7 Ways Technology Is Changing the Construction Rental Industry

New technology is constantly changing construction equipment's capabilities, helping it become more efficient, safe and productive. You can find construction equipment outfitted with machine learning technology and computerized devices. Technology directly affects and improves equipment's abilities, and it also provides new opportunities for the construction rental industry. With technology, rental companies can offer greater digital communication features to clients, reduce equipment maintenance and better monitor their fleet.

Find out more below about the top advancements affecting construction equipment and the seven ways these new technologies are revolutionizing the construction rental industry.

Top Technological Advancements in Construction Equipment

To get a clear idea of how technology is changing the rental industry, you may first want to know more about some of the biggest technological advancements benefiting construction equipment today. The rise of total computerization, 3D printing, autonomous robots and green technology all deliver new capabilities for construction equipment.  

Here are some of the primary technological advancements in construction equipment:

1. Internet of Things and Predictive Analysis

The Internet of Things (IoT) offers a great deal of value to rental equipment companies because it generates a huge amount of data for them to utilize. IoT refers to a network of objects, like software and sensors, designed to gather and exchange data with other systems and devices over the internet. Many companies have outfitted their construction equipment with software and sensors that exchange data over a network. 

Specifically, rental companies use this data gained by IoT to assist with operations, such as using the technology to gather consumption information and GPS data. They also employ it for predictive analysis to stay on top of their equipment's maintenance and predict when it needs an inspection or repair before breakdowns occur. Predictive analysis helps construction equipment owners save money on costly repairs and increase their equipment's utilization rate since it's less likely a machine breaks down in the field.

2. 3D Printing

3D printing is one of the biggest advancements in the construction industry, with many companies using it to print out tools, machinery parts, materials and pieces of heavy equipment. This kind of printing refers to the process of crafting three-dimensional objects out of digital program files. Construction equipment benefits a great deal from 3D printing, making it easy for manufacturers to craft replacement parts for equipment in need of repair. 

Alongside 3D printing's ability to produce high-quality replacement parts and components, companies can even use 3D printing to create an entire piece of equipment. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory printed out an excavator with three primary 3D parts — the heat exchanger, stick and cab. As 3D printing continues to advance, it's likely more companies will print out construction equipment and parts for faster and more accurate manufacturing.

3. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Big Data

Data is huge to modern-day construction equipment, and many companies have developed several new technologies to gain as much information about their equipment as possible. Contemporary equipment comes outfitted with tons of sensors designed to gather data, later using what's collected for consumption information and GPS localizers. These sensors and the data they monitor can be configured to send out service alerts when a part breaks down.

Since these sensors gather so much information, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) can sort through it to discover new relationships within the data. Savvy companies use these results to gain insights about their equipment's use and company operations to serve their clients better and become more efficient. As companies continue to train computers to think and learn like human beings via machine learning, AI will become more efficient at analyzing data on its own. It won't need much human interaction, helping rental companies become even more efficient. 

Alongside gathering data, rental equipment companies can also use AI to develop autonomously operating machinery. As AI continues to learn about efficiently operating a vehicle and takes on more complex tasks, rental companies can offer autonomous equipment with greater compatibilities. Eventually, fully autonomous equipment could reduce the need for skilled operators, with rental companies no longer needing to connect clients to trained operators whenever they rent equipment.

4. Robotic Equipment

Robotic technology is likely to continue playing a larger role in the construction industry. Drones are some of the biggest examples of this, as they can be remote controlled and flown over project sites to gather information. Companies regularly use them to conduct aerial surveys, approve construction phases and inspect work sites in dangerous locations. These drones help companies learn where it's safe to use their heavy machinery and give operators more information about a work site.

You can also find more autonomous robotic equipment designed to work without the need for an operator. These autonomous pieces of heavy-equipment excel at handling repetitive tasks and come with advanced technology designed to adjust to various environments. Robotic excavators, for instance, feature compactors designed to automatically adapt to specific site conditions, GPS navigation and remote monitoring systems. Teams can use autonomous robotic equipment to devote staff to more complex tasks, leaving repetitive, time-consuming jobs to automated equipment.

5. Green Technology

Going green is a significant priority for construction companies and manufacturers across the industry. Due to this priority, the top equipment manufacturers have started crafting more of their equipment with green design and manufacturing standards. A primary objective of green technology is to reduce carbon emissions from equipment. As consumer pressure and environmental regulations continue to rise, you can expect to see more green-friendly equipment become standard across the construction industry.

6. Total Computerization

One of the biggest advancements in the rental equipment industry is the rise of computers in every aspect of a construction project. Companies can use computers to assist in designing a project, keeping track of payroll and communicating with buyers. But computers also help with construction equipment. Many manufacturers include microchips in their machinery to assist with monitoring systems and controls. This greater computerization allows operators and companies to gain more data and exert more control over their equipment.

7. Seamless Digital Communication

The ability to communicate instantly is another significant development in the rental equipment industry. Almost every worker these days is outfitted with a smartphone, compatible with customizable apps linked to their equipment and machinery. Smartphones allow users to access cloud-based and web services or resources from their phones, resulting in greater efficiency over time. They also help equipment operators better coordinate while out on a work site. 

Computerized equipment can automatically send information to managers and supervisors, providing them with greater data about the equipment's use. Operators with specialized apps on their phones can also share data with supervisors while using construction equipment, helping everyone stay on the same page. Since much of this data and information can be sent over the cloud, teams can easily stay on top of their machines' usage, sending relevant instructions or advice to operators. 

Top 7 Ways Technology Is Changing the Construction Rental Industry

Now that you're aware of the latest advancements impacting construction equipment, you can understand how technology in rental equipment is changing the construction rental industry. As technology has evolved, it's helped rental companies and renters improve their operations, benefit from the cloud, access analytics and increase mobility. Additionally, the latest technology has created greater demand for cost-effective rental options, providing companies with the ability to use IoT and enhance their logistics.

Learn more about some of the top examples of how technological advancements in construction equipment are impacting the construction rental industry:

1. Improved Operations

Rental companies now have the opportunity to improve their operations by using technology. Here is how these companies can enhance their operations with recent advancements:

  • Gain more information about assets: Modern technology gives rental companies the ability to receive an overview of all their assets. Cloud services and apps can deliver information about a company's fleet, helping them better plan for the future. For example, a company can use a cloud service to check how many pieces of rental equipment they have available. They can then quickly pass on information about their equipment's availability to potential clients.
  • Improve the spare parts inventory process: The amount of data modern technology provides to rental companies helps them optimize their inventory. Companies use the results to analyze their most commonly needed consumables and spare parts, gaining actionable information. As a result, a rental company will be more likely to stop carrying an excess inventory of parts they rarely use. They can also be better prepared to have a steady supply of the most needed parts on hand.
  • Be more proactive with maintenance: With sensors on construction equipment and other monitoring technologies, rental companies can keep better track of their equipment's condition. When a sensor picks up an issue, a team can quickly receive an alert and take action before additional damage occurs. Apps and other pieces of software can also keep track of recommended maintenance intervals for equipment, sending reminders to staff about conducting preventative care at appropriate times.

2. Increased Renter Demand for Cost-Effective Options

Companies want to use construction equipment outfitted with the newest technology. To buy equipment outright would impose higher costs than renting. Rental companies then see increased demand for high-tech construction equipment. Renters can access new technology without having to invest a great deal of money through down payments or committing to long-term contracts and payment plans. As prices for new equipment rise, you can expect to see more construction companies turning to rental equipment outfitted with the latest technology.

3. Ability to Benefit From the Cloud

The cloud is one of the most impactful pieces of technology in almost any industry. In the construction rental industry specifically, it helps companies keep up with the latest software solutions for their devices and machinery. Additionally, cloud-based programs are very convenient to use, making fleet and staff management easier for renters and rental companies. 

Here are some of the benefits the cloud provides to the construction rental industry:

  • Easy installation: Cloud-based technology is easy to install on your devices and compatible pieces of equipment. In the past, companies had to go through time-consuming implementation processes to add new technology, requiring on-hand technicians and specialized resources. Unlike older technological installations, the cloud lets companies easily add apps and programs to an IT system and integrate them into rental equipment.
  • Convenient operation: Once installed, cloud-based programs and solutions provide users with an exceptionally convenient way to conduct several tasks. Rental companies can better share information or protocols with their clients and staff, securely transmit data and easily manage their digital files. Overall, rental companies can upgrade their customer service by relying on cloud-based solutions, delivering equipment availability information and keeping their clients informed in a convenient manner.
  • Easy updates: Alongside cloud-based software's easy installation and convenient operation, it's also simple to update. More traditional on-premise systems can struggle with updates, tending to have more downtime while updating. Rental companies are then unable to provide key information to their clients while the system's down. Since data and new files can be transmitted via the cloud, a company can quickly install an update to their system without lengthy downtime.

4. Harnessing the Value of IoT

IoT continues to change the rental industry by allowing companies to track their assets' usage to ensure clients aren't overusing or misusing them. By keeping track of their equipment's usage through advanced sensors and devices, companies can keep their equipment in better condition. Rental companies also have improved knowledge about their equipment's location, as they can easily track equipment outfitted with IoT. This greater locational information helps rental companies better manage the operations and use of their rented equipment.

Along with helping rental companies better track and locate their equipment, IoT assists companies as they perform preventive and predictive maintenance. Since IoT can measure various factors relating to your asset's health, you can use the data gained from these measurements to help with maintenance. Essentially, IoT can better predict when a piece of equipment needs preventive care to keep it in its best condition.

5. Better Logistics 

Another primary way technology is changing the construction rental industry is through enhancing a company's logistics, especially for facilitating equipment delivery and planning. GPS and planning technology have benefited both clients and rental companies, making it easier to schedule deliveries, map out the best routes and develop complex arrangements for key staff members to follow. Rental companies can conduct vital logistical tasks with ease, and clients can benefit from more accurate deliveries and greater customer service. Those improved logistics can happen because of:

  • Better delivery routes: Rental companies often deliver equipment to their clients' work sites. With GPS technology and other pieces of software, a company can determine the fastest and safest way to get a piece of equipment from their facility to a client's work site. Since heavy equipment has unique travel requirements, finding the best route possible is crucial. Logistics technology helps a company get their equipment to a client fast while also protecting the driver and equipment from poor routes. 
  • More accurate delivery schedules: A rental company often has to facilitate multiple deliveries and react to clients' diverse needs. Planning technology can assist a company as they attempt to provide their clients with deliveries at times most convenient to them. With certain kinds of software, a manager can develop a plan that considers client needs, helping them find a delivery schedule and route that gets their equipment to everyone on time. 
  • Better planning for operators and drivers: Companies requiring rental equipment for their projects often need to hire an operator who knows how to use the machinery. A rental company will often have operators on staff who can handle the machinery for a client and have drivers available to deliver the machinery to a client. Communication technologies and planning software help a rental company better coordinate with their client and formulate complex arrangements their staff can easily follow.

6. Access to Analytics

Analytics play a huge role in the construction rental industry. Companies can now use data collected from key assets to help anticipate problems, develop steps to solve them and take action before potential concerns become real ones. Analytics also give companies insights into how they can digitally transform their business to meet their clients' needs. 

Additionally, many rental companies utilize analytics to gain insights into their business systems and the competition. By finding weak points in their system with analytics, rental companies can take action and better streamline their operations. They can also employ analytics to gain information about their competition and develop best practices to stay ahead of them.

7. More Mobility

The advances in mobile devices and solutions are benefiting the construction rental industry significantly. A mobile solution allows operators and staff to input data on a device, like a smartphone or a tablet, at a job site and transmit the data to authorized team members. Many rental companies offer apps and programs to improve their clients' experiences while they use rental equipment.

Some considerable advantages technological mobility provides to the construction rental industry include:

  • Instant updates and entries: Immediate access to information helps companies stay on top of their projects and make adjustments to promote efficiency. Mobile solutions and devices let operators instantly send updates and entries over the internet to other team members. With an immediate flow of information, rental companies can stay on top of their clients' needs, quickly getting replacement parts or new equipment to them if their project requirements change.
  • Greater device compatibility: Construction companies and teams use various mobile devices while out on the job. As a result, rental companies tend to utilize mobile solutions with device-agnostic features, allowing any team member, no matter their type or brand of device, to access a solution. By offering device-agnostic mobile solutions, construction rental companies can reach more clients and allow anyone to use their solutions without additional investment in compatible devices.
  • Improved security: When mobile devices and applications first entered the market, rental companies and their clients were apprehensive about sending their data online, especially from untested smartphones and tablets. As mobile devices evolved, more security features were added to ensure a rental company's data and their client's data were secure. One of the biggest advancements has been role-based security in mobile devices and solutions that only allow authorized users to access information.

Choose The Cat® Rental Store for Your Equipment Needs

At The Cat® Rental Store, we're ready to help you find equipment for your unique needs. Since we know how much new advancements can benefit our equipment and your experience out in the field, we equip our products with the most cutting-edge technologies on the market. We also offer The Cat Rental Store customer portal, accessible via an app or website, helping you find equipment for rent, transfer equipment between work sites and request on-site service. 

Browse our selection of rental equipment today. If you're ready to rent or have any questions, find your local branch or reach out to us for a quick quote.

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