To further highlight how Milton CAT can help improve grading accuracy, two stationary excavators were demoed: a 320 excavator with a Rototilt bucket and a 3D Earthworks GPS system and a mini-excavator with a 2D Earthworks system for laser bench operation.
To showcase the new Cat D1, D2 and D3 Next Generation dozers and reengage with customers after more than a year without events due to the global pandemic, Milton CAT hosted Grade Expectations, a two-day product demonstration event, at seven of its Northeast locations. SITECH Northeast also demonstrated how Trimble's 2D and 3D grade control technology can complement the standard Cat technology and take a machine to the next level.
The events provided attendees with ample seat-time and one-on-one attention from Milton CAT and SITECH Northeast experts by having guests register for a specific hour-long time slot in advance. To ensure proper social distancing, only three companies with two representatives each could sign up for each time slot. After COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, the time slot format will continue to be used at Milton CAT events because of the personalized experience it offers.
To expose guests to a wide variety of machine technology, attendees rotated through three stations where field representatives instructed from a distance. Jordan May of Earth Development LLC explained, "I tried out four or five machines that I hadn't played with before" at the Clifton Park Grade Expectations event. The hands-on opportunity showed customers exactly how their businesses could benefit from the advanced equipment.
As the D3K2, D4K2 and D5K2's successors, the Next Gen dozers feature advanced technology, accuracy improving design changes, and a low-emission, fuel-efficient Cat C3.6 diesel engine to optimize speed, maneuverability and versatility. The new lower sloping hood enhances the operator's forward visibility allowing for better job site awareness.
To minimize owning and operating costs and ensure their dozer is best suited for their specific application, customers have options for undercarriage configurations and systems. For undercarriage configurations, they can choose between the standard and the low ground contact pressure (LGP). The dozers' guarded track roller frame helps reduce undercarriage wear and the large, double reduction planetary final drive provides the strength to push heavy loads.
Maintaining a smooth grade is easy with standard Slope Indicate and Stable Blade. Additional grade technology in Slope Assist can save even more time by making it easier to achieve grade by dialing in blade mainfall and cross slope to automatically maintain the operator's established grade. No matter what the conditions are outside, the operator will stay comfortable in the ergonomic cab with adjustable seat and armrests and optional heated seat and joysticks.
To further increase accuracy and efficiency, the demo dozers were outfitted with Android-based Trimble Earthworks systems. The dozers come with quick connects mounted on the hood, mast mounts attached to the blade, and additional brackets and wiring making installation simple. With operator friendly graphics, configurable multi-window views and regular software updates, the Trimble Earthworks software is intuitive and easy to learn.
At station one, guests graded with a D1 dozer equipped with a 2D Earthworks single laser system incorporating the Caterpillar Slope Assist IMU sensor mounted to the blade. 2D Earthworks offers elevation and slope guidance while measuring the lift, tilt and slope of the blade creating flat or sloped surfaces. As job site demands change, a 2D system can be easily upgraded to a 3D grade control system which will follow a pre-determined surface model of the plans. This capability eliminates job site staking and significantly increases efficiency.
A D3 dozer with a 3D Earthworks GPS roof-mounted system was demoed at station two. 3D Earthworks incorporates the whole project by measuring the machine's exact position with satellite coordinates and compares that data to the loaded project design to achieve millimeter accuracy with fewer passes and no grade foreman.
In addition to the Next Gen dozers, the Grade Expectations events highlighted the grading capabilities of Cat compact track loaders with smart attachments and Trimble systems. A 259D3 CTL communicated with a GB120 grader blade allowing the operator to easily tilt, lift and angle the blade with the right joystick. With the ASSIST feature enabled, the operator can select a blade slope and recall that angle at any time. The productivity and control of the smart attachments can be enhanced by a SITECH laser, GPS, or universal total station system. The Smart Grader Blade outfitted with 3D Trimble GPS was popular among attendees and garnered many positive comments.
Several precautions were put in place to ensure customers could experience the benefits of onboard technology in a productive and safe learning environment. Face masks and social distancing were required. Milton CAT face coverings and high-visibility vests were provided if customers did not have their own. For contact tracing purposes, visitors completed a QR health survey before entering the demo area. Thirty minutes separated each session to allow time to clean seats and customers to exit. Multiple hand sanitizing stations were set up throughout the events.
Each event was at capacity demonstrating there is high interest in the Next Gen machines and that customers are ready to move forward after COVID-19. Milton CAT customers offered great feedback and felt energized by the face-to-face interactions. Chris Dudley from BOCES Southern Adirondack Education Center explained, "the Next Generation machines are really impressive, especially the dozers. The way they operate. The way they run. The quietness in the cab. The response time is amazing."
With more than 300 individuals attending the seven events, Milton CAT considers Grade Expectations a success. Gib Gagnon, vice president of machine sales, explained, "The timing was right. These events were a great opportunity to show-off the new Cat dozer line-up and reconnect with customers."
Although meetings and product demonstrations will look different in our new reality, it is possible to host productive events in which meaningful relationships are fostered.
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