Seeing the Difference Technology Makes

“We Would Not Be Able to Do What We Do Without It”

 

 

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Bulldozer

Adam Roy grew up in the site development industry. The jobsites he saw then are very different from those he sees today.  

“Ten years ago, this jobsite would have looked completely different,” says Roy, owner of T.W. Roy Excavation Inc., the Pleasant Plain, Ohio, business his parents started and still help run. “We would have had a lot more people on the ground. We would have had surveyors and grade checkers.” 

The jobsites also would have been crowded with equipment, including large machines for bulk earthwork and smaller models for fine grading. The reason there are fewer workers and machines—and the reduced costs that go with them—is technology. 

Roy remains an expert operator. He still takes dozers, excavators and scrapers for test rides. As both an owner and an operator, Roy is a staunch supporter of technology. 

“Technology is critical to what we do today,” he says. “We would not be able to do what we do without it.” Next Generation Machine Equals Next Level Performance 

“The biggest difference going from the previous generation of equipment to the next gen is just how well the machines have been integrated with the grade control and the new technology,” Roy says. “On the next gen dozers, the balance and the productivity and stability of the grade control is really impressive.” 

T.W. Roy operates Cat® D5 and D6 XE Dozers, Cat® 345D L Excavators, and 730 Articulated Haul Trucks, among other equipment. His Cat dealer has also installed advanced grade control technology onto Cat 627K Scrapers, making those machines highly advanced. 

Here are some specific ways the next generation machines and advanced Cat technology have benefitted T.W. Roy. 

 

 

Roy says productivity is reaching levels he thought unattainable. The technology has “enabled us to do a lot more work with a lot fewer people.”

– Roy, Owner of T.W. Roy Excavation Inc.

 

 

 

 

Productivity Gains 

Roy says productivity is reaching levels he thought unattainable. The technology has “enabled us to do a lot more work with a lot fewer people.” 

That means reduced costs in terms of grading and surveying and the elimination of some machines. 

Historically, productivity gains have been hard to quantify. But Roy says some of the technology helps him assess the benefits.  

“For instance, the Production Management function on the new next gen machines—we have it on our articulated haul trucks and our scrapers—helps us fine-tune productivity numbers daily. We can balance that against our load count.” 

The Production Management function enables Roy to spot issues immediately, so adjustments can be made quickly. 

Cat Grade with 3D on Next Generation Cat Excavators being used by Roy’s utility crews has led to productivity gains of 10-15%. “That’s just from digging the trench, where the operator can now use the excavator for alignment and grade instead of going off the grade stakes, which was previously done.” 

 

Helping Less Experienced Operators Succeed 
Technology has been a big part of solving the experience gap with operators, a challenge faced by virtually all contractors today. “We’re able to get them up to speed sooner using the grade control technology,” Roy says. 

 

Safety 
The next generation machines have unrivaled safety. 

“With the next gen equipment, we really appreciate a lot of the safety implementations Caterpillar has made,” Roy says. “For instance, with the egress of the machines, with the handle placement in relation to the steps and ladders.” 

Camera feeds also enhance safety. “The rearview cameras are now built into the large display,” Roy says. A 10-inch display is positioned for easy monitoring without interfering with the operator’s field of vision.  

 

Greater Comfort 
The comfort of the cab is evident immediately, Roy says. “The seats and the operator environment have been greatly improved, along with the HVAC system,” he says. “The seats have more adjustability and the capability to be put in a position that works for operators of every shape and size.” 

The next generation machines are much quieter, too, he says. 

 

Reduced Fuel Usage 
Fuel efficiency has increased with the next generation machines and the automation they bring. 

“We’ve seen improvements in the 10-15% range on the next gen excavators,” Roy says. Dozers also have shown fuel savings–especially in lighter applications. 

 

Ready to Work 
Roy appreciates that the technology is factory integrated, calibrated and ready to work when it arrives at the jobsite. “We bring a new piece of equipment to the jobsite, we load the project file, and that machine is already calibrated, and we put it to work,” he says. 

 

Lower Maintenance Costs 
The maintenance points on next generation machines, particularly filters, are easier to access. Service intervals are extended. “It helps reduce overall operating costs and also increases productivity because there’s less downtime.” 

 

A Quicker ROI 
All these benefits create productivity, and profitability, for T.W. Roy. “Return on investment can be gained quicker just through productivity and higher utilization,” Roy says. 

 

Getting Started 
“I would advise a smaller business owner that’s in this type of work to start investing in the technology now,” Roy says. “You don’t have to convert everything instantly, but I would definitely start investing because it’s the way the industry is going.” 

He suggests starting with some grade control to assess what the technology can do for the business. “It’s one of those things where it’s hard to realize the gain until you actually implement some of it,” he says. 

Plenty of help is available for those who want to access technology.  

“Caterpillar dealers will help you,” Roy says. “They’ll help train your people and understand how to use this technology. Once you have it, it will just make your operation so much more efficient.” 

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Seeing the Difference Technology Makes