Although many people assume technologies such as AI, analytics and the Internet of Things are…
Today’s heavy equipment technology actually has more processing power than the first Apollo missions that went into space. The improvements to electronics, pneumatics, hydraulics, transmissions, engines, along with the introduction of on board computer systems, lasers, and GPS have turned what was once a very heavy and hard-to-handle machine into an extremely powerful yet easy-to-operate piece of machinery.
Manufacturers such as Caterpillar, Kamatsu, John Deer, Volvo, and Case are all competing for markets where productivity is a primary issue. With today’s heavy equipment now capable of doing many tasks in half the time compared to 30-40 years ago, the push is on for even more improvements. When people talk about cutting edge technology, heavy equipment should be held up as a prime example. How easy have these machines become? You can operate many of the controls with a simple joy stick – it’s almost kids play.
Learning to operate heavy equipment has become the easy part. The difficult part has become learning how to read site maps, use the computer-aided technologies, and to understand soils – the latter really only coming with on-the-job experience. Safety issues are another area where good training has become paramount to a successful career in this industry.
We are reaching a stage where it is hard to know where improvements can now be made. There is new technology at work throughout heavy equipment, even to the point of making the latest machinery very ‘green’ friendly. Heavy equipment training using the latest machinery could put some operators at a disadvantage these days. There are still plenty of businesses using older equipment – those trained solely on modern computerized heavy equipment may struggle to operate some of those older machines. Still, we are moving on as a society and new technology is everywhere – even in heavy equipment.