Caterpillar’s D3-series skid steers and compact track loaders can soon be equipped with Cat Command. The line-of-sight or non-line-of-sight remote operation system, which is already available on many of Cat’s excavator, wheel loader and dozer models, offers both safety and workforce development benefits. Attendees at World of Concrete in Las Vegas were able to test the technology by remotely operating a skid steer located at Cat's Clayton, North Carolina facility.
With the operator pool getting smaller, the technology enables contractors to hire employees who are physically unable to get into the machine. It also keeps existing employees out of harm’s way when operating in challenging or hazardous environments such as stevedoring, steel mill blast furnaces, industrial and waste, demolition, and site decommissioning.
"The operator actually has better visibility with cameras than he does from the cab. You don't have all the posts and obstructions that structure of the machine gives you, especially on a machine like a skid steer where it's very blind to the rear," says Cat Market Professional Brad Van De Veer.
The Command of Loading kit can be easily installed by a dealer.
The line-of-sight system includes:
- Indicator lights
- Wireless receiver
The antennas are installed on the cabin roof, with the Command activation switch mounted behind a lockable door with ground-level access. The shoulder harness control console allows the operator to control machine startup/shutdown, bucket rack/dump and lift/lower, rpm, horn, creep control, and auxiliary hydraulic functionality from a distance of up to 984 feet.
Two options are available with different levels of functionality and complexity to meet users' needs.
The non-line-of-sight system adds front, rear and side cameras for 360-degree viewing.
Command controls are integrated with machine electronics, allowing users to experience the same control response as they would operating inside the cab.
Inside the non-line-of-sight Command station, one operator can connect to multiple machines from a single station, controlling one machine at a time. Station components include:
- Machine joystick and foot pedal controls for all Command technology-capable machines.
- A touchscreen mount for machine control.
- Universal screen mounts for camera displays of the skid steer or CTL.
Several integrated safety features can stop the machine instantly from either the station, console or jobsite. Machine shutdown will occur if the All-stop switch is pressed; Command stop switch is activated; wireless communication is lost; a severe fault is detected; or the Command console is tilted more than 60 degrees from normal operating position.
An optional remote All-stop switch control is available for site personnel working around non-line-of-sight Command skid steer or compact track loaders. In addition, Cat says most of its customers using this technology keep the area roped off and clearly marked to stop workers from entering.
Command for Loading for Cat D3 series skid steer and compact track loaders is projected to be available in the third quarter of 2022.