the new connected filter offerings Aug. 17. The oil condition sensor has already been field-tested and is nearing commercialization.

“It helps fleets answer, ‘When should I change my oil?’,” he explained, “in many cases, optimizing drain intervals.”

This will be particularly useful for mixed fleets, or those that have trucks running under a variety of different conditions, Zambon noted. Rather than relying on standard drain intervals, fleets can adapt them to the individual trucks’ needs, based on its application. They should continue to work with their oil supplier and engine OEM when changing oil change intervals, however.

The sensor will also alert fleets to contamination events that may have otherwise gone unnoticed until the next service interval.

(Photo: Donaldson)

“If we’re able to detect that an EGR cooler failed and there’s coolant within the oil, we can potentially avoid a much more costly repair,” said Zambon.

Another feature will be air filtration monitoring, which will notify a fleet when the filter needs replacing based on the actual filter condition rather than a mileage-based PM schedule. This, Zambon said, will help fleets maximize filter life and also avoid negative effects resulting from plugged filters, such as excessive soot accumulation in the DPF.

Filter Minder Connect will also monitor hydraulic fluid condition, in an offering to be released within the next year. This will prevent hydraulic systems from entering bypass mode and running unprotected, wearing components.

Donaldson wants to make all these alerts available to fleets without contributing to data overload, so it’s working to provide them through the transportation management systems (TMS) and telematics the fleets are using today. It already signed on to work with Geotab, to provide the alerts through its telematics platform.

It’s also working with an unnamed cloud-based diagnostics/repair software provider so that technicians can view the alerts without requiring yet another web portal.

“This ecosystem brings all makes and models, everything maintenance-related, onto a single pane of glass,” said Zambon. That platform is currently being piloted by fleets. Filter Minder Connect components include: real-time sensors and batteries designed to last the life of the equipment; a heavy-duty sensor to measure fuel pressure; an oil sensor to measure oil condition; a universal transmitter that wirelessly broadcasts the data; and a receiver that can receive up to 12 sensor inputs. Donaldson sees the connected filter offerings being valuable in mining, agricultural, construction, waste and transportation segments.

James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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