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06 March 2017

Caterpillar goes big today on future technologies

First published onCONEXPO-CON/AGG
Daily News
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Cat Product Link data shown on mobile device

Caterpillar has stressed how the use of innovative data analysis hardware and software can boost construction, mining and quarrying jobsite productivity by up to 40%.

The US equipment giant says it is leading the industry by introducing the best products and technology, while also delivering a full portfolio of solutions.

Through Cat Connect Services, Caterpillar is enhancing jobsite connectivity by introducing new Product Link capabilities for connecting an expanded range of assets. Cat Trackit, Product Link Basic, Product Link Pro and Product Link Truck add to the cutting-edge Product Link tools which, Cat says, can connect all assets, from the largest earthmover to the smallest generator, through a single system, VisionLink.

Cat is also introducing new Productivity Services to improve customers’ bottom lines. They cover Utilisation Reporting; Geospatial Mapping; Benchmark Assessments; Operator Training; Site Efficiency Training; Productivity Monitoring; and Productivity Management.

Speaking at Cat’s pre-show press briefing, John Carpenter, Caterpillar Construction Digital & Technology, said the enhanced customer productivity services offered by Cat are the result of the company’s ongoing R&D investments and partnerships. These include Caterpillar Ventures investments in busybusy, creating labour management support for construction customers; and Airware, to advance work site intelligence through the use of drone technology; and Cat’s partnering with Trimble FSM to offer On-Highway Truck Fleet Solutions.

“We want to become the customer’s trusted advisor, to find out what’s keeping them up at night and offering a solution,” said Carpenter. “I think about how far we have come in the last three to four years, and it’s phenomenal. But I worry about not moving fast enough. There could be people in a garage right now dreaming up something that’s going to be successful.”

Carpenter said the number of construction, quarrying and mining-based customers starting to use the latest jobsite technology offered by Caterpillar and other OEMs was increasing “every day”.

Emphasising the huge advances in construction, mining and quarrying sector technology, Gary Agnew, VP Cat Finning Digital, said: “We’ve now got customers running their operations on a smartphone. Data connection and analytics is a new thing in our business and it’s very exciting in terms of driving efficiencies and solving problems.”

He added: “We’ve been competing with other top brands to attract the right talent into our organisation and have been very successful in attracting that talent.”

Stressing the importance of adopting digital technology in the workplace, George Taylor, Cat VP marketing & digital, quoted research by Cisco Systems resulting in the claim that 40% of large enterprises will no longer be major industry players in 10 years due to a failure to keep up with technology progress. 

“Research also shows that the Internet of Things will generate US$4 trillion for businesses in the next 10 years, and that’s based on just 25% of companies embracing it.”

Taylor said Cat’s ongoing focus on developing further technology-based solutions for customers was a key element of the company’s US$8 million investment in R&D “every business day”, resulting in an average $2 billion annual R&D spend.

“We have the largest connected industrial fleet in the world and we want to keep it that way,” he added.

An eye-catching example of Cat’s huge investment in technology can be seen by show attendees who can watch daily demonstrations of the remote control operation of a D8T dozer at a jobsite in Chicago, Illinois – more than 1,750 miles away.

New Cat machines being launched include the 986K wheeled loader, the 745 articulated truck featuring an all-new cab with enhanced visibility, the D6T dozer, three cold planers, PM825, PM622 and PM312, and the M317F wheeled excavator.

Meanwhile, the 390F and 336F XE excavators, both with crawler undercarriages, have been updated to deliver improved productivity and lower costs. The 950 GC wheeled loader will make its North American debut.

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