One of the more visible examples of forward momentum in the compact equipment industry is the continuing development of excavator and loader attachments.
Versatile attachments have always been designed to enhance equipment fleets and help reduce labor. While that likely won’t change, it is important to note that advancing technology means that today’s compact machine operators benefit from improvements designed to increase accuracy, efficiency and attachment management.
Grade and Depth Control for Excavators
Advances offer speed, efficiency and accuracy.
Some jobs – trenching for footings or utility lines, and grading ditches, for example – require a consistent grade or sustained slope. Developments in grade control technology are giving operators the chance to complete these tasks easier, faster and more accurately than in the past by:
- Using a series of sensors connected to an instrument panel inside the cab to precisely track the location of the bucket teeth as the bucket, boom and arm move.
- Providing half-inch accuracy, which reduces downtime by minimizing the need for operators to exit the machine and manually measure inside the trench.
- Minimizing over- and under-digging, as well as time and costs associated with backfilling, compacting fill material and manual labor normally needed to finalize depth or grade.
Another offering for grading and excavation is a dual function clamp system, which:
- Functions as a standard tool where the adjustable design allows the clamp to be pinned in positions for traditional performance as well as at a point that opens the jaw wider for handling larger material.
- Gives dual functionality when the grading tool is pinned in the forward position, allowing it to be used as a smooth cutting edge on the bottom of a trench, removing the need for a second, smooth-lip bucket.
- Reduces manual shoveling in the reverse position by providing a clamshell function against the bucket.
Precision and Versatility for Loaders
Automated sonic/slope and laser grading systems pack precision.
Automated sonic/slope and grading systems deliver quarter-inch grade accuracy when used properly, providing precision in utility installations and paving projects.
- Indicator lights on the housing show whether the blade is too high, too low or on grade when mounted on skid-steer or compact track loaders.
- For machines with instrumentation, this system offers increased productivity by not requiring the operator to exit the machine to manually adjust the laser receivers or the laser transmitter.
- Integrated sonic tracer and slope sensor systems give an alternate method of automatic grade control in variable terrain conditions not suited to lasers.
- Mounting on a grader blade allows these systems to provide many capabilities of larger grading equipment in rough and finishing grading applications.
- As an integrated instrumentation program, grade control is designed to follow the contour of nearly any terrain, eliminating need for a control panel on the grader attachment.
Smart Attachment Monitoring and Management
Real-time operations and increased productivity.
In addition to ongoing improvements in attachment development, innovation in attachment management also continues to evolve with multiple functions and controls integrated into excavator and loader instrumentation systems allowing for:
- Intelligent monitoring of attachment functions for real-time performance.
- Display panel viewing from the cab.
- Accurate cumulative hour meters and job clocks on high-output attachments.
- Access to bit life, maintenance and total life of an attachment to help with future purchase or rental decisions.
- Auxiliary hydraulic flow rate calibration for better attachment operation.