Whether it’s increased efficiency, higher output or longer machine lifetimes, machine owners and operators are always looking for ways to get more out of their fleets. One popular way to boost the value of a fleet is to increase machine versatility for year-round business. For example, some use their machines to landscape in the summer and manage snow and ice during winter months. Others add specialized equipment for specific job functions like drilling holes or pushing dirt.
Today’s blog post is focused on ways to increase machine versatility by adding work tools and using machines in non-traditional applications.
Increase Machine Versatility
Machine owners and operators can easily increase machine versatility by getting a little creative with their equipment. Depending on climate, primary applications and equipment attachments, machine owners can mix-and-match equipment to increase machine versatility.
Add specialized equipment to use machines in different conditions. Specialized equipment, like work tool attachments, provide an easy transition for machines to perform cross-over applications. For example, adding steel tracks over the tires allows machines to work efficiently in areas where flotation or ground pressure is critical.
Use specialized equipment to perform non-traditional applications. This is where being creative with machines and equipment can really pay off. Below are some examples of how to use some of the machines and work tools mentioned above progressively.
Below are some examples of common work tools, their intended uses, applications, and non-traditional functions:
Intended uses: Hydraulic Hammers are designed to break concrete, asphalt or rock.
Applications: Concrete Demolition, Road Construction, Trenching and Excavating, Quarries, Rock Crushers, Compacting, and Rental. Also, where size and economic limitations exist.
Non-traditional applications: A hydraulic hammer, used for breaking up material, can be used to pack ground by switching the hammer point with a flat plate.
Intended uses: Augers are designed specifically for drilling holes in soil.
Applications:Fence Post Holes, Footings, Signs, Test Holes, Tree Planting, Shrubbery and Pole Building Uprights.
Non-traditional uses: Instead of using the bit to drill round holes in the ground, remove the bit and use an auger drive to turn a slurry mixer, screw in earth anchors, or power coring bits for road and highway repair.
Intended uses: Cold Planers are designed to remove some portion of an asphalt or concrete paved surface.
Applications: Paving, Patch Work, Utility Repair and Replacement, Surface Texturing, Milling, Rental and Stump Grinding. Also, where size and weight limits exist.
Non-traditional uses: A cold planer, traditionally used to remove some portion of an asphalt or concrete paved surface, can also be used to apply traction to the slippery floor in a dairy farm milk house or to remove paint stripes on a roadway.
Maintain Machine Performance and Efficiency
Adding equipment or technology is the easiest way to increase a machine’s versatility. Work tools improve productivity by equipping machines for a wide range of specialized tasks and specific operating requirements that are otherwise unachievable. Technology enhances performance and efficiency of an already-capable machine.
Caterpillar provides hydraulic systems, software and attachment options that make using work tools easier and more efficient. For example, Caterpillar’s unique IT Loader Option with integrated quick coupler allows backhoe loaders to easily switch from buckets for digging and loading to specially designed snow tools. Because of the increased performance and ease of operation, the backhoe loader can be out moving snow when it might have otherwise sat in storage.
Cat Work Tool Attachments can be used on many machines for improved efficiency and versatility. For example, thumbs allow backhoes to lift and place loads, sort materials, and perform cleanup work that would normally be done by a different machine. Also, cold planers can be used on backhoe loader sticks to plane above the ground line or for overhead scaling in addition to its traditional milling tasks.
For more information on these and other Caterpillar Building and Construction products, visit us at www.catresourcecenter.com. We want to hear from you. Tell us about your experiences with work tools and other equipment in non-traditional applications.
What do you do to increase your machine’s versatility?
Have you used your equipment to perform non-traditional jobs? If so, what kind of projects did you tackle?
What are your go-to work tools to help increase your machine’s project flexibility?
What can Caterpillar do to improve machine versatility?
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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.
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