Ways to Increase Machine Versatility for Improved Business

by Visitor RoyBrookhart ‎05-20-2013 09:00 AM - edited ‎05-20-2013 05:32 PM

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.


skid-steer.jpgIncrease 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:


Hydraulic Hammers

  • 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.

Cold Planer

    • 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?

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 an Industry and Application Rep for Caterpillar. I graduated from NC State 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 tobacco and 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."
  • My passion is in storytelling and thought leadership, helping people connect with the brands they love and helping brands connect with their audiences. At Caterpillar, I get to work with a variety of industries and customer solutions, supporting our customers who are making huge impacts in our world every day. It's not just about the yellow iron - it's about understanding the problems our customers face, and being a part of the total solution.
  • 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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