There are a variety of different tracker types that are used to track an equipment fleet and when it comes to installation, the tracker’s placement can help with the performance and longevity of the tracker.
Let’s look at the most common tracker types used by construction companies and their optimal placements.
1. GPS Tracker
When it comes to installation, there are a few general requirements common amongst all GPS tracker types (battery, plugin and solar) to consider before looking at type specific requirements. First, all types need a location where the top surface of the tracker will have an unobstructed view of the sky. This means that they can be mounted horizontally (ideal for most manufacturers) or vertically, but the key, in either mounting position, is a clear view of the sky. Second, the tracker should be in a location that is unlikely to be damaged or knocked off during normal operation. Lastly, it is imperative that the location is not backed by any machine component that the mounting screws could damage, such as coolant lines, radiators, electrical wiring, fluid tanks, or moving components. In some cases, a magnet mount can also be used if the environmental conditions allow.
a. GPS Battery
Once you factor in the general requirements above, you need to consider a few more with a GPS Battery tracker. First, while you can install this tracker inside the operator cab of equipment (though this method is not generally advised), do not install it under the dash or in any location where there is poor sky visibility. Secondly, if you must enclose the tracker, use a nonmetallic housing and ensure that the tracker has good sky visibility. If you place the tracker inside a metal cabinet or case, or on the underside of the equipment, your GPS signal will be degraded, severely impacting the accuracy of the GPS and risking failure all together.
b. GPS Plugin
This tracker, like the GPS battery, also can be installed inside the operator cab of equipment (also not advisable) but should not be installed under the dash or in any location with poor sky visibility. Also like the GPS Battery, if you must enclose the tracker, use a nonmetallic housing and ensure that the tracker has good sky visibility. Placing the tracker inside a metal cabinet or case, or on the underside of the equipment, can degrade your GPS signal, severely impacting the accuracy of the GPS and risking failure all together.
As the name implies, this tracker connects to the assets electrical system. So, you must be able to route the cables from the tracker to the battery, a good solid ground connection so you know when they are running or not running, and a switched ignition source. The wiring should be run safely with no wire pinching, interference of moving parts, unsecured cable runs, or swinging or dangling cables. Following these guidelines will ensure the best data collection and lifespan for the tracker.
c. GPS Solar
Unlike the battery and plugin versions, this tracker cannot be placed inside of the equipment, as its battery is charged from the sun. To keep this tracker performing optimally, you will need to place it on the outside of the asset so that it can properly recharge.
2. BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) Beacon
BLE device should be mounted on the exterior of an asset (not behind or inside a metal casing of an asset) to ensure best results. The device should be mounted so it does not obstruct operation of the equipment or its safety guards. Keeping the BLE away from excessive heat and impacts will ensure reliable results from this tracker type.
3. QR Codes
QR Codes Like the BLE, QR has similar requirements for placement. The There are a few materials which QR codes can be printed on including aluminum tags and stickers. Regardless of the material, you will want to make sure to take these pointers into account before installing. First, select a location that has a flat surface with minimal curve. Make sure that when you select the flattest location, it is one that collects the least amount of dust, dirt, grease, or oil during routine use, and is protected from impacts, abrasion, and excessive heat. Second, make sure the location will allow someone to scan it with a smart device from a safe, easily accessible position. Third, try to place the label/tag in the same location on all equipment so your crews in the field can easily find the label/tag. One suggestion is to mount the QR tag or label in the same location as the manufacturer’s information tag/serial number.
As you have read, there is a lot to consider when installing a tracker. Poor location can impact the tracker’s performance and lifespan. If you want to get the most out of your trackers and ensure reliable data, we encourage you to follow these guidelines.