Operators can now dig, lift and track large excavators from a safe distance at hazardous jobsites or remote locations. Cat Command for Excavating is now available for the 374 and 395 models.
The remote-control system – which can be operated from onsite or hundreds of miles away – provides contractors with three primary benefits:
Enhanced safety: Suitable applications include working on steep slopes, soft underfoot conditions, hazardous material handling and demolition. It also allows production to restart immediately following disruptive processes such as blasting in quarry applications. Increased productivity: Operators can move from one machine or one jobsite to the next with the touch of a button, saving time moving between locations and reducing the chance of falls from climbing on and off machines.A solution to combat the skilled labor shortage: Operators with physical limitations can comfortably run a machine from a station.
Both line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight operating options are available for Command for Excavating.
The Command console is ideal for short-term or emergency remote operation and is worn via a shoulder harness.
“Say you’re running in a safe environment, but you’ve got some work to do on a slope where there is some opportunity for danger,” says Cat product marketing consultant Mike Lenzie. “[The operator] can jump out, switch to remote-control mode, run it with that line-of-sight Cat Command console for an hour or two, and switch back to manual mode and continue operating.”
Using either a 900 MHz or 2.4 GHz frequency communications protocol, the console offers a machine control range reaching up to 437 ft. Built-in safety features stop all excavator movements if the remote shutdown switch is pressed, wireless communication is lost, or the console is tilted more than 45 degrees.
The Command station is a long-term solution for non-line-of-sight operation in an office onsite or a distant location.
“The station itself is set up with a seat that you would see in a Caterpillar piece of equipment. It has displays set up in front of you that mimic the exact display you would see inside the cab,” says Lenzie. “Then we have the ability to set up cameras not only on the piece of equipment but also at the site it’s running to give the operator the ability to visualize what he or she is doing.” Operation distance is limited only by the capabilities of the wireless network.
Users can control up to five different machines from the same or different locations, reducing downtime for shift changes or the need to travel to the jobsite. A touchscreen monitor similar to the in-cab display offers precise machine control, and screen mounts positioned in front of the user provide easy view of the excavator’s camera feeds.
Standard machine technologies including Grade Assist, Swing Assist and E-Fence can be set, activated and deactivated remotely.