Product Focus: Caterpillar sets performance benchmark

By: Chris Caine and Phil Murphy, of Hastings Deering

Presented by
  • Earthmovers & Excavators

Using market-leading Cat technologies and various operational improvements, Hastings Deering has set a benchmark for improved performance, accuracy, operator comfort and lower running costs


Caterpillar’s Next Generation construction equipment can be customised to suit individual applications and business needs


Cat equipment uses latest technology features such as Command – whereby machines can be remote-controlled to semi-autonomous or fully autonomous capabilities; Detect – features that use cameras and other sensors to improve operators’ awareness of the work environment and reduce the risk of accidents; Grade Control systems based on 2D or 3D grade systems, self-contained or using laser or GPS guidance that help achieve better accuracy in the first attempt; Advanced Compaction measurement to save on fuel and reduce rework and material costs in both soil and asphalt applications; and Link telematics technology that enhance the fleet management experience by gathering operational data from the equipment, materials and people.

"There have been advancements made in safety, productivity and operator ease of use functions in Cat equipment," Hastings Deering technology business partner – construction Chris Caine says.

"One of the best features available in our product range right now is production measurement for machines that are lifting or moving dirt so we can see how much material is being moved by that asset during a given time. This can help measure production throughout the day."


Cat’s VisionLink technology provides telemetric data ranging from information about fuel efficiency and machine location, to owning and operating costs, to site safety



The big strides taken in technology in recent times have made sure Cat is able to offer more model options, more standard technologies and better ways to boost performance.

"We have different models coming out in the Next Gen range, with more factory-integrated technologies," Hastings Deering sales manager – construction industries Phil Murphy says.

"We have a big focus on how we utilise the technology on the machines to help with the customer’s business. We have programs in place that pay the advantage and a classic example is the electronic data coming out of those machines that help the customers avoid unplanned downtime and keep the business up and running. Our machines are outperforming expectations."

With better factory-integrated controls and more in-house technology built into the machines it is a more streamlined process to get these machines on to the site, Caine says.

"It is essentially just configuring the radio settings and putting in the site plan and the machine goes to work as opposed to doing fittings on hardware and doing measurements that we historically did and some manufacturers are still doing," he explains.

The machines in the Cat construction equipment range can be fully customised to suit individual applications and business needs. Operators can make adjustments to the responsiveness of the controls and also change the pattern in which they operate. Additionally, the "connectivity and safety features that these machines have today are bounds ahead of anything on the market five years ago. We really see them as leaders in that space", Murphy adds.


The Detect feature uses cameras and other sensors to improve operator awareness of the work environment and reduce the risk of accidents



Cat’s 2D E-fence is a significant safety feature for excavators. The 2D E-fence keeps the front linkage within a predefined work. It uses data from position sensors to automatically stop motion when the front linkage reaches the operator-defined boundaries. The easy setup and simple operation reduces operating fatigue from over-swinging or over-digging.

But more importantly, it provides increased safety for workers at the jobsite, and minimises additional costs from repairs, downtime or jobsite fines from damaging underground utilities or other structures.

Other features include a dynamic lift assist that warns the operator of the actual load being lifted compared to the rated excavator load, a 360 camera that lets the operator have a birds’ eye view of the machine during use, and fatigue and distraction management features that help mitigate risks.


Operational data helps customers avoid unplanned downtime



One of the highlights of the Next Gen range is the production measurement feature. It gives the people in the office the ability to see how the machines are performing on site to help measure production, which can help them "calculate how much the job is costing, are they on target, are they reaching goals, and what could they expect the cost of it to be when they go to budget for a new job as well. It helps in forecasting by helping businesses do some calculations and get a better understanding of where their fuel is going and how much dirt they are moving," Caine says.

While the Cat machines are doing the same digging and moving material as traditional machines, the level of reporting that the machines offer is cutting-edge in terms of helping the overall project get completed on time and under budget.


Cat has made many improvements in fuel consumption in recent times. For instance, the grade control system has a proven history of delivering time, cost and fuel savings in various applications. Moreover, the standard economy mode on most machines delivers better fuel savings with minimal productivity impact.

"Cat really put their money where their mouth is in guaranteeing fuel savings. We know that these machines are industry-leaders in fuel burn and there are financial guarantees in place now to demonstrate that," Murphy says.

Caine explains: "If the machine does exceed the specifications on fuel burn for the particular application Caterpillar will offer credit back to the customer to spend money on parts or service through the business. So we guarantee fuel burn levels on our machines."

"With the technology entrenched in these machines, the future developments that they offer, and future upgrades that will be available with semi-autonomous functions continue to provide customers with future benefits on top of what they seem to own," Murphy says

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