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Posts Tagged ‘Heavy Equipment’

3 Ways Freezing Affects Heavy Equipment Operations

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Brrrrrr…..it’s getting colder! Most heavy equipment operators don’t have the luxury of putting their equipment in a heated location overnight, so when you come to work in the morning, that equipment is really cold. So cold, in fact, that things can change in the way that the machinery works. Here are three things to watch out for:

  • frozen pipelines — particularly hydraulics
  • metal stress — hairline cracks develop in grader blades or teeth on excavator buckets
  • ice — steps and handles can be dangerously slippery

Learn How To Handle Freezing Hazards Before You Start

When you get your training at ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School, one of the things covered is the pre-start-up check. This foundational step is essential all year long, but in the winter it’s even more important. Learning how to look for problems like frozen pipelines, metal stress, and ice is one thing — learning how to deal with those problems is even better.

Every class and training session is designed to make students ready to work as professionals in the skilled trades industries. Professionals know how to avoid hazards by proper maintenance and thorough inspections. Heavy equipment works all year long, and in the frozen winter months, there are many heavy equipment operators staying safe because they stay on top of what’s happening overnight.

Knowing what to look for in freezing hazards and what to do when you find it make the difference between a heavy equipment operator with a big problem in their machine and a heavy equipment operator with a big paycheck.

 

3 Dollars A Day And A Shovel In 1854

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

On February 15, 1854, an engineering marvel was opened: The Horseshoe Curve in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania. This piece of railroad track meant that travelers between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh could make the trip entirely by rail in about 15 hours. That was a big improvement from the 4 days of canal & train the trip involved in previous years.

Here are the statistics:

  • length of curve — 2375 feet
  • degree of curvature — 9 degrees; 25 minutes; central angle is 220 degrees
  • elevation of lower east end — 1594 feet
  • elevation of upper west end — 1716 feet
  • total elevation climb — 122 feet
  • grade — 1.8% (1.8 foot rise per 100 feet)

And what kind of heavy equipment did they use to do this excavating? Men with hand tools. About 450 workers, many from Ireland, were paid 25 cents per hour and worked 12 hour days to carve out the mountain at Kittaning Point and get the railroad through. That was some serious shovel work for 3 dollars a day.

Today The Job Market Is Different

The maps on the ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School listing recent wage guidelines for skilled operators list 2011 wages going from entry-level $12.85 an hour up to $24.57 an hour for specialty industries.

The job is more complicated than excavating with a shovel alone and the work goes much faster with the machinery doing the excavating. But the skill of the worker still has to be there, and the satisfaction of seeing a permanent benefit from your hard work might be just the same as those guys leaning on their shovels looking at the work they did on Horseshoe Curve.

 

 

When Will Heavy Equipment Be Obsolete?

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

If you go to one of the antique tractor shows popular in rural areas, you will see many things. There may be a tractor pull, where operators compete to get increasingly heavy loads across the ground. It’s likely there will be some kind of food, probably a local favorite, and certainly tasty. There may be categories of equipment, grouped by type or by manufacturer.

And you probably will see many pieces of heavy equipment that once were the latest and greatest and now are curiosities.

So if you are thinking that heavy equipment will be obsolete someday, you are right in one way. It’s certain that a particular type of machinery will become outdated as technology changes. But if you are thinking that heavy equipment will be obsolete someday as a category of machinery, you couldn’t be more wrong.

There Will Always Be A Need For Heavy Equipment

There are always jobs that require large machinery to accomplish. A heavy equipment operator may have to learn how to operate the new machine, but a good operator can easily figure it out. It’s just like the difference in driving when you get behind the wheel of a brand new car.

Particular models of heavy equipment will certainly eventually be obsolete, but the need for some type of heavy equipment will always be there. That’s why ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School makes sure students get experience in as many types of big machines as possible. When you are a little familiar with different kinds of equipment, you can figure it out if you have to operate something new the boss just bought.

 

Why ATS Trains On Several Kinds Of Heavy Equipment

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

There’s a good reason why Associated Training Services deliberately gets our students on several different types of heavy equipment during training. We’ve seen that your ability to operate one kind of big machine doesn’t necessarily mean you can jump on another and know how to use it safely.

Since most heavy equipment operators will be on a job with several types of equipment, there’s always a chance you could be asked to run something you don’t usually operate. If you have at least been exposed to it during training, you’ll have a better idea of how to do it. During training, you’ll be on many different machines:

  • Backhoes
  • Scrapers
  • Bulldozers
  • Graders
  • Skid Steer Loaders
  • Wheel Loaders
  • Excavators
  • Off-Road Haul Trucks
  • Front End Loaders
  • All-Terrain Forklifts

Each one has a different function and operates with slightly different controls because of that function. This isn’t like going from a sedan to an SUV, and the stakes are much higher. The more familiar you are with different machinery, the more valuable you are as an employee because you can be trusted with incredibly expensive equipment.

There’s another reason why we expose students to different types of heavy equipment during training; you get an idea of what you like and don’t like to run. If you know for sure that you love using a backhoe but hate using a forklift, that’s good to know before applying for a job that requires you to be the main forklift operator.

ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School has been putting people and machines together successfully for a long time — all kinds of people, and all kinds of heavy equipment.

Worried About Housing? It Will Be Fine

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

One of the nice things about coming to ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School is knowing the whole hassle of housing has already been solved. We have a long-time arrangement with the Water Tower Residence Inn, a nice place only four miles away, and the cost of your stay can be included in your financial package.

This means you have a comfortable room where you can kick back and go over that day’s classes, with a small refrigerator in the room for drinks and snacks. There are laundry facilities and a game room, too. It’s a good way to get to know your classmates. You aren’t far from stores and restaurants in nearby Madison, and the entire setup has proven to be one our students really appreciate.

Housing assistance is included in your training because it gives you the chance to get away from your regular life and really focus on what you are there to do: become a professional heavy equipment operator who is competent and knowledgeable. You can’t do that with half your attention on the things that fill your day now. You also can’t do that if the place you are staying is far away or uncomfortable.

The Water Tower Residence Inn will be contacted when you sign up for classes, and a room will automatically be reserved for you. You don’t have to figure out the best place to stay because we already did. All you need to do is learn how to do the job you want to apply for when you graduate.

What Kind Of Equipment Will You Be On?

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

The question often comes up about types of equipment you’ll be on at ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School. The answer is: lots. We make sure you get familiar with all the machines on this list:

  • Backhoes
  • Scrapers
  • Bulldozers
  • Graders
  • Skid Steer Loaders
  • Wheel Loaders
  • Excavators
  • Off-Road Haul Trucks
  • Front End Loaders
  • All-Terrain Forklifts

The reason why we’ve found it’s important to give students lots of exposure to different kinds of machinery is because that same question can be asked about your job once you graduate. Heavy equipment is a big investment so most employers have a wide range of machines in their business.

Your employer might have a skid steer loader or a wheel loader. Maybe even both, from different decades. You might be using a brand new front end loader or a backhoe about to be retired. There’s no real way to know, so the best preparation is learning how to figure out what to do with whatever you are asked to operate.

If you are familiar with the way a lot of different equipment works and have a grasp of essential safety skills, you are in good shape. It helps to know how to identify soils, read grade and site layout, and use a laser level. The bigger your perspective is when you start a job, the easier it is to see why you are important on the work site.

Classes start every three weeks and there’s no waiting list. We set it up like that to fit the real world and real people’s schedules. Take a look at what ATS can help you learn, and you’ll be on the equipment you know how to run.

 

How Versatile Do You Want To Be?

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

On the job, the most versatile person is apt to be the one who stays on the payroll, right? It doesn’t matter what kind of job you are talking about either, because the principle applies to every industry, white or blue collar. In the heavy equipment field, that versatility looks like an operator who is familiar with many kinds of machines and able to figure out what to do with them to get the job done.

ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School has the goal of equipping graduates to be versatile operators able to do what has to be done and do it professionally. That means our students get hands-on training on different types of machinery and become familiar with the big picture of heavy equipment. It also means they learn how to learn, because there will be new stuff thrown at us on the job.

The chance to get a CDL license is offered, too, so you can drive trucks — that is something most heavy equipment operators find they need when they enter the workforce. A lot of heavy equipment gets loaded and moved on a flatbed, so if the operator can be the truck driver, too, that operator is the person who gets hired.

If an employer is trying to decide who to hire, or who to keep on the payroll, the person with the safety certifications, CDL, ability to learn, and versatility is going to be the more valuable employee every time. That’s the goal of ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training, and that’s why our graduates get hired.

 

Disaster Recovery Needs Heavy Equipment Operators

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Hurricanes, tornadoes, fire, flood, and more, are all disasters that leave piles of wreckage in their wake. No matter what the disaster is, it usually takes a heavy equipment operator to clean it up successfully. But doing this important service is a dangerous task for those who go into the chaos to bring order and restore normal life. Disaster recovery workers are exposed to many hazards on this kind of job site.

OSHA has an excellent resource for disaster recovery workers who are operating heavy equipment in their Hurricane eMatrix guide. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with what happens in cleanup because the rules can change drastically. All the normal work site procedures may no longer be in place because this kind of work site is unpredictable. As recovery workers slowly bring restoration safety measures are established, but the first guys into the scene have to be able to respond to whatever they find.

The more experienced a heavy equipment operator is, the better that operator can do the job in disaster recovery since the site is the only thing that’s unfamiliar. All kinds of machinery is used in cleanup, and the need for experienced operators is always there. If you think you are interested in helping after the next disaster, the best way to prepare is by getting good at your job and familiar with the OSHA guidelines. That way you are ready to go.

Training is the foundation for your experience in operating heavy equipment. ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School provides that training with expert, professional standards that include time in the classroom and time in the seat of many kinds of heavy equipment. You get the certification and the training to start a career as a heavy equipment operator anywhere, even a disaster site.

 

Heavy Equipment Simulators vs In-The-Seat Training

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Some folks have been playing video games where they “operate” heavy equipment to build their own house or create a town. Others point to actual high-tech simulators built by manufacturers of heavy equipment for training purposes and wonder if it’s the same thing as the video game, only more expensive. Then there’s the old-fashioned guys saying, “ya gotta learn it by the seat of yer pants or it ain’t gonna work.”

So, what is the truth about simulators?

Well, a video game is going to be like a video game. You will get some head knowledge if it is created to be educational, and it has a value in that way. It’s also fun. If you like big machinery of course a game where you use it will be fun. But it won’t give you a sense of what you are actually doing when you get in the seat of that grader or backhoe.

Simulators built by the manufacturer are designed for training to use a specific type of equipment. You will be sitting at controls like the crane or whatever and be looking at a screen that shows you the effects of what you are doing with those controls. Some even will have a few effects like seat tilting. They are not designed to be entertainment; they are designed to be a safe and effective way to begin the training process so your mistakes don’t have real-life consequences.

In-the-seat training is best done after you have a good idea of what you are doing, just like it’s a good idea to know a lot about driving before you get on the road. And, like driving a car, you develop reactions that become automatic as you spend time in real life doing it. It takes time and experience out in the weather, in the seat, to really get the hang of operating heavy equipment.

At ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School, we make sure you are ready to be in the seat before you are expected to operate big machinery. Then you get that in-the-seat experience which only comes from operating many kinds of machinery in real life, and that gets you trained and certified to be a valuable employee worth hiring.

Why Do You Need A CDL For Heavy Equipment?

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Technically, you do not need a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) to operate heavy equipment, it’s true. But if you have your CDL, you are going to be much more valuable to an employer, and it can make the difference between getting hired or getting a raise or staying home looking for work that pays the bills. Because of this, ATS Heavy Equipment Operator Training School includes short-term truck driver training for those who want to take their career to this higher level.

Driving a tractor-trailer to move heavy equipment to the next job site is necessary with anything that uses tracks instead of wheels. This equipment is slow, heavy, and often wide. To take it down the road would tie up traffic and probably mess up the surface. So a flatbed or lowboy trailer is used; the equipment is driven up a ramp, tied down, and moved by towing the trailer. If you can show a CDL and a training certificate from ATS (a respected school in this business), you are ahead of the rest.

In four weeks at the most, you will be prepared to take the CDL road test. You’ll know Department of Transportation rules & regulations, how to drive heavy equipment on roads, how to back heavy equipment, coupling, uncoupling, pre-trip inspections, and all the rest. ATS started out in truck driver training, so we know the value of this skill.

Employers know that value too and are willing to pay more for an employee who can operate heavy equipment plus drive any of the trucks that may be needed to transport it. The more skills you have, the more valuable you are as an employee. Check into our CDL Truck Driving Program and see how you can be the one who gets the job because you have the right training.

 

 

* Associated Training Services fully endorses the national certification program offered by the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO), and will prepare candidates for the CCO certification examinations.

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