Although many people assume technologies such as AI, analytics and the Internet of Things are…
Bulldozers are just bulldozers, right? A large engine pushing a large steel blade. They have been around for a long time, and they never change. Technology surely hasn’t affected a bulldozer! To the naked eye, that may appear to be true, however, all heavy equipment, bulldozers included, have gone through some remarkable changes over the years. The problem is not with the new technology; it is that many of the improvements are behind the scenes.
Engines are a good example. Today’s engines are more efficient than those of ten or twenty years ago. More importantly, modern engines are much cleaner using the latest technology to reduce emissions. In some countries, heavy equipment technology includes the use of solar cells to generate the power required to run cab air conditioners, radios, and many other devices that require electricity.
When it comes to digging tools, blades, buckets, and scoops have been redesigned to maximize their effectiveness. A bulldozer blade of today, for example, can cut cleaner and push more dirt simply because of the changes in angles and curvature of the blade.
Of course, computer technology now plays a big role in heavy equipment operations. Grader blades, for example, can now be set to the finest accuracy using GPS, laser technology, and computers. The operator doesn’t need to estimate a blade’s position, or set it manually – the computer can do it for them.
Whilst technology is playing a big role in the efficiency and accuracy of heavy equipment, that doesn’t mean that operators are either becoming redundant or mere ‘drivers’. Heavy equipment operators are more highly skilled, technology-wise, than those of many years ago. The emphasis now is on ensuring that new operators are well trained, not just in the operational aspects of heavy equipment, but also on the technological aspect. Well-trained heavy equipment operators are in high demand, and with experience, often command top dollar when it comes to negotiating wages.