ORLANDO, FL. GE Equipment Services announced the availability of a new solar panel option for its VeriWise Asset Intelligence telematics system along with news about a major new VeriWise account, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., here at the Truckload Carriers Assn. annual convention. The VeriWise system, which enables carriers and shippers to monitor assets in transit, can now be equipped with a solar module that is designed to extend the life of the batteries that power the monitoring devices in untethered or dropped trailers.
According to GE, the solar panel, manufactured by GE Energy, needs only two hours of direct sunlight each day to maintain the charge of the sealed lead acid (SLA) battery that powers new models of the VeriWise system. The optional solar energy module minimizes the need to re-tether the trailer every 120 days to recharge the battery and can extend battery life up to ten years. Rated at 1.25 watts, with a rated voltage of 13.0 volts, the maintenance-free solar charging unit was specifically designed to match the device’s SLA battery.
Veriwise consists of a fully protected, trailer-mounted transceiver, a discreet antenna and a patented power management system. The system uses the Orbcomm low earth orbit satellite network, and is supported by GE's Asset Intelligence business in Barrington, IL.
Wal-Mart signs on
The Trailer Fleet Services division of GE Equipment Services will supply Wal-Mart with VeriWise trailer tracking technology for its fleet of 46,000 over-the-road trailers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Tim Yatsko, Wal-Mart’s senior vp for transportation, noted that adding trailer tracking capability gives Wal-Mart greater supply chain visibility, and that GE’s technology platform appears flexible enough to support the company’s present and future plans for using telematics data. “When our shipments are in transit, it’s important for us to know at all times their whereabouts and the interior condition of the trailer and its contents,” Yatsko says. “GE gives us a technical solution that can be integrated across our supply chain and gives us the foundation of an information-based approach to managing it more efficiently. The solar-charging capability in VeriWise also supports our ten-year trailer maintenance requirement as well as our sustainability efforts.”
The installation will be simplified thanks to its existing trailer lease agreements, he added. Wal-Mart said it will to also use two recent Veriwise enhancements: an interior-mounted cargo sensor and a solar trickle charging system to further extend battery life.
Fanelli Brothers Trucking also selects VeriWise
Pennsylvania-based Fanelli Brothers Trucking Co. has also installed the VeriWise Asset Intelligence system on all of its newer trailers leased or purchased from GE, about half the fleet of 450 trailers in all. The company plans to continue the rollout as it replaces older units.
For more information on GE’s VeriWise, go to www.trailerservices.com/veriwise.
GE Trailer Fleet Services credits its Client Advisory Board (CAB) with helping the company identify issues and target solutions, such as the new solar battery charger, to meet industry needs. “The feedback we’ve received from our CAB members has been candid and enlightening,” said Bob Williams, senior vp of North American sales for Trailer Fleet Services. “It’s become a true partnership. We are able to share issues, monitor them and help target solutions to real and current industry needs.”
CAB met in Orlando over the weekend to discuss pressing short-term issues including fuel costs and the driver shortage plus strategic issues including measuring and matching transportation assets with supply chain flows, globalization, process improvement, and the impact of asset intelligence on productivity. Companies currently represented on the CAB include: Jet Express, Dayton, OH; Jacobson Transportation, Des Moines, IW Schneider National, Inc., Green Bay, WI; National Freight, Vineland, NJ; Pinole Valley Transport, Ontario, CA; Freight Masters Systems, Indianapolis, IN; Landstar, Jacksonville, FL; PepsiCo, Purchase, NY; and Fleetmaster Express, Inc., Roanoke, VA.
Steve Pittman has been named Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of GE’s Trailer Fleet Services business, as well as its Modular Space unit. Both businesses are part of GE Equipment Services. Pittman will report to president & CEO Joe Artuso.
Pittman returns to GE after global product marketing and supply chain marketing management roles with Fortune 500 companies including Eastern Chemical, FedEx and Mobil Chemical. During his previous employment with GE, his marketing work at GE Plastics helped drive record growth in products and revenues. He was an early Six Sigma champion at GE Plastics and helped to establish first generation “Design for Six Sigma” tools.