Increase Uptime with Your Next Compact Track Loader

by New member BarnCat ‎02-01-2016 03:00 PM - edited ‎02-10-2016 04:18 PM

CTL-Ag-mini_NC_2015_227_retouched.jpgCompact track loaders have become a vital fleet member on farms and ranches due to their versatility. However, not all compact track loaders offer the same performance capabilities. There are several considerations to make with uptime in mind—most importantly, serviceability, support of a dealer network and parts availability.

               

Service and Maintenance Time

Daily maintenance inspections on compact track loaders are essential to achieve maximum machine longevity. You must monitor your machine’s condition regularly in order to detect potential issues that could turn into bigger problems if ignored. With this in mind, the first thing to consider is the positioning of 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. Important questions to ask your dealer include:

 

  • Are these components accessible by simply opening the rear engine door?
  • Is the rear engine door on a hinge or does it need to be removed and set aside when servicing or inspecting the machine?
  • Are tools needed to access or check the components?

It is also important to consider the component layout underneath the cab. A complicated layout will take longer to inspect or troubleshoot the machine. Look for a compact track loader with a well-organized component layout underneath the cab which will be easy to clean out, inspect and identify any issues.

               

Compact Track Loader Fuel Systems Factor into the Uptime Equation

Proper fuel system maintenance is another key element of routine care for compact track loaders, especially with the fuel system technology required to meet today’s more stringent emissions regulations. It is necessary to always use clean fuel, regularly drain any water from the fuel water separator and change the fuel filter element within the recommended intervals.

 

Fortunately, there are several fuel system advancements that are significantly improving ease-of-maintenance and decreasing 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 when necessary.
  • 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.

               

Dealer Network and Parts Availability

With many dairy farms, cattle ranches and feed lot operations located in rural areas throughout the country, an industry-wide concern is the proximity of dealer technicians and parts availability.

               

Even if the dealer isn’t located in your immediate geographic area, you still may receive better and faster service from larger dealerships. Larger dealerships often have greater capabilities, advanced support structures and access to more resources, including field service technicians. Located throughout the dealer’s region, these technicians can come out to customers’ farms or ranches to perform regular maintenance and assist with any repairs.

 

Parts availability is essential when performing maintenance or repairs, especially for rural operation owners. Larger dealers are more likely to have higher counter availability rates, as well as faster parts shipping time. Most guarantee delivery within 24 to 48 hours. Additionally, they have parts drop boxes located throughout their service region to provide you with convenient access.

 

The end goal is always increased production and revenue, and this cannot be accomplished without optimal machine uptime. That is why it is critical to consider factors that will increase uptime when spec’ing your next compact track loader to help ensure the success of your operation.

 

To learn more about how to optimize uptime on your compact track loader and other agriculture equipment, visit www.cat.com/ag. For additional information, contact your local Cat® dealer or visit us online.

 

We’d like to hear about how you think machine uptime can be maximized on your farm or ranch.  

  • How much time do you spend on regular machine maintenance? Daily? Weekly?
  • Is your machine designed to allow for easy access to frequently maintained components?
  • If you could change one thing about your machine to improve uptime, what would it be?
  • How important is dealer proximity to you?

Do you feel you get parts for your machine in a timely manner?  If not, what causes the delay?

About the Author
  • 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.
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