Here’s 9 tips to become a great ADT operator

An operator looks at a Rokbak ADT

An efficient articulated hauler or ADT operator is able to deliver technical expertise, safety and situational awareness and combine those skills with  effective communication and a commitment to productivity. 

Scottish ADT manufacturer Rokbak explains how an operator can master the art of piloting an articulated hauler.

Be ready to move

Take control of the hauler and your daily work before the engine is running by making sure you know the truck. It’s important to have a thorough understanding of the truck’s controls, capabilities and limitations. This includes knowing how to operate it efficiently and safely in various conditions, such as on gradients, rough terrain or in adverse weather.

The ADT inspection

At the start of the day, prestart checks are essential. A diligent operator conducts routine truck inspections to make sure the truck is ready for work. 

Every day, the operator should check for pre-existing damage including leaks, loose parts and tire condition, as well as ensure lights and beacons are operational.

Rokbak trucks have ground level test points and a fully tilting cab for quick, easy access when servicing. 

A thorough equipment walkaround before starting a shift can make a big difference, and it doesn’t require a lot of time.

Know your limits

Before you start working, learn the elements of the jobsite, such as speed, ground bearing weight limits, travel direction, passing areas, width and height restrictions and no-go areas. Know your hauler’s capacity and ensure you are aware of your truck’s working limits regarding payload. 

As well, keep an eye on how many buckets the loader is dumping in the truck to stay within the safe operating limits of the ADT and avoid accelerated component wear through overloading. Rokbak provides an optional onboard payload system and exterior payload lights, which indicate to both the truck and loader operators whether the payload is on target. This information is recorded and transmitted via the Haul Track telematics system.

Safe operation

Follow all site operating procedures when driving the truck. Keep under speed and under control on gradients and check grade guides for safe and controlled descent speed. Correctly use differential locks — you’ll want to employ them when you’re operating in soft or slippery ground conditions to maintain traction and control. Also, be aware of what equipment is on your haul route and what sort of traffic you can expect to encounter.

Correct usage

The Rokbak RA30 and RA40 articulated haulers have fully enclosed multi-disc brakes on all six wheels plus a retarder. Understanding the correct use of the retarder can prolong the life of the service brakes and reduce maintenance intervals for lower total cost of ownership. If required, make use of the transmission lock in range or manual shift modes to maintain a steady ascent or descent on gradients. 

Stay alert

A good ADT operator stays alert to their surroundings, including other workers, vehicles and obstacles on site. 

They anticipate potential hazards and adapt their driving accordingly to maintain safety. Inevitably there will be challenges, such as navigating tight spaces. An alert operator can quickly assess situations, make informed decisions and take appropriate action to resolve issues while minimizing downtime. Never operate an articulated hauler if feeling fatigued or unwell.

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Attention to detail

Operating an articulated hauler requires attention to detail to ensure proper loading, unloading and manoeuvring of materials. While an integrated payload system can account for the number of loads moved, manually recording progress keeps productivity proceeding on schedule. For improved fuel efficiency, minimize heavy acceleration and aim to reduce unnecessary idle time whenever feasible.

Don’t ignore ADT fault codes

Critical information is delivered whenever system fault codes are triggered. If a Rokbak truck does develop a fault, the operator will receive a warning symbol on the dashboard. Faults should be reported when they occur as continued operation could exacerbate the issue. 

Following the truck’s advice means increasing uptime by avoiding potential disruptions, and effective communication with site supervisors, co-workers and other equipment operators is crucial for coordinating tasks and ensuring smooth operations.

The closer

At the end of a shift, follow the correct shutdown procedure. Allowing the truck to idle for a brief period at the end of a long workday enables the coolant to circulate through the engine. 

This helps to gradually lower the temperature, preventing potential damage from frequent hot shutdowns over time. 

Adhering to the correct maintenance and start-up and shutdown procedures will help to keep operation costs low.