Similar to our smartphones, computers and vehicles, machine technology is continually advancing. Many of the advancements on today’s wheel loaders are proving to be especially helpful on the farm. However, it can be difficult to stay on top the latest features and technology while also managing all the moving parts of your operation. This blog is intended to highlight some of the top wheel loader advancements that can help you increase efficiency, save money and hopefully gain more time to tackle all the tasks that must get done each day.
Utilizing Kickouts and Payload Management Systems for Better Material Handling
Kickouts allow the operator to save lift and tilt positions and recall them with a simple motion of the joystick. Advanced wheel loaders allow this to be done inside the cab and provide smooth, predictable loader arm movement.
A payload management system is a recent advancement available as an option on select wheel loaders that helps you precisely measure how much material is loading into your bucket—a tool that is especially helpful when mixing feed rations. These features work hand-in-hand when loading feed wagons, making the process much more simple and efficient and helping to eliminate wasted material.
Switch Tasks Easily with Quick Couplers
Wheel loaders are built to be used in several different applications. Whether it’s using a bucket to load a feed wagon or off-loading hay bales with a hay fork, a variety of wheel loader tools are needed to complete everyday tasks on the farm. Some of today’s loaders are equipped with advanced quick couplers. They allow you to switch tools in less than 30 seconds without having to exit the cab and also secure the attachment tighter to the machine to reduce component wear.
Machine Operating Software Advancements to Help You Manage Your Fleet
The display systems in wheel loader cabs serve as a vital tool not only for machine diagnostics but also for tracking fuel consumption. Advanced secondary display systems have a four quadrant screen that allows you to track the overall average fuel consumption of the machine, time until the fuel tank is empty, real-time calculations of the amount of fuel being used per hour, as well as use a resettable job clock to track fuel usage per task.
If there are multiple employees operating a single wheel loader on your farm, the latest coded start technology allows you to track fuel consumption and system diagnostics based on the operator codes. Coded start systems are also equipped with a master code, enabling owners to lock out certain features on the machine. For instance, performance mode can be deactivated on the machine, in which case operators must complete tasks in fuel-saving standard mode.
Emissions Technology: Maximize Uptime and Save Money
The latest, state-of-the-art emissions systems are not only reducing exhaust temperatures to minimize the risk of igniting flammable material, but are also self-managing to reduce operational expenses. These systems utilize a clean emissions module designed to require no operator interaction or disruption of work cycles, which increases machine uptime. It also cuts fuel consumption and maintenance expenses.
Regeneration of the diesel particulate filter (DPF) occurs passively at a low temperature. Comparatively, some wheel loaders have to stop every 500 hours and be parked in a safe zone in order to regenerate due to the high temperatures created by the process—a task that takes about 45 minutes.
The DPF is designed to last the life of the engine without needing to be serviced. This increases uptime and can save owners up to $10,000 throughout the life of the machine. Comparatively, the emissions systems on many wheel loaders require the DPF to be taken out and serviced by a dealer every 3,500 to 5,000 hours, which could cost about $2,500 each time.
With current Tier 4 emissions standards, if the valve lash gets out of adjustment, it can reduce the life of the DPF. Today’s advanced machines are equipped with hydraulic valve lash systems that self-adjust, eliminating the need for regular service intervals. Comparatively, many manufacturers engineer their wheel loaders with a mechanical lift system, which requires servicing every 2,000 hours to get the valve lash adjusted.
While the learning curve on new machine technology can be an obstacle at first, the end result is worth it: saving money and getting the work done faster so you can have more time to spend with your family and friends. To learn more about the latest wheel loader technology that is becoming especially useful on today’s farms and ranches, visit the Cat Resource Center or contact your local Cat® dealer.
We’d like to hear more about how you are adapting to and/or utilizing machine technology to help out in your operation.
Do you currently own or operate small or compact wheel loaders on your farm?
How do you research and/or stay on top of the latest machine technology and advancements?
How do you train yourself and/or your operators to utilize new machine features or advancements?
Do you currently utilize any of the features and advancements mentioned in this blog? If so, do you find them useful?
Are there other wheel loader features or advancements that you find especially helpful in your operation? If so, which ones and why?
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.
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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.
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