Paul Pereira and RJ Dalling of Dalling Construction get up close to see the latest technology on the Cat 12M motorgrader.
Virtually every customer invited attended the Equipment & Technology Showcase hosted by H.O. Penn Machinery Co., Inc. and SITECH Metro Northeast, LLC on April 8, at the IUOE Local 478 Training Center in Meriden, Conn.
Clients were able to see, feel and demonstrate the latest advancements in guidance technology on a number of Caterpillar machines that H.O. Penn and its affiliate SITECH have to offer.
Over some 13 acres, operators learned about the ever-changing improvements in machine control technology in a fun, family-friendly environment where practice was encouraged for hours in the field.
Experts were on hand to answer questions while day-long demonstrations were held, videos displayed, software controls highlighted, centered around a marvelous catered luncheon.
Sales representative Jeff Dobosz helped operators work the controls on the newest guidance equipment offered by Caterpillar for its 323 excavator, including Cat Grade2D automatics.
“The automatics control the boom height and the bucket angle,” said Dobosz. “It upgrades to 3D. You can set and go.”
SITECH offers Cat Accugrade and Trimble brand technology solutions.
“We sell the technology that goes in the machine; the computer in the cab,” added Dobosz. “We are showing our customers what is available; basically, it's going to save time, fuel and materials. There are just a lot of ways to save money on construction by making the machines more efficient.”
Joe Parks, regional sales manager of H.O. Penn, echoed Dobosz.
“The operator can program how deeply he wants to dig and what slope he wants,” said Parks. “This technology enables the machine to not over dig or raise the boom over a set height to avoid overhead obstructions.”
You don't need GPS with this technology, Parks added. “The D5 dozer with their version of grade assist and slope assist on board, straight from the factory doesn't use GPS,” he said. “It allows a good operator to work faster and makes a novice operator an expert operator.”
The all-day demos took place on the ground of the Local Union 478 training facility where apprentices earn their stripes on the heavy iron in a rigorous and rewarding four-year training program.
“We invited all of our contractors and operators here today. We opened it up to any contractor in the state — Tilcon, Manafort Brothers, Garrity Asphalt, A & J Paving, and many others,” said Alan Bergstrom, training director. “Everyone from smaller guys to the largest players in the state.”
The technology is changing rapidly, added Bergstrom, and contractors have to keep up.
“It changes so rapidly. Back in the day, it was three to five years to see technology change; now, it's three to six months,” he added. “We need to get this to our members, they need to see it, to run it. Localize this on a scale that is manageable. We hope to do this [field demonstration] on a yearly basis.”
While the real iron was operating in six fields simultaneously, Ed Levandoski, software support specialist of SITECH, demonstrated the newest software for machine control, Trimble Earthworks and Site Positioning Systems SCS900. The simulations were virtual reality in the cab but at a practice station.
“All the equipment here will give you the line, grade, location and slope,” said Levandoski, manning the levers as if controlling a video game.
John Daddona, the apprentice coordinator of Local 478, found the day immensely rewarding for his young charges. He trains young operators who leave their apprenticeships for full company positions, once they have accrued many hours over several years.
“What this does for us, is to help these apprentices see what is coming out in tech. If we can get them introduced to this equipment, it gives them a heads up on entering the industry,” said Daddona.
For more information, visit hopenn.com and sitech-metronortheast.com.