Komatsu's KOMTRAX theft-prevention and recovery system has once again stymied criminals and proven a critical factor in the quick recovery of a stolen excavator.
The would-be-thieves demonstrated new levels of boldness in a recent attempt to steal an eight-tonne Komatsu PC88MR-8 excavator from a western Sydney construction company.
When Plant and Operations Manager Michael Bellino and his crew finished work at a Seven Hills building site on a Friday afternoon in late July, they secured the machine and the site for the weekend before cleaning up and heading home.
Evidently watching the machine over the weekend, the thieves seized their moment on a quiet Sunday night, breaking in and loading the excavator onto the back of a truck.
When Mr Bellino arrived on Monday morning, something was clearly amiss.
"You definitely notice when a big yellow excavator is missing from a building site. I had trouble believing it was gone when I first turned up," Mr Bellino said.
"We use the excavator every day; it is essential to our daily operations. Every moment that the equipment is not working it is costing us money."
Mr Bellino immediately phoned the police and his Komatsu account manager Matt Watton, who referred the case to the KOMTRAX team.
KOMTRAX monitors equipment day and night, with remote monitoring, geofencing and travel alarms designed to detect theft and expedite recovery for Komatsu customers.
After reviewing the logs from recent communications with the excavator's monitoring system, the KOMTRAX team found a 7:30pm scan had shown the excavator to be exactly where it was supposed to be.
The next scan, at 8:20pm, showed the machine in a different location, around half an hour's drive away.
Later that day the excavator was recovered, dusted for finger prints by the police and returned to its owners.
In their short time with the machine, the criminals had filed off the serial numbers. Mr Bellino believes their intention was to quickly resell the excavator, either domestically or packed into a container and shipped to an overseas buyer.
"It's the first time something like this has ever happened to me, but you never know when it could happen again," said Mr Bellino.
With recovery on non-tracking equipped utility equipment thefts very low, and the loss of a machine a major setback for operators, KOMTRAX ensures that no machine goes unaccounted for.
"I was worried as we depend on our machines, but we got the excavator back the same day and we got back to work in the end we didn't lose more than a few hours' time. I rate KOMTRAX 100 per cent," said Mr Bellino.
"The confidence of knowing we will never be down a machine gives me the peace of mind that helps us to grow our business."