So, after a long shift at work it’s finally time to go home. You have been looking forward to a nice meal, maybe a drink and some relaxing time at home, some well-deserved treats after a long and productive day at work. Familiar thoughts for the majority of us, but there is one question that nearly always goes un-answered. Was it really a productive day? For sure we spent the hours and the effort, but did we really perform to the efficiency levels we need or that are expected from us. Generally speaking our experience or our gut feeling will tell us if the day was better or worse than others, but those are subjective measures and what we really need is something objective, definitive that will indicate to us how we are doing or at least put a stake in the ground so we can now compare work days.
In today’s ever more competitive world, the ability to be more efficient than competitors will give any company a huge advantage. So how do I understand how efficient I am? Well the first question starts with how much am I producing? As soon as I can determine what my productivity level is, then follow up questions then start to flow naturally. Can I complete the project on time? Is my Productivity improving or getting worse? Am I ramping up (or down) fast enough? Finally we have numbers (metrics), for owners, project managers, production managers to get their teeth into and see where their performance lies. We would finally determine if we really do deserve that nice relaxing rest at the end of the day.
Measuring productivity is not always easy, bur for sure it can provide us with some useful information to see how we can make improvements. At job sites and quarries around the world there are thousands upon thousands of work methods, each one a little different, each process, operation, production cycle is different and ultimately it will be the job of the user to interpret and apply those conclusions to their job site but the initial starting point is being able to measure some type of productivity value.
The Caterpillar Production Measurement (CPM), allows Cat customers to do just that, measure their productivity, not only this, but Cat is relaying that information back to the users in a nice digestible format to enable those who take those metrics and use them as part of their decision making process to apply changes and track that evolution. A powerful tool to increase efficiency in an industry (Construction/Earth moving) that is very conservative and help be a sure differentiator to those able to successfully apply this technology.
Cat® CPM is a dynamic payload measurement system, it is able to accurately measure the payload of the machine, without interrupting the loading cycle to ensure maximum productivity. It then relays that information graphically and/or via audio alarm to the operator(s), so that they can take immediate action to ensure the machines are working at optimum levels. If we avoid overloading scenarios we are able to increase efficiency values, it may seem counter-productive to not load the truck right to the brim, but by doing this we ensure that the life of the machine is not jeopardized, that the owning costs are as low as they can be. We can all clearly envisage how brakes and tires must suffer if the truck is overloaded, and we also know that those replacements aren’t cheap and we still have to factor in the downtime of the machine and labor costs to actually replace the parts and we haven’t even factored in fuel yet. Each machine has been designed to work at an optimal payload target, load too much and you burn too much fuel, load too little and you are wasting capacity, the key is to get that balance just right.
CPM not only gives the operator real-time readings of their payload but it is also, storing this data and via Product Link™ off boards the information so that the customer can then study and analyze the production data to see how they are performing via VisionLink®, a web based portal, where the data is shown in easy digestible format so as to be used in decision making situations.
Cat has an extensive range of payload technologies available to its customers from the MWL and LWL to the Articulated and rigid frame trucks to the industry first Excavator line up, the largest and widest payload offering (and by quite some margin) on the market today and it is actively working to expand that range even further. All of these systems have been designed to allow the operator to work normally at maximum performance levels and yet provide payload information in real time to operators. The beauty of CPM is in its simplicity. Caterpillar has been building machines for over 80 years and knows a thing or two about machines, one of which is the importance of the operator. Any system must be intuitive to use, simplicity is key, if we think how we use our smartphone we are not far off the mark. What this enables operators is that the system is being used and then being used correctly to provide the most accurate data of the work being done.
Back in the office if we want to see how efficient our operations are we can simply check how many tons/liter we moved, and then see what the evolution of that metric is over the lifetime of my project. Invaluable information if we want to optimize our assets to the full. Do you want to bid on a new project? Well now you have a contrasted method of measuring what your particular cost/ton is that will help you bid for future jobs which is currently still some form of black art.
In an era where the internet of things is approaching, Cat is applying a similar approach to their machines creating Smart Iron. Machines that are connected so that we know at all-time what the machine is doing so that digital insights are created about that job site.
Caterpillar is putting those productivity and efficiency numbers (or digital insights) in front of the customers so customers can use and manage them to squeeze the last drop of productivity/efficiency out of their machines. If we then combine this productivity data with other machine data like, fault codes, maintenance intervals, location, fuel readings we really start to have a very powerful tool allow customers answer that ever elusive question. Did I have a productive day? Well if you have CPM on your machine then you are for sure a lot closer to earning that nice rest at the end of the day.