Milton CAT recently hosted a “Grade Us” field day at its Syracuse, N.Y., facility to introduce the newest grade control, machine automation and GPS hardware and software. The event was planned to give guests a chance to have one-on-one talks and to operate Cat machinery — excavators, skid steers, dozers, a roller and motorgrader — featuring different versions of the new grading technology, from laser and GPS automation to a total robotic station solution.
“Milton CAT has made a serious commitment to sharing information with companies on the latest technology that can provide them with a powerful competitive advantage,” said Vice President of Marketing Larry Cutliffe.
Representatives from more than 100 companies located throughout New York were in attendance, some actually sending their employees to both days. Attendants ranged from owners and presidents of large regional companies, vice presidents of operations, equipment managers, supervisors, surveyors, field engineers and foremen to superintendents, local union trainers and students.
Nine stations were spread over the site, highlighting different aspects of grade control, machine automation and GPS systems. Layout and As-Builts, compact automation, stakeless roadbuilding, finish grade, intelligent compaction and the “ultimate dozing package” were stations staged outdoors, while a closer look at the pitfalls of staking for site control, 3-D site modeling and an overview of machine automation were presented inside a tent.
Breakfast, snacks and lunch also were served inside the tent and allowed guests and hosts to sit down and chat in an informal atmosphere.
Milton technology partner Keystone Precision Instruments, the sales and service organization supporting Trimble products in the Northeast, was well-represented at the event and was enthusiastic about the concept in general and the way in which it was implemented, with a combination of presentations, Q&A opportunities and hands-on demonstrations.
Milton CAT personnel were focused on making sure their guests were comfortable, had access to any information they needed or could talk to any expert they wanted to reach.
“It’s the best way to give information about anything new, not just talking and showing slides and figures but letting people try it themselves,” said Ben Thirkield, Milton CAT training manager and a veteran of the training department.
Gino Zagarrio of Destro Brothers saw how the new technology can fit his needs.
“This has the potential to save a lot of time and can make an average grade job, an exceptional grade job,” he said. “Investing in GPS gives us a chance to stay ahead of the competition.”
The local Operating Engineers realized that grade control and automation are the way of the future and took home a D6N XL automated unit on which to train their operators.
Several representatives from Cat corporate flew from Peoria, Ill., to attend “Grade Us,” meet with Milton CAT customers and get a first hand, gloves-off feel for the challenges faced by business owners in the region.
“This is the way to go,” was the opinion of Dave Stafford, Caterpillar Technology Solutions representative, commenting on Milton CAT’s strategy of inviting customers not to “sell” to them but to share information.
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