How to pick the right attachments for the job

Caterpillar attachments

Equipment attachments offer increased accuracy, productivity and safety on site

By Jody Dansereau, attachment product manager for Finning Canada  

Construction sites are required to be precise – operators are expected to work in confined spaces with specific tasks and need greater maneuverability from their machines.

Selecting the right attachment like a wheel saw, V-plow, mulcher or cold planner can transform a piece of compact equipment, so it can be used for a completely different job.

Attachments provide the flexibility to create the right tool for the job. Rather than using a whole new piece of equipment, simply adding a specific attachment to your existing machine can save you both time and money.

Smart attachments

Advancements in attachments in recent years has translated into major productivity improvements on construction sites. The demand for new attachments is continuing to grow – as they are getting smarter, faster and easier to use.

The ease of attaching and detaching attachments is key to saving time on a job and just like your machines, and productivity can now be monitored.

With new technology like geo-fencing and locator devices, owners and operators can now track utilization and maintenance requirements to get a better understanding of usage and manage downtime.

Simply attaching a Product Link locator device to your attachments can reduce lost inventory on site and decrease the risk of theft.

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Setting parameters and limits on an attachment can help keep operators and workers safer on the job. Defense system technology allows the operator to upload information into the machine to set defaults to limit operation of an attachment.

For example, if an operator is using equipment near power lines, it is crucial to ensure the energy is isolated and the equipment does not come in contact with the lines.

The parameters for safe operation can be entered into the machine and the information can be saved for future use and adjusted accordingly to accommodate operator skill level.

Grade control is not just for larger machines and 2D/3D grade control systems are starting to gain traction on smaller equipment and applications. Today’s smart GPS grade control attachments can increase accuracy, lower costs and eliminate re-work to give you that competitive edge.

excavator attachments

Equipment availability

Equipment and attachment availability is an on-going concern for construction companies.

Look for dealers who keep large inventory levels, a variety of work tools and have access to the latest technology for new and used equipment.

The right dealer will work with you to develop the equipment program that fits your business.

Companies today are operating on tighter budgets, shorter deadlines and with increased pressure from the competition.

Having a long-term business strategy that includes having the right attachment at the right time can transform your single purpose machine into a multi-functional piece of equipment.

Better informed site planning starts with an understanding of existing fleet inventory and upcoming project demands. Keeping track of all this inventory can be a full-time job in itself, not to mention costly.

Caterpillar telehandler

The right rental

More and more construction companies are relying on rental equipment to meet short-term project demands, manage costs and meet project deadlines and this is also an increasing trend in attachments.

Access to the right attachments can reduce the need to purchase specialized attachments and enables contractors to take on jobs with a variety of demands with less risk.

A start up snow removal business may not be able to afford to buy the right attachments, the industry and the weather can be unpredictable and their business may have other immediate costs to worry about.

As well, a successful landscaping company has a few excavators in their fleet, but a potential contract means they would need quick and affordable access to buckets and hammers to be considered for the job.

Rental can minimize overhead costs and reduce operating expenses. Working with a dealer who can offer a range of attachments to ensure you get the most out of your equipment is a key factor in making rentals work for your business over the long-term.

Sharing your plans with your dealer, on upcoming jobs and growth opportunities is a great way to ensure you have access to the equipment and attachments you need, when you need it.

Caterpillar wheel loader

Training and support

Understanding how to use and safely operate an attachment is crucial.  Safety, training and access to the right attachment all comes down to your relationship with your dealer.

The right partner should not just be providing access to equipment, but a range of operator training, maintenance and 24/7 support.

This not only ensures you are getting the most out of your equipment, but also helps you plan ahead for future opportunities. As we continue to see equipment technology evolve, we will also see more developments in work tools.

Small and large construction companies who understand the importance of leveraging the right piece of equipment and attachment are putting themselves at an advantage for winning future business and staying ahead of the competition.