Machine ergonomics isn’t exactly a term we use on a daily basis, but it does play a role in your day-to-day work routine. When you’re spending up to 10 hours a day in the cab of a wheel loader, comfort isn’t just a luxury—it’s necessary for your well-being and work performance.
The simplest way to help alleviate end-of-day aches and pains is to adjust your seat and cab controls to allow for full range of motion, lumbar support and comfortable positioning before you begin operating. This is especially important if you’re operating a machine that is used by other operators throughout the work week, as they may have changed the settings.
Wheel Loader Comfort & Customizable Features
As you may know, not all wheel loaders are designed with ergonomics top of mind. That’s why we wanted to highlight specific features that are being integrated into today’s wheel loaders to enhance operator comfort.
Seat adjustment – Some wheel loaders are now equipped with an air suspension seat that has an indicator that shows red if you are not properly adjusted, and green once the level is correct. It’s also important to look for a wheel loader with an adjustable armrest, lumbar support and recline capabilities. Additionally, a heated seat option is especially useful when operating in colder climates.
Joystick angle & seat-mounted controls – Joystick positioning is another critical comfort factor; look for a loader with a low-effort joystick that feels natural to how your hand typically sits. Seat-mounted controls on some of today’s small wheel loaders allow you to lift, lower, rack, dump, shift directions, control auxiliary flow and set differential lock—all from the joystick.
Steering – This should never be the hardest part of your day! You want a wheel loader that doesn’t require much force at all to turn or steer. For applications that require short-cycle truck loading, the quick steer feature on small wheel loaders boosts the steering flow so you only have to turn the knob about 15 percent in either direction to turn the machine—which helps reduce operator fatigue.
Operation customization – There are several technology advancements designed to provide a much smoother experience while operating the machine. The ride control feature provides an easier ride, as well as enhanced material retention, when operating or roading over rough terrains. Cylinder snubbing (also known as cylinder damping) slows down the implements before you hit full stroke or kick-out position to eliminate any jerking motions.
Hopefully, now that you’ve learned about some adjustment tips and comfort features available on today’s advanced wheel loaders; having numb legs and an aching back should no longer be an inevitable part of your day. We hope machine ergonomics is a priority the next time you’re considering a wheel loader rental or purchase. To learn more about machine ergonomics and Cat® Wheel Loaders, visit Cat.com or contact your local Cat dealer.
We’d like to know how important machine ergonomics is to you.
Do you ever end the work day with some of the aches and pains we discussed in the blog? Do you think it’s linked to operating your machine?
Do you regularly adjust your seat, steering, joystick, etc. when you get into the cab? If so, do you feel this has an effect on your comfort and productivity level?
How important is comfort when considering purchasing or renting a new machine?
Tell us about the machine features you look for to help improve your comfort level.
Are there any ergonomic advancements or features you hope to see in future machines?
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.
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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.
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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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