Staying on track with integrated technologies

Caterpillar’s integrated payload systems represent an ideal productivity measure for quarry and aggregate customers. Fitting a payload scale to a wheel loader means trucks in the pit are loaded to capacity to improve production, maximising the load and haul cycle.

Moreover, having payload data visible in the loader cabin in real time means the on-board scales assist the operator to achieve target payloads, which can save time and fuel.

The loader operator can load on-highway trucks with confidence, and that means maximising payloads on every load.

In the quarry pit, payload scales fitted to the fleet of rigid or articulated haul trucks ensure they too are loaded to capacity without overloading, and that means less likelihood of accidents including tip-overs, tyre damage or failure, limiting load stress on drivelines and reducing haul road damage.

Tyre damage alone from overloading can be a costly factor. Even with proper inflation and normal working temperature, a 20 per cent overload can lead to a 50 per cent reduction in tyre life.

The latest Caterpillar range of medium and large wheel loaders, C-series articulated trucks and G-series rigid body trucks all offer payload monitoring systems that can be viewed in-cab as well as remotely, providing a valuable fleet and production management tool.

Cat payload systems combined with LINK telematics technology, such as Product Link, allow the site manager to analyse cycle times and the number of passes and payload data, to determine if site changes are needed to optimise utilisation efficiency and profitability, as well as keep an eye on fleet health and utilisation.

“The beauty of these systems is that that all components are integrated with the machine and no additional in-cab screens, radio hardware or software subscriptions are needed,” Caterpillar’s construction technology specialist Chris Barrett said.


A great feature of the new K-series wheel loader payload system is “on-the-go” weighing, according to Barrett.

“The system automatically weighs each bucket load as the load is raised, without any need for the operator to hesitate or stop the lift cycle,” he said.

“The system features a fully integrated screen displaying bucket payload weight and a cumulative total in-cab, and also stores truck loads, truck identification and target weights, as well as material type and the loader ID.

“For customers that require a written record of truck payloads, an optional printer is available. The system can store up to 1400 truckloads, 20 material types and up to 50 truck descriptions and target weights. Available factory fitted, the system can also be post-fitted to many 950 and above K-series loaders.”


{{image2-A:R-w:250}}One feature on the new C-series articulated dump trucks is the new optional payload system, which calculates payload values using walking beam sensors, showing data in real time on a full colour, in-cab display.

“The system allows total tonnes, haul cycles and truck utilisation to be tracked by site and is easily reset by the operator to allow close tracking of productivity,” Barrett said.


On rigid body haul trucks, the payload system uses suspension strut pressures to calculate the load value, and again displays this inside the cab for the operator.

Both articulated and rigid series trucks can be fitted with optional external “green and red” load status lights, to help the loader operator achieve the correct payload every time.

{{image3-A:R-w:250}}“It is a simple but valuable visual tool for loader operators to reference,” Barrett said. “The green light will turn on and stay active until a load is near target, then the red light will flash for indication of the last pass requirement and, once target payload is reached, the red light will remain solid.”

Integrating on-board payload systems with Cat LINK machine reporting technology (see below) allows owners to access calculations such as payload per fuel burn and payload per cycle, which can assist in optimising machine performance and provide an accurate calculation of the cost of the load and haul system.


Barrett explained that all Cat construction, quarry and aggregate machines come factory fitted with Caterpillar LINK technologies – the Product Link telematics hardware and the easy to use web/mobile interface VisionLink.

“Combining payload systems with telematics allows information to be accessed remotely, to manage overall operations and keep production targets on track,” he said.

“It allows the fleet manager or owner access to detailed daily reports on a wide variety of metrics, including loader and truck productivity (tonnes per hour and tonnes per cycle) and efficiency with fuel burn per tonne.

“Furthermore, fleet view lets the manager compare productivity between various machine operators on the same or different sites, which is a great tool to benchmark productivity and highlight any training needs the operator may require.”

{{image4-A:R-w:250}}Importantly, Caterpillar LINK telematic technologies can also be post-fitted to older machines and non-Cat equipment, allowing complete job site connectivity and management.

“This allows customers to better manage the whole fleet, by automatically tracking machine performance data such as machine hours, fuel usage, idle time and health event codes,” Barrett said. “In a quarrying application, you can install

Product Link on your earthmoving fleet but also on plant such as an aggregate screen or crusher engines.

“Even if it’s an older engine with no electronic controls, Caterpillar offers fuel flow monitoring and engine sensor kits and has customisable digital switches that can be set to monitor vitals such as air filter restrictions, low engine oil pressure and high coolant temperature.”

Alerts can be sent via an SMS or email, providing immediate notification if an event occurs that may be the difference in “dusting” or overheating a crusher engine and causing significant damage and costs.

The VisionLink software has built-in maintenance, fleet health and reporting tools to help owners or fleet managers track and plan for service procedures and avoid major equipment failures.

“More and more customers are using telematics to monitor their fleet, as tracking something simple such as idle time can lead to huge savings,” Barrett said.

“A mid-sized wheel loader clocking about 2000 hours a year at 35 per cent idle time costs about $5000 per annum at current fuel prices.” 

The information in VisionLink can also be streamed into other applications such as business accounting tools or maintenance software packages, to keep machine hours and service schedules automatically up to date. It also allows Cat dealers to offer equipment management, fleet monitoring solutions and fleet benchmarking reports to customers.

Barrett said the development of Caterpillar technology continued apace. “It’s exciting what’s happening in the machine productivity space with integration of technology on Cat machines, and there is more to come in the near future – all of which will add to productivity gains and lower costs for the aggregate industry.”

Source: Caterpillar Australia

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