A few years ago, Caterpillar partnered with TORC Robotics to develop the RemoteTask™ remote control system. Since system has been available as an option for select Cat® D Series Skid Steer, Multi Terrain and Compact Track Loaders, we have been collecting your feedback and questions. In this month’s blog, we worked with Robert Shoop, product demonstration instructor for Caterpillar Inc., to answer some of the top questions we have received from equipment owners and operators.
What was the purpose of developing the RemoteTask™ remote control system?
Above everything, enhanced operator and jobsite safety is the number one purpose and benefit of the RemoteTask™ system. In the construction industry, certain projects are associated with greater accident or injury risk, such as demolition and roadside or highway construction. With the RemoteTask™ system, operators can just as effectively utilize the machine to complete tasks while standing up to 1,000 feet away from the site—and out of harm’s way. Imagine the peace of mind this can provide when doing road maintenance along a busy interstate or demolishing a parking deck.
Does the RemoteTask™ system replace the need for a machine operator?
Definitely not. This system serves as an extension of a machine operator’s skills. Only with this system, operators control the machine with a remote controller (also known as the belly box) instead of from within the cab. Every control option and feature that is in the cab, is also on the remote controller. Therefore, you can operate all attachments, including hydro-mechanical tools, as well as activate helpful features, such as the work tool positioner and creep mode.
Is it difficult to learn how to operate the RemoteTask™ remote control system?
This system was designed to be as user-friendly as possible, making the learning curve minimal. Once you learn how to start up the machine from the controller, everything else is intuitive.. Additionally, installation takes less than three hours at your local dealer, and the system can actually be transferred from one compatible machine to another.
Is the machine just as responsive when using this system as it is when an operator is in the cab?
Control response time is the same on the remote controller as it is from within the cab. Therefore, you are able to operate the machine just as precisely and efficiently with this system. All warning signals are also engineered into the controller so the operator will be alerted to any machine issues, such as an engine overheat, just as quickly as they would inside the cab.
Is visibility impaired when operating a machine with this system?
Quite the opposite—visibility can actually be improved using the RemoteTask™ system. Standing away from the machine provides an improved line of sight and perspective of the entire work zone. This visibility advantage is especially helpful in applications that normally require a spotter, such as unloading pallets of rock, sod or other materials from a truck or trailer. From within the cab, it can become difficult to see when the pallet forks are raised high. With the RemoteTask™ system, you can position yourself to have a full line of sight from the trailer to the machine.
What are the most common uses for a remote control system for machine operation?
While we have primarily discussed the benefits of using a remote control system in demolition and/or highway construction applications, there are several other common uses for these systems—especially when operator safety is a concern. Some of these applications include hazmat clean-up or truck spills, material handling at steel mills, unloading cargo from ships or barges, and projects that must be completed in potentially harmful weather conditions, such as extreme heat.
To learn more about the RemoteTask remote control system now available on select Cat® D Series Skid Steer, Multi Terrain and Compact Track Loaders, contact your local Cat® dealer.
We just answered some of the frequent questions we have received since introducing the RemoteTask™ remote control system. But we’d like some additional feedback from you.
Do you ever bid or work on jobs that present added accident or injury risks, such as demolition or highway construction? If so, which safety measures have you put in place to reduce these risks?
Have you ever considered equipping your machines with a remote control operating system to enhance safety on the jobsite? If yes, on which projects would you like to use this type of system?
Have you ever operated a machine using a remote control system or the RemoteTask™ system, in particular? If so, what did you think?
Aside from improved safety, do you see other benefits of equipping your machine(s) with a remote control operating system? If so, what are they?
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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.
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