Compact equipment makes a big impact

caterpillar compact equipment

Attachments and new technology is delivering improved versatility and performance for compact equipment   

By Doug Levoguer, Manager of machine sales excellence at Finning

More often, operators are now required to work in confined spaces and need greater maneuverability from their machines.

Compact equipment allows operators easy access to confined areas where larger equipment can’t effectively maneuver, such as urban settings. When you add in attachments and the equipment’s ability to perform many different tasks, a simple, single-use device is turned into a multi-purpose machine.

Compact equipment’s increased diversity and enhanced technology is translating into major productivity improvements, from earthmoving on a building site to landscaping a park.

The ease with which you can attach or detach an attachment adds to the productivity and time-savings on a job. Whether it’s moving gravel, pushing snow or hauling hay bales, compact equipment attachments are making jobs safer, faster and more precise, while offering the improved fuel efficiency of a smaller machine.

Tech availability

The use of technology is crucial to the efficiency and productivity of any project and keeps both the crew and equipment connected.

Grade control and telematics, once reserved only for larger machines, are now increasingly available on compact equipment, helping to level the playing field with contractors running larger fleets. Next generation compact equipment offers better overall performance, improved productivity and greater fuel efficiency, and as equipment technology continues to improve and evolve, the result is cleaner engines, lower emissions, reduced noise and better value in the long run.

Technology has also increased ease of operation. Equipment can be adjusted to operator skill levels, optimizing performance while staying safe on the job.

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For wheel loaders with hydrostatic transmissions, the machine’s response can also be adjusted with the push of a button to increase the tractive efforts on ice or mimic the neutral roll out of a traditional torque converter machine. New attachment technology like geo-fencing and locator devices mean owners and operators can track utilization and maintenance requirements to get a better understanding of usage and downtime.

Technology advancements have led to improved productivity and lower operating costs with better fuel efficiency, fewer emissions and more effective equipment that doesn’t need to operate at full capacity, all day, to be productive. The right technology partner will work with you and provide the expertise and support needed to help increase efficiencies aligned with your business needs, no matter the size of the machine or your operation.

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Better tech, safer jobsites

Technology helps increase safety on the job via features like cameras which are mounted on equipment to help detect and avoid hazards, improve visibility and enhancing awareness of surroundings.

As well, new machines now come equipped with object detection technology, including back-up cameras and 360 degree cameras, proximity sensors and alarms notifying the operator and workers on-site when there may be an issue.

New developments in fatigue technologies are also playing a role in increased safety. They work by monitoring eye-closure duration and head poses right inside the cab, sending immediate alarms to operators and site-managers. And wearables, attached to personal protection equipment can also be used to alert workers of potential dangers or notify an operator when a machine is in too close proximity.

The enhanced features and adaptability of compact equipment have led to safer operations and made operators with fewer skills better, but that doesn’t mean it can replace training.

Educating operators is also essential to ensure everyone stays safe on the job site. Training and site safety practices go hand-in-hand for the efficient and safe operation of equipment and keeping workers safe on the worksite.

What’s next for compact equipment?

Innovation in the machine performance of smaller machines, combined with an improved operator experience, are contributing to increased productivity and efficiency on job sites, providing a safer work environment and leading to better focus and performance from operators, who are able to spend more time concentrating on the task at hand.

Sacrificing quality and performance no longer needs to be a concern when it comes to compact equipment.

These machines offer an even higher level of power and productivity while increasing fuel efficiency with lower emissions and maintenance costs. Contractors willing to diversify their fleet and invest in compact equipment will see the benefits – greater versatility, improved costs and a smaller carbon footprint.