BEIJING -- Hitachi Construction Machinery will bring an artificial intelligence service designed to predict excavator malfunctions to China, as the Japanese company looks to build on its group's partnership with Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings.
The monitoring service, called ConSite OIL, becomes available in China next month, CEO Kotaro Hirano said Tuesday.
Hirano told reporters here that his company aims to work with Tencent on sharing "a wide range of information not limited to construction machinery."
"We will think of ways to use construction machinery even more efficiently," he said.
Hitachi Construction has offered remote monitoring for excavator engines in China since 2014 that most of the company's clients there already use. ConSite OIL supplements this service with sensors that monitor engine oil and hydraulic fluid in the machines.
"By extending our monitoring to oil, which is the equivalent of blood in the human body, we can now predict malfunctions in more than half of key components," Hirano said.
ConSite OIL is already available in European markets and Japan.
Parent company Hitachi announced a partnership last year with Tencent on using "internet of things" technology -- which links machines into data-sharing networks -- in construction, manufacturing and other sectors.
Hitachi seeks to expand its growth in China. For Tencent, the move forms part of a push beyond consumer-oriented services like social media and digital payments into industrial services.
The Chinese market for excavators soared 40% in 2018, local media report, as the government raised infrastructure spending to lift the economy. Hirano predicted the market will shrink slightly in 2019, citing low utilization rates of construction machinery in the country and the U.S.-China trade war.
Chinese manufacturer Sany Heavy Industry was the country's top player in excavators last year with a 23% share, followed by U.S.-based Caterpillar and China's state-owned XCMG.