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Posted: 09/01/2015

Improve Productivity with Smart Technologies

Bobcat T550 and T590 compact track loaders pushing dirt.

Compact equipment manufacturers have recently introduced some of the most sweeping changes in decades. Advancements include operator friendly designs, higher performance levels, increased working capabilities, smarter data capacity and significantly better engine efficiencies than previous models.

To make the best investment, and get more from your machine, it’s important to understand these technologies and how you can use them to reach higher levels of productivity.

Choice of controls

When you are able to choose the control system and pattern that work best for you, your productivity increases while fatigue decreases. For this reason, manufacturers may offer different hydraulic control setups, with foot pedals, hand controls and joystick controls among the options available.

For jobs that involve multiple operators, some manufacturers’ joystick control patterns can alternate between ISO and H-Pattern to match a particular operator’s preference. This plays a key role in maximizing comfort, efficiency and productivity.

Some controls also give you the ability to adjust response levels for varying conditions. Machines that offer a built-in speed management feature allow travel speed to be adjusted separately from engine speed to achieve optimal operating settings.

Right joystick of Bobcat selectable joystick control system.


Front-mount instrumentation panels provide improved cab visibility, comfort and performance management. By locating instrumentation panels in front of the operator, where they’re easier to see and reach, your line of site also aligns with the existing cab components and work group structures to maintain visibility to the attachment.

Today’s instrumentation panels have been engineered with data management technologies that use LCD screens to display machine and operator data. Some instrumentation systems also add functionality to capture user statistics, vitals, diagnostics, and individual fuel use and real-time fuel consumption, as well as:

  • User performance monitoring
    • Fuel consumption and efficiency modes
    • Attachment usage
    • Idle time data
    • Multi-language interfaces
  • Machine performance monitoring
    • Viewable job clock for certain attachments
    • Engine and hydraulic system maintenance intervals
    • Diagnostic capabilities
    • Machine access options, including keyless start for theft protection

Advanced engine emissions

The most significant changes in compact equipment are advances in engine exhaust aftertreatment technologies as a result of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions standards that have been implemented in recent decades. Most manufacturers have incorporated diesel oxidation catalysts (DOC) and diesel particulate filters (DPF) to achieve Tier 4 compliance.

Machine protection

Machine protection systems that monitor, manage and shut down the engine if needed are now available. These protection systems measure engine coolant and oil temperatures, and will manage other systems to reduce the chance of these fluids reaching a point where the machine has to be shut down.

Cold weather protection has also seen advancements in recent years, with systems in place to limit maximum engine speed when the engine temperature is too low. This aids in preventing premature wear or failure of engine components. Engine idle speed is raised slightly to help the engine reach its operating temperature faster.
As soon as the engine warms up to a predetermined temperature, the protection mechanism deactivates.

These are just some of the exceptional engineering developments in the always-changing compact equipment market. If you take the time to identify and understand these new technologies, you can significantly improve the volume of your work.

Deluxe instrumentation panel on Bobcat loaders.
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