Idle Management for Off-Road Machines

Idle Reduction Technology

Idle Management for Off-Road Machines

When operators are struggling with downtime caused by starting problems, the challenges of battery powered engine starting is a century-old issue that continually rears its ugly head. In many cases, batteries prove to be a less-than-dependable source of power for starting diesel engines.
Fortunately, utilizing proven Therma-Start Idle Management technology provides a cost effective upgrade that ensures reliable starting in the face of:

  • Ever increasing accessory loads that pull batteries down.
  • Subfreezing overnight temperatures that weaken cranking power.
  • Excessive summer heat compromising battery life.

This white paper explores the advantages of Therma-Start engine start/stop technology to provide automated Idle Management for off-road heavy equipment.

Challenges with Batteries in Engine Starting

There are four primary challenges associated with batteries in engine starting:

  1. Batteries have many more loads placed on them.
  2. Extreme cold weakens batteries cranking power.
  3. Temperatures above 100°F shorten battery life.
  4. Operators tend to idle their machines for long periods of time to avoid risk of a no-start.

Batteries Have Increasing Loads Placed on Them

Today’s diesel machines demand more energy from batteries than ever before. Electrical loads from auxiliary systems and equipment often draw down batteries during the night. GPS and Telematics systems are now commonplace and typically draw current 24 hours a day, even when the ignition is switched off. Furthermore a typical diesel powered machine includes anywhere from 2 to 5 or more onboard computers that continually draw energy from the batteries.

Extreme Cold Weakens Batteries

A battery performs best at approximately 72°F. At this temperature, it can deliver optimum cranking power. When the battery is exposed to colder temperatures, the operator will experience slower cranking cycles for the duration of the cold temperature period. Cold cranking amps (CCA), measured at 0°F, gets progressively weaker at lower temperatures. A battery rated at 1,000 CCA can only produce around 350 cranking amps at minus 40°F; a 65% loss of starting power.

In addition to reduced battery performance, subfreezing temperatures also cause engine oil to thicken. As a result, the engine requires more power to crank over. A vicious circle ensues: The colder it gets, the weaker the batteries get, while at the same time the engine needs more power to start. An expensive charge-up call from a service truck is the common outcome which can lead to several negative operational implications including:

  • Front-end downtime and operator frustration
  • Service truck expense – both time and cost
  • Lost time in the deployment schedule

Engine start technology that is designed to overcome subfreezing temperatures can eliminate these costly extra precautions and significantly improve uptime during the cold winter months.

Temperatures Above 100°F Shorten Battery Life

Cold temperature temporarily weakens battery performance, but heat is detrimental and permanently shortens battery life. In hot climates batteries typically fail with little or no warning. While warmer temperatures help to increase battery capacity, making it easier to turn over the engine, they also cause an increase in the rate at which the battery deteriorates. When the temperature is warmer, the current conducting grids corrode faster, reducing the life of your battery.

A battery operating in the humid heat of Florida will have a significantly shorter expected life than a battery operating in the cooler temperatures of Washington State. Fleets that operate in hot climates generally experience higher battery failure rates, resulting in service truck boosts and higher battery replacement costs.

Operators frequently idle their vehicles for long periods of time to avoid the risk of a no-start.

Idling is a deeply entrenched problem that the majority of fleet managers are challenged with. The problem stems from unreliable starting with batteries, particularly in extreme weather conditions.

Before shutting off a diesel engine, every operator is forced to consider the question: “Will it start when we need it next?” If unsure of the answer, the driver will leave the engine idling instead of shutting it off and risking an expensive jump-start. The result is wasted fuel, increased engine wear and non-compliance with anti-idle initiatives.

Fortunately, new automated starting management technology has emerged that enables diesel machines to experience very extensive reductions in idle time, typically ranging from 78 – 93%.

The Solution: “Therma-Start Idle Management Technology”

To overcome the multiple issues with battery-based starting for diesel powered equipment, fleet managers are turning to Therma-Start automated engine start/stop technology.

Idle Management System - ThermaStart by Thermex Engineered Systems

Important Benefits of Idle Management

Therma-Start engine start/stop technology provides fleets with the following financial and operational advantages:

  • Keeps batteries resilient and fully charged in extreme (hot or cold) temperatures.
  • Ensures operators can reliably shut off the engine for lengthy periods without worrying about being able to restart the engine, avoiding excessive fuel consumption and unnecessary engine wear due to idling.
  • Enables operators to confidently shut off and re-start the engine as many times as desired throughout the day without risk of the alternator not sufficiently charging the batteries during short duration start-ups.

Idle Management – Easy to Install

Therma-Start is a retrofit engine start module that easily upgrades any 24V diesel vehicle and does not intrude or invade the OEM engine control system.

How to Get in Touch with Thermex

To greatly reduce operating costs and to improve reliability and uptime with Therma-Start, please contact a Thermex system specialist who can:

  • Assist you with performing a customized ROI payback analysis
  • Arrange an on-site visit and presentation that addresses your fleet’s requirements
  • Work with you to plan a Therma-Start product evaluation program

Call 800-865-1532 or email info@thermex-systems.com today.