New technologies improve heavy equipment operator performance


Cat Payload makes every operator better


Bob Jacquier manages a 350-acre gravel pit operation for Laurelbrook Natural Resources in Connecticut. Although his family bought the site just two years ago, its previous owners had produced sand and gravel there for more than 90 years. As ownership changed hands, the time was right to invest in equipment and technology for the future. The Jacquiers, who were already using Cat® products in their family-owned dairy business, added a new Cat 972M to the fleet and equipped it with Cat Payload, a Cat Connect Technology.

“The 972M is our primary re-handling machine,” Bob explains. “We use it to load sand and gravel into our customers’ trucks—somewhere between 60 and 75 trucks a day.”

The faster those trucks can be loaded, the better, says Jacquier, because the combination of short wait times and personal service helps differentiate Laurelbrook from its competitors and protect the company’s margins.

Cat® Payload improves equipment operator performance

John O’Connor operates the 972M for Laurelbrook and says its technology is a big time-saver. His favorite? Cat Payload, an onboard system that tracks load weight in real time and displays it on a screen in the cab.

“It lets me load the truck precisely the first time, without dump-offs or overloads, so it saves time and money.”

“You get the exact weight every time,” adds Dalton Jacquier, another Laurelbrook operator. “Just fill the customer’s truck and send it on its way.”

Bob Jacquier sums it up like this: “Our operators aren’t guessing anymore. We know our customers are leaving here at the most efficient capacities.”

More technology savings

The Laurelbrook team points to other technologies on the 972M that improve equipment operator performance.

“I like the return-to-dig feature,” says O’Connor. “It lets me accomplish my job at a faster pace and get the trucks in and out quicker. The ride control system makes my job easier too. I don’t get bounced around all day long like I did in the previous machine. At the end of the day, I’m as fresh as when I arrived at 7 am.”


“You get the exact weight every time. Just fill the customer’s truck and send it on its way.”


Dalton Jacquier says he appreciates the joystick technology on the 972M as he’s no longer “hunched up over a steering wheel all day.” He also likes the automated dump height and bucket leveling feature and says the lock-up clutch torque converter lets him “scoot around the pit and fly up hills like no other loader would.”

Cat Link improves efficiency too

To further improve equipment operator performance, Laurelbrook managers use telematics data captured by Cat Product Link. They can view and analyze the information anytime, anywhere, from any device with the VisionLink® app.

“It’s an excellent tool,” says Bob Jacquier. “When you can track idle time and fuel burn, you have more knowledge about how a machine is being operated. If there are too many idle hours or some kind of performance issue, you can have a conversation with the operator and start turning things around.”

Sometimes the data helps uncover external factors that affect operator performance, he adds. “You see a bottleneck, you try to find out why. In our case, we realized if we re-located the stockpiles, the operators could work faster and use less fuel.”

Since the company starting using Cat Link technologies, Bob Jacquier says idle time has decreased significantly and fuel efficiency has improved by 23 percent.

“Fuel is one of our biggest expenses, so that kind of improvement shows up on the bottom line.”

“It’s not one large thing”

Laurelbrook Natural Resources has nearly doubled sales since buying the business in 2015. Bob Jacquier believes many factors contribute to the company’s success.

“It’s not one large thing. It’s a lot of things taken together—higher-performing operators, better fuel efficiency, the ability to get around the site faster and safer, the ability to load trucks right the first time. It all adds up and it’s all made possible with better technology.”

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