Technology, it’s certainly helped advance our industry over the past 30 years. Think back to the start of the tech curve when it was line of sight laser technology that was advancing the industry, it was all about grade control. You know, not over excavating, doing it once and avoiding rework. Beautiful!
Fast forward to 2020 (contentious I know, but please bear with me) and think of what technology is currently available to the industry. It’s eye watering compared to the line of sight laser days – connected work sites, auto dig, on the fly in field design capability plus a truck load of other solutions – unreal!
Then the Voice of Customer (VOC) asked the question, how can we harness technology to assist new to industry operators to be more productive from the get go? Fair call…
Caterpillar took up the challenge when they released their K Series Scraper with a heap of integrated features, built in to help new operators get on with the job, being fledgling scraper operators, without too much fuss.
Features like Load Assist, Sequence Assist and Tyre Spin Reduction (TSR) were all born from the VOC wanting the capability for ‘clean skin operators’ to be part way productive from the start of their training.
Now, I’ve done a fair bit of operator training with the 623, 631 and 637 K Series Scraper since its release and have a fair opinion of the integrated features that they possess.
I always trained experienced operators who’d overtime nailed the basic techniques required to run a scraper and who probably didn’t see the value in some of the new features. Enter Mick ‘Hoggy’ Hogg.
I met Hoggy in Weipa when I was conducting 623K Operator Training on behalf of Ezyquip Hire. As a new scoop operator, with a grand total of 1.5 hours of seat time, Hoggy’s supervisors thought it would be a good idea if he sat in on the theory session to learn a little more about the 623 machines.
At the end of the week’s training I had some time spare so it was decided that I should spend some time with Hoggy on one of the K Series Scrapers. So, down the cut we headed to get one of the little 623K cranking with Hoggy aboard.
Now, I remember when I first learnt how to operate scrapers, it was a bloody full-on experience and I can tell you that I was nowhere near productive for some time. Hoggy on the other hand, after spending 2 hours with him on the basics of scraper operating (cut to fill, straddle loading, chain dumping) and working through the integrated features of Sequence Assist and Load Assist, this dude was nailing it! And by nailing it I mean he could pull a full bowl of material (without screwing the tyres off, thank you TSR) and take it to the fill and unload it in a tidy manner; largely because the Sequence and Load assist features enabled him to focus on the other parts of the carnival ride that is operating a scraper.
I’m not suggesting that Hoggy was a pro scoop driver in just a couple of hours, no way. But what I do know, is that green scraper operators can now be productive almost from the get go, due to the technology in these things.
Technology is a powerful tool, no doubt. But you will only realise its benefits when the people who are operating your asset have been trained on how to use and apply it.
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