Loader operators who work in applications that require two or more people, or who want to minimize worksite environment discomforts now have a solution – the loader radio remote control system from Bobcat Company.
The innovative Bobcat® loader radio remote control system enhances the capabilities of Bobcat skid-steer and compact track loaders with selectable joystick controls (SJC) and Bobcat all-wheel steer (AWS) loaders, offering a simple solution for customers who want to operate their loader remotely.
Operators can start the loader engine and operate the drive, lift, tilt and auxiliary hydraulic functions from approximately 1,500 feet away with the radio remote control transmitter. The transmitter joystick controls activate the loader’s joystick controls in the ISO control pattern. The system is useable for up to 15 hours on a rechargeable battery. In addition to being able to use the system in various climate conditions, operators can easily switch between “remote” control mode and “machine/direct” control mode.
Bobcat representatives say the radio remote control system option will be attractive to customers in several markets, including military, government, construction, landscaping and agriculture. The system will be especially beneficial to the military because of a military mandate that one third of all ground vehicles must be unmanned beginning in 2015. Other possible markets include shipping yards (for ship and barge unloading), nuclear power plants, foundries, mining, chemical plants and municipalities.
Concrete demolition, asphalt planing, firebreak construction, stump removal and poultry barn cleanup are just a few applications in which customers could utilize the Bobcat loader radio remote control system. For many of these applications, a two-person work crew is required. But with the radio remote control system, one person can complete these tasks while operating the loader using the remote control transmitter from outside the machine.
For example, two people are often required when using planers and wheel saws – one stands outside and helps guide the placement of the attachment using hand signals, while the other operates the loader. When the attachment is in use, the operator is subjected to noise and dust, and may need to wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE) depending on the application. The advantage of the loader radio remote control system is that one person can now perform the same work while standing at a safe distance from the loader, thus minimizing those jobsite discomforts and increasing productivity at the same time.
Besides planers and wheel saws, the loader radio remote control system is beneficial when used with hydraulic breakers for demolition, buckets and dozer blades for scraping out barges and ships, grapples for grabbing various materials, and trenchers and stump grinders for more visibility of the work area. The system, which has a maximum operation loader travel speed of 6.2 mph, is approved for use with dozens of different Bobcat attachments.
The Bobcat loader radio remote control system is not approved for certain types of hazardous or explosive environments (see the Operation, Maintenance and Parts Manual for more information); however, it does allow the operator to be separate from the loader. This can potentially increase productivity and comfort by not subjecting the operator to dusty and noisy environments.
Operators can easily attach the system to remote control-ready loaders. They simply attach the receiver and E-stop box to the machine using included attached magnets. Then, they connect the harness, remove the rear window (or install the Rear Window External Removal Kit), attach the Remote Ready Identification Tag and the machine is ready to be operated remotely.
The Bobcat loader radio remote control system is portable so customers with multiple machines in their fleet can quickly transfer the system from one Bobcat loader to another. The loader’s internal controllers must be programmed with the correct software version for the radio remote control system to function correctly. Older loader models may need a software upgrade. Customers should see their Bobcat dealer for software upgrades.
The Bobcat loader radio remote control system offers the following safety features:
· The Bobcat Loader Radio Remote Control Operator Training Course features video, hands-on and classroom training. The course includes operator training for individuals who also need basic operator loader training. Visit www.training.bobcat.com for more information about Bobcat training resources.
· An Operation, Maintenance and Parts Manual cabled to the transmitter.
· A transmitter tilt sensor stops the loader engine if the transmitter is tilted over 45 degrees in any direction. Transmitter joystick controls have a return to neutral feature.
· Red-colored emergency stop buttons are located on the transmitter and an E-stop box is affixed to the rear of the loader.
· A transmitter guard bar provides protection against bumping or damaging the control and also connects to shoulder and waist straps to position the transmitter in a comfortable position for operation of controls.
· Flashing green and amber strobe lights and horn for start-up and operation.
· Complies with ISO 15817 earthmoving machinery safety requirements for remote operator control.
The transmitter weighs 8.5 pounds without straps, and its actual transmitting range will vary depending upon worksite conditions; however, visual contact with the loader and its travel path is always required. The radio remote control system transmits on a license-free 2.4 GHz per FCC PART 18 (with interference-free frequency hopping spread spectrum). Transmitter and receiver configurations are factory-set and must be used as matched pairs.
Fifty years ago, Bobcat Company unleashed a way to work better, smarter, faster. During 2008, the company is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Bobcat compact equipment, which began with the M60 Melroe “Self-Propelled Loader” – a three-wheeled front-end loader – in 1958. That machine evolved into the Bobcat skid-steer loader and spawned the worldwide compact equipment industry. Today, Bobcat continues to lead the world in the design, manufacture and distribution of compact equipment.