Technology Inside the Cab Helps Operators Boost Productivity

Dani Watson | Construction Marketing Consultant

In the construction industry, time is priceless. Whether your crew is working to meet a demanding timeline or just trying to get home at a reasonable hour, some machines offer technologies to boost productivity. I spoke with our product team to learn more about utilizing built-in technology for loaders and small dozers, two commonly used machine families. Follow the tips below to get the job done quickly, correctly and most importantly — safely.

Programmable Features Increase Loader Efficiency

Customization is key when it comes to productivity. No two jobs are alike and operator preferences vary as well. Gone are the days when a technician and service truck were needed to make changes to basic machine operation. Now, you can make real-time adjustments from inside the cab with the touch of a button. Here are just a few features to look for to take your loader to new levels of productivity:

  • A power management system will keep your loader working at peak efficiency by monitoring both operator input and power availability. You can choose a power mode to reach maximum fuel efficiency or boost the engine when more power is required.
  • Powertrain operation modes can be selected to customize machine performance and responsiveness. The operator can select modes that are optimized for load and carry type applications, aggressive digging and truck loading, or even for work on snow or other low traction areas.
  • Load-sensing electrohydraulic controls will sense work demands and adjust flow and pressure to match the operator’s request.
  • In-cab programmable kick outs for response rates tailored to each application will simplify repetitive tasks. Put the linkage in the desired position and set the lift, tilt and lower kick outs. If you want the bucket to return exactly two inches above ground level each time, it should be easy to program that into the system. Dig cycles become a matter of a few, simple joystick moves.
  • Electronic snubbing tells the machine where the linkage is at all times through high-precision sensors, cushioning the end of movement of the lift arms and the bucket. By slowing the motion just before the arms reach their stop, wear-and-tear on both the machine and the operator is reduced.

Loader cab Loader cab

Small Dozers Offer System Controls to Ensure Accuracy

For grading applications like parking lots and road surfaces, the slightest slope deviation can lead to flooding and other major problems. Technology for small dozers can help to improve accuracy for experienced operators and even when a new operator is in the cab. Look for machines that offer these system controls to achieve efficient precision:

  • Automatic traction control improves fuel economy and reduces track slippage. When you’re moving dirt and hit a soft section, traction control kicks in to manage the power to the tracks. This allows the dozer’s cleats to dig down and regain stability without raising the blade and losing your grade.
  • To make grading easy for new operators, the most efficient laser or GPS grade control features can be built right into the machine. This technology monitors the slope of the blade and the machine will automatically make adjustments so the operator doesn’t have to.
  • An industry-first technology is now available for blade control. This new feature supplements operator input, smoothing out your movements and reducing fatigue. The system can be set to monitor main fall and cross slope angles or to grade slopes set by the operator. This is all done without the added expense of GPS or laser receivers and ground stations.
  • Some new models also feature an adjustable blade pitch, so you can choose the level of aggressiveness needed for blade loading. While dozing, the operator can hydraulically adjust the blade pitch for maximum penetration or load carrying.

Small Dozer cab Small Dozer cab

On The Level: Construction

On The Level: Construction

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Dani Watson

Dani Watson

Construction Marketing Consultant

Certified in 6 Sigma Black Belt and Change Management, Dani Watson not only helps manage projects efficiently within Caterpillar, but is an expert communications strategist for Caterpillar’s marketing communications needs.