Keeping an open mind leads to ongoing product improvements
How customer input impacts product developments and enhancements at Bobcat Company. Bobcat loader controls get an update and improved operator response for more precise and smoother movements.
Bobcat T750 at work
One thing is for sure, Bobcat Company is not willing to say ‘good enough’ when it comes to its compact equipment. That’s evident with the rollout of the M-Series loaders and excavators in the past three years. The latest development is an update to loader drive controls, which demonstrates a focus on continuous product improvements.
Changes have been made to the drive control software for Bobcat® skid-steer and compact track loaders with Selectable Joystick Controls (SJC) or Standard Controls with Power Assist (SCPA). These changes provide operators with improved response to joystick movements for more precise and smoother machine movements. The transition between fast and slow joystick movements has improved, making smoother high-speed turning or quick speed changes. Additionally, joystick travel on SJC-equipped loaders was increased to match that of the SCPA system.
Bobcat loader controls
If you’re unsure or unfamiliar with Bobcat controls, there are four configurations: standard or mechanical foot pedals and steering levers, Standard Controls with Power Assist (standard on S850 and T870 loaders), optional Advanced Control System and Selectable Joystick Controls. Each is available to suit operator preferences.
M-Series joystick design
Anyone who spends long days in a Bobcat loader knows that matching control preferences to the operator is critical. When controls are best matched to operators, productivity increases and there’s considerably less operator fatigue. Some operators prefer traditional foot pedals and levers. Others like the flexibility of choosing between hand and foot controls with the Advanced Control System. And another group favors Selectable Joystick Controls for control of loader and lift arm movements.
Bobcat engineers and product specialists spend countless hours identifying ways to improve Bobcat products. In many cases, Bobcat partners with customers and asks them to provide feedback about product updates to help meet and exceed their expectations. Ron Yanish is a great example of this scenario.
Yanish is the owner of Ron’s Excavating in Watkins, Minn., and spent time with Bobcat loader representatives and engineers. The group partnered to collect data, make observations, test potential changes and ultimately improve Bobcat loader drive controls, particularly the Selectable Joystick Controls.
“What impresses me is Bobcat Company is willing to come out into the field, to the people who are using these machines and ask for our opinions and feedback,” Yanish says. “They take it, and I’ve seen them make changes with it, and that’s great. There’s always room for improvement. What impresses me is they are willing to keep up with the game. They’re willing to improve what they have.”
Yanish is a Bobcat loader owner who has been in the excavation business for nearly 30 years — the past 17 as a small business owner and Bobcat operator. He specializes in residential, commercial, agriculture and some utility work in his rural area. Having versatile Bobcat loaders and attachments makes it possible for him to easily transition between the different applications.
Choose your control pattern
His first Bobcat purchase 10 years ago was a T300 compact track loader. Prior to that, Yanish operated a different brand of compact loaders with over-the-tire steel tracks. He replaced that first machine with a second T300. Between the two machines, Yanish accumulated 5,000-plus hours of SJC operating time.
“When we’re working in the dirt, there’s no comparison between a rubber tire loader and compact track loader,” Yanish says. “The compact track loader offers improved traction and flotation; you’re not sinking in as you’re cutting a grade. The ground pressure (pounds per square inch) is just fabulous in a track loader. It’s a must for what we do.”
Yanish’s newest Bobcat loader is an M-Series T750 with an enclosed cab and Roller Suspension™ system. He says the loader cab, improved visibility and smoother ride are noticeable improvements from his previous model. “We do a lot of fine grading for building pads, getting it ready for them to pour concrete,” Yanish says, “and the forward visibility is huge for grading. It makes it a lot easier to see the attachment.”
A pressurized cab also makes a considerable difference for Yanish. “The reduced noise in the cab improves operator comfort. Since it’s pressurized, the cab in my T750 stays clean. And serviceability with the machine is also a big difference. The cooling system is much easier to clean.”
In conjunction with his partnership with Bobcat Company, Yanish was one of the first customers to benefit from improvements to his loader’s drive controls. When asked to describe the improved controllability on his new T750, Yanish had this to say:
“I have a machine that I feel comfortable at full throttle, doing any delicate work and having 100 percent control of the machine. The new joystick controls are fabulous. I have better maneuverability and control with my new T750.”
In addition to the opportunity to work with Bobcat Company representatives, Yanish says a big reason for his decision to continue purchasing Bobcat machines is the support he receives from his local Bobcat dealer, Farm Rite Equipment.
“My Bobcat dealer goes out of its way to get us back up and running to avoid downtime, either by getting someone on the job to fix the machine or bringing it to the dealership for immediate service. They’ll do everything in their power to get me a machine to get me back up and running. They always have what I need, parts-wise; they have a good inventory.”