Caterpillar launches data division to help reduce machine downtime

Analytics & Innovation arm to use machine data to predict breakdowns and improve efficiency

PHOTO: Caterpillar wants to use data from machines worldwide to analyse performance and predict breakdowns. Credit: Caterpillar

Caterpillar has launched a new division, Analytics & Innovation (AI), which will work on using machine data to improve productivity by optimising performance and preventing unplanned downtime.

It follows the company’s minority investment in the Chicago, Illinois-based start-up company Uptake. In March, the two companies announced an agreement to build an end-to-end platform for predictive diagnostics, which will be available for both Cat and non-Cat branded products.

Caterpillar’s new AI division will co-locate key employees with the Uptake team in Chicago to accelerate the work.

According to Rob Charter, Caterpillar group president with responsibility for the Customer & Dealer Support (C&DS) division, the work is to create a platform that takes massive amounts of data, combines it with data science to understand patterns, and quickly deploy information to save customers money and optimise performance.

“We know that technology and information are the drivers in almost every industry including ours; we have to continue pushing our company to be innovative – to imagine, create, and embrace the new and the different, and to be disruptive in our own way,” said Charter.

“A huge opportunity for competitive advantage lies in the analytics and innovation space, and we have a unique opportunity to connect data from the broadest product line that cuts across multiple industries. We can transform the mountains of incoming data – from a single machine or engine, an entire job site, the supply chain, a shipping location and much more – into valuable information for our customers and suppliers more efficiently and effectively than anyone else.”

Caterpillar is also placing resources in Silicon Valley and has seeded money in a venture-capital fund with the goal of investing in emerging technologies that could further enhance Caterpillar’s product and service development, said Charter.

“All of these activities under the umbrella of the AI division will complement the innovative work that thousands of Caterpillar employees are already doing around the world— a trait that has been critical to Caterpillar’s success since the formation of the company 90 years ago.”

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