How can you do more in less time? That's the universal dilemma facing all construction contractors. Your projects are becoming larger and more complex, regulatory restrictions are increasing, and yet your construction schedules are only being shortened. For many of these reasons, compact track loaders have proven to be invaluable on jobsites because of their diverse set of capabilities.
However, if the machine isn’t up and running, it quickly becomes a hindrance to your entire operation. That’s why we’re outlining several tips to decrease downtime, as well as considerations to make when spec’ing your next compact track loader in this month’s blog.
Pre-Purchase Serviceability and Maintenance Considerations
As you know, monitoring your machine’s condition regularly can help detect potential issues that could turn into bigger problems if ignored. With this in mind, it is important to consider features that will make routine machine maintenance easier for you—some of these include:
Machine diagnostics and monitoring capabilities – Today’s advanced compact loaders have color LCD display systems with video capability, allowing the operator to quickly and easily monitor machine systems and read machine diagnostics.
Optimized positioning of daily maintenance check components – Components such as the engine air filter, battery, engine oil dipstick, engine oil filter, electric priming fuel filter and water separator, hydraulic oil level sight gauge and hydraulic oil filter should be easily accessed, without the use of tools.
Grouped access points – The closer the access points, the easier it will be to complete the maintenance checklist quickly. For example, when grease points are grouped close together, they are easier to service.
Organized component layout underneath the cab – A complicated layout will take longer to inspect or troubleshoot the machine. A machine with a well-organized component layout will be easy to clean out, inspect and identify any issues.
Optimize Maintenance Intervals
Today’s machine designs include technology that helps extend service intervals—which means less time in the shop and more time on the jobsite. Many maintenance tasks that used to be required may no longer be necessary. For example, there is no need to maintain battery fluid levels when maintenance-free batteries come standard. Here are some factors that could help optimize maintenance intervals:
Look for a compact track loader with convenient intervals that are easy to remember, such as multiples of 100 or 250 hours.
Identify manufacturers that offer maintenance kits with machine purchases that might include filters, fluids and other items needed at various intervals.
Utilize bucket and blade attachments with double-sided cutting edges. If one side reaches its wear limit, simply reverse it to extend the life.
Fuel System Maintenance
In order to meet today’s more stringent emissions regulations, proper fuel system maintenance is another key element of routine care. If the fuel system isn’t engineered for ease of access and service, it can quickly begin interfering with machine uptime.
Today’s top tier compact track loaders are equipped with fuel system advancements that significantly improve ease-of-maintenance and decrease machine downtime. Some of these features include:
Transparent fuel water separator housings that allow you to visually inspect for water in the fuel daily.
Electronic sensors on the fuel water separator that alert you to water in the fuel.
Tubes connected to the bottom of the fuel water separator that allow you to easily drain it on a daily basis or as needed.
Automatic electric priming pumps that prime the fuel system with the turn of a key switch.
Fuel systems in which the air is automatically bled while the machine is running, without having to open bleed screws or use tools.
As you know, optimal machine operation is imperative for meeting your project schedules and managing costs. It can also help shorten a long work week—in this industry, every little bit helps! I hope you found the tips and considerations highlighted in this blog to be useful. To learn more about compact track loaders and maximizing uptime on the jobsite, contact your local Cat® dealer or visit the Cat Resource Center.
We’d like to hear about how you avoid machine downtime, and keep your equipment up and running on the jobsite.
Do you currently deal with frequent equipment breakdowns? If so, what are some of the common issues causing this downtime?
How long do you and/or your crew spend performing daily maintenance checks? Is it easy to access the machine components that need to be checked regularly?
How often do you have to get your machine(s) serviced? How long are your machines typically down during service times?
What steps do you take to ensure maximum machine uptime?
Are there certain machine features you plan to look for in your next purchase or rental to help increase uptime? If so, which ones?
I’m an Attachments Product Application & Sales Support Specialist for Caterpillar in North America. I have been with Caterpillar for five years including roles in the field as a dealer sales support representative and marketing support in the skid steer and small wheel loader product groups. I graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in Agricultural Business and Economics. Our goal is to provide a full portfolio of attachments for our customers to be more productive and versatile with their machines.
I am a Pre-Field Agriculture/Product Application Representative for Caterpillar. I recently graduated from North Carolina State University with a dual degree in Agriculture Business Management and Agriculture Science, concentrating in Leadership and Environmental Technologies. I focus primarily on the relationships between customers, dealers, and the product specialists for the Building Construction Products division. Growing up on a beef cattle farm, I have several years of machine operation experience and agricultural knowledge. Thomas Jefferson said it best in that, "Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness."
I’m a Compact Wheel Loader Product Application Specialist for Caterpillar in North America. I have 11 years of experience, including roles in the field as a dealer technical support representative, and as a distributor business model consultant. I graduated from North Carolina State University with a Mechanical Engineering Degree, and wanted a job where I didn't have to sit in front of a computer all day. This job allows me to get out and get my hands dirty, with the goal of providing solutions to customers’ machine needs.
I am a Marketing Communications Specialist for Caterpillar with over twelve years of experience marketing the Cat brand to customers in Latin and North America. My goal is to arm customers with the information needed to make well informed purchase decisions; to maximize the value of Cat machines by using an array of Cat Work Tool attachments; and to minimize the total cost of ownership by using Cat parts and Cat Dealer service.
I am an expert Operator and Application Specialist for Caterpillar concentrating on products used in the construction trades industry. I operate, evaluate and train on Cat machines and Work Tool Attachments worldwide. I have a Degree in Agricultural Engineering, Craftsman Certified and was named Apprentice of the Year 1981 at the University of East Anglia, UK.
I am the National Association Manager for Caterpillar and have responsibility for customer associations and partnerships in multiple industries for Caterpillar. I have 12 years of experience at Caterpillar, and have spent most of those years in the field with dealers and customers around North America. I have always had a passion for equipment and find myself fortunate to be able to work with dealers and customers almost every day.
I am a Product Application Specialist with 16 years of experience in the industry. As a Building Construction Products Global Trainer, I focus on training dealers and customers on machines, attachments and applications as it relates to the construction, agriculture and landscaping segments.
I have been with Caterpillar for more than eight years, working in various roles including a materials engineer, a filters product manager and my current position as a parts consultant. My job allows me the opportunity to work with Cat dealers and customers providing insight on how the use of quality filters and fluids results in better equipment performance and lower owning and operating costs.
I am a marketing and sales support professional for Caterpillar. In this role, I work with our marketing and customer service teams to support or dealers and customers, concentrating on our Small Wheel Loader, Skid Steer Loader, Mini Excavator and Dozer product groups. The exchange of ideas, information and opinions about equipment and how it’s used in various industries on forums such as this blog helps me fulfill my role at Caterpillar to the best of my ability.
I am the commercial/market consulting expert for all Caterpillar tires and rims with 14 years of experience. I provide guidance in the harsher work environments of mining and industrial/waste applications. Our goal is to turn our dealers and customers into knowledgeable and trusted resources with respect to tires and rims. Our group offers training, technical support and resources to develop a level of expertise within the Caterpillar value stream that is ordinarily reserved for tire companies and local tire service providers. Ultimately, we want to provide our customers with a total Cat solution from the ground up.
I am a Sales Support Manager for Cat Financial and have responsibility for ensuring that the right financial products are available to Cat customers who purchase, lease or rent to own. 8 of my 10 years with Caterpillar Financial have allowed customer and/or dealer interaction as part of my daily responsibilities including over 3.5 years as a Territory Manager. I take personal satisfaction in finding financial solutions that work for our customers and CAT dealers.
I’m a Telehandler Product Application Specialist for Caterpillar in North and South America. I have 13 years of experience, including roles in the field as a dealer service operations and technical support representative, and as a distributor business model consultant. My telehandler passion and focus is working with dealers and customers to maximize the versatility of the product through machine and operator training.
I am a Product and Application Specialist with over 35 years experience at Caterpillar. I focus on helping you to determine the best Cat machines, work tool attachments, and services for you to use in the building and general construction, landscaping, specialty trades, and agricultural industries.
I am a Senior Regional Insurance Marketing Manager with 16 years’ experience at Caterpillar Financial Insurance Services. I have the opportunity to work with 18 North American dealers providing risk management products and services that helps the Caterpillar Enterprise ( Caterpillar, Dealers and Customers) manage their business risk. Caterpillar Financial Insurance Services offers Extended Protection Plans for machines and engines, Physical Damage Insurance, Inventory Protection Plans, Dealer Property and Casualty, Risk Management, Marine Transit Insurance and Dealer Bonds.
Jeff Brown is a marketing professional for Caterpillar Skid Steer, Multi Terrain and Compact Track Loaders. Over Jeff's 12 years in the industry, he has visited with and studied the needs of customers across landscaping, construction, and agriculture segments. Delivering innovative solutions that solve customer's problems is Jeff's main focus.
I am a North American Product and Application Specialist for Caterpillar. In this role, I have had the opportunity to represent Caterpillar at various trade shows and train customers on new Small Wheel Loader content. I graduated from Purdue University in 2001 with a Mechanical Engineering degree and have spent the past 15 years with Caterpillar in various engineering roles. Growing up in the Mid-West, I have always loved the cold and the unique activities winter enables. Unfortunately, I had to give those up when I moved to North Carolina. I don't care what people say, you never get used to a hot climate.
I am a Filter and Fluid Marketing Consultant with over 14 years experience working at Caterpillar. My focus is to ensure customers understand the importance of using superior filtration and lubrication products in their equipment.
I am a Sales Support Manager with over nine years of experience in a variety of roles with Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation. Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to gain experience in matching financial products and tailoring funding strategies to the specific needs of customers. This includes more than three years as a Territory Manager in Seattle partnered with N C Machinery, an authorized Cat dealer covering the states of Washington and Alaska.
Welcome to the Construction Trades Online Community!
This online discussion forum is for construction and landscape professionals to raise issues, voice opinions, gain insight and share knowledge so we can all build on each other's expertise.