Going from a 1950s family-run Hamilton Ontario gas station to building machines capable of hauling 200 imperial tons of steel safely around mills worldwide, the story of Paling Transporter is the stuff that mechanical dreams are made of. The journey from pumping fuel transitioned to heavy truck repair and transporter maintenance before the Paling team decided to - develop their very own prototype (and that first transporter crafted in 1986 is still in use at a steel mill today, for the longevity win).
These days, Paling focuses on making material handling at steel companies as efficient and cost-effective as possible, with transporters that use hydraulic suspension to conveniently do the job of multiple specialized machines. Their transporters have been powered by Cat® engines for over 30 years, and the Paling creators have been working closely with the Ontario-based dealer, Toromont Cat the whole time. “Quite honestly, our equipment is very unique, and the only engine that can stand up to our quality and reliability standards is a Cat engine,” explains Cameron Evans, Paling Transporter General Manager. “Even when we tell our customers about the life that we’re getting out of these Cat engines, oftentimes they have to ask questions about whether or not I’m being honest with them.” And Evans cites a transporter with a C15 engine that reached a staggering 80,000 hours (with very minimal work needed) as an example of his total transparency.
The Paling team also doesn’t hesitate to pick the Toromont team’s brain when a totally unexpected curve ball shows up. When the COVID-19 pandemic put the entire globe on sudden lockdown in March, Paling had been working on an order of transporters bound for a local steel mill for 14 months. They were in the home stretch when they ran into a fan controller issue, shutting the machine down. But time was running out, because all work was about to be shut down due to virus safety restrictions, eliminating the ability for Toromont to safely to go to Paling to diagnose the issue. Paling was on the verge of missing a customer ship date, which would result in very unhappy customers and a whole lot of money tied up in equipment sitting on the floor in limbo.
Enter the magic of telematics. The engines in Paling’s transporters were equipped with Product Link Elite (PLE) 743, a Caterpillar telematics device that talks to the engine ECM over a specific network or two-wire ethernet. The PLE743 uses a 4G cellular radio to communicate to the Caterpillar back office. The PLE743 allows Caterpillar and its dealers to remotely access the engines, diagnose fault codes, and flash engine software. A Caterpillar engineer, who was working from home in Illinois, was able to remotely log into the transporters, sitting on the Paling factory floor in Ontario, to perform a software update that was required for the engine software to work with the machines. Once new engine SW was updated the sale was finalized as the machines made it safely to their new home, before Paling closed production as part of pandemic compliance. And it was all done without the Toromont team needing to risk anyone’s safety by violating social-distancing or shelter-at-home rules.
The future is officially here. “It was spectacular to even be involved in this process with Caterpillar and to see the capabilities that are possible with the telematics,” Evans says. During the pandemic and beyond, the PLE technology allows the Paling team to remotely log into the transporters and see customers’ data in real time, as well as significantly shorten response time—no matter how much physical distance there is between technician and machine. It’s a game-changer on the support front, and the timing couldn’t be better. “That’s going to be the benefit for us in this new normal,” explains Evans. “This allows us to meet our customers’ requirements and potentially even leads to further sales.”
See what other Cat® industrial engine customers have to say about our engines and related products, and the support they receive from the Cat dealer network.