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Taking advantage of on-board tech to enhance operator skills

The state of a machine’s undercarriage can significantly impact performance. A well cared for undercarriage will help to maximise power, increase safety and stability and will keep operational repair costs to a minimum over a machine’s lifecycle.  

A daily walk around a machine is a simple but very effective way for operators to identify any obvious issues or damage to the undercarriage. Not doing this can cost you – both in terms of any repairs needed – not to mention the costs associated with machine downtime.  

Regularly checking your undercarriage will also enable you to get a clearer view on what worn looks like. The rate of wear, very much depends on the environment the machine is working in. For example, a machine operating in a quarry to excavate granite is putting a great deal of strain on the machine. While other materials such as clay or sand can increase the track tension when solidified. 

Certain operational movements can also increase the level of undercarriage damage. These include, for example, making sharp turns, excessive reversing or driving at high speeds. In addition, not having the track tension correctly adjusted can also cause damage over time as will the build-up of dirt and debris causing tracks to stretch and then ultimately break.  

Cleaning the tracks thoroughly, particularly in wintery conditions, is also essential to avoid materials drying or freezing on the undercarriage overnight. Scheduling regular maintenance sessions alongside frequent daily spot checks will reduce the risk of damage and more costly repairs down the line as well as reduced productivity.  

Taking advantage of on-board tech to enhance operator skills Taking advantage of on-board tech to enhance operator skills
Fence Fence
This is an entry-level grading system that enables operators to select a target depth and slope via the in-cab guidance system. The advanced monitor guides the operator with visual and audio feedback to work to their target. Acting as an integrated depth measurement system, it will work to set measurements from a benchmark position. Particularly suitable for operators working in and around footings, septic systems and digging out foundations for house building development works.  

Training on the system is crucial to get the most out of the features and fully utilise its potential. In addition, using Indicate on groundworks improves accuracy, reduces operator fatigue (from not over cutting, over swinging and reworking) and is much safer for those on site, as it significantly reduces the need for on-the-ground grade checking.  

E-fence acts as a motion control function, which removes a lot of risk from typical site tasks especially when working around power lines, underground cables and near electrical utilities. Operators can simply pre-set a maximum depth, height, wall or swing boundary and the system automatically restricts the machine from going beyond the set fields. An invaluable tool in today’s jobsite, E-Fence makes it much safer for those working on site, as well as reducing the risk of damaging equipment or structures.  
Swing assist
This feature automatically stops the machine swing at set points and is ideal for loading trucks, trench works or similar applications. Also referred to as ‘return-to-trench’, operators can swing out and activate the stopping point on the control panel. As the swing approaches the limit, the machine will automatically decelerate so it doesn’t go past its set point. This feature really comes into its own for those highly repetitive tasks, and drastically improves operator speed and accuracy, which in turn improves efficiency and reduces fuel usage.  
Bucket Assist
When enabled, Bucket Assist will maintain the current bucket angle, relative to true level. This helps keep the cut accurate when grading, and also helps reduce operator fatigue, while maintaining accuracy during sloping, levelling and trenching. 
Training for optimum use and value 

Used in combination, these features can significantly reduce the day-to-day operating costs of a machine and impact the total cost of ownership. The features give the operator a helping hand enabling them to utilise the full capabilities of the equipment so they can run it to an optimum level across a range of onsite tasks, which leads to better fuel efficiency, reduced downtime and longer lifespan of the machine.  

But training is really the key factor. A large proportion of operators just don’t make use of them and take advantage of the operational benefits they offer. Having a good understanding of what the features are and how to use the controls effectively to get the most out of a machine is so important and can enable operators to complete tasks more quickly and effectively.  

As standard Finning UK & Ireland provides a full overview of the built-in technology features when handing over new equipment to customers. We’ve also developed a series of short instruction videos that are available on YouTube to show step-by-step how the features work and how operators can get the most out of them.    

Check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLm8lTgDqLtG09MsodrXCscHlhzvgrfNY1

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