Although many people assume technologies such as AI, analytics and the Internet of Things are…
I am, perhaps, exaggerating a little when I compare modern heavy equipment technology with an Xbox – but only a little. The technology that is found in modern heavy equipment is certainly of Xbox quality with computer microchips controlling many of the operations. It has also been said that those who regularly play computer games are already half way to becoming heavy equipment operators since they have excellent hand-eye coordination.
Motor vehicle technology has moved to heavy equipment with similar computer technology that controls a motor vehicle’s performance being used to ensure heavy equipment engine runs smoothly. Heavy equipment machinery like motor graders are starting to use computer technology to accurate set the positions of their blades – and using GPS and laser technology to continually fine tune those settings to deliver precise gradings. Computer technology is also being introduced to other machinery such as excavators to enable them to dig to precise measurements.
There are some training organizations that are incorporating computer controlled heavy equipment simulators in their training. While these simulators are helpful, they still don’t beat being outside in a real machine, working on real dirt. While technology is starting to playing a much bigger role in heavy equipment operations, the basics still remain the same. Bulldozers push dirt around, excavators dig holes, loaders still load dump trucks – the technology that is being incorporated is designed to get a job done using the smallest amount of fuel possible while in most cases producing very precise results. More importantly, new technology is making it easier for operators to complete tasks quickly while not affecting the quality of their work – and time is often a construction company’s biggest enemy.
For new operators coming into the work force, the difficulty is knowing what sort of training to undertake. Simulators, for example, usually train operators on heavy equipment that has all of the latest technology. In reality, the workplace is using a wide range of equipment, some of it is still 20-30 years old. The most effective training involves getting into the cab of a range of equipment, some new and some old. This gives students a feel for both the old and new technologies and delivers a better all around training experience. When considering a career as a heavy equipment operator, look for a training organization that is going to deliver training across a broad range of equipment.