Construction Services

Volvo Tests World’s First Remote-Controlled Wheel Loader for Forestry Applications

Volvo Construction Equipment says it has tested remote control technology in its most challenging application yet. The manufacturer is the first in the world to tele-operate a wheel loader over a 5G network in a forestry setting. The demonstration showcased an L180 high-lift wheel loader picking, loading and organizing logs, while its operator safely sat hundreds of miles away.  

Volvo partnered with telecom operator Telia, timber and paper manufacturer SCA, Mid University Sweden, Skogforsk and Biometria on the research project. The companies seek to develop safer, more productive timber processes and explore its potential as an enabler for automation.

Remote control processes could allow one operator to work across multiple – and sometimes isolated – sites around the world.

“We expect tele-operation to open up far greater opportunities for operators than is currently available,” says Christian Spjutare, advanced engineering program manager, Volvo CE. “Sometimes it can be difficult to hire people in timber terminals because of their remote locations. But tele-operation allows people to work from any location, no matter the distance, making it a more desirable work setting, with the added advantage of more efficient and sustainable work logistics.”

The technology is also expected to make operations both safer, by removing humans from potentially hazardous environments, and more sustainable, through more efficient logistics flows as the loading and unloading of timber can also be done during the night.

“This partnership is a fine example of how remote control with the latest technology can contribute to more efficient and sustainable construction solutions in the forestry industry,” says Magnus Leonhardt, director, head of business development and innovation, Telia. “A secure and robust digital infrastructure is crucial for this. The unique technical qualities that 5G offers are also entirely critical, in which extremely quick response times and high capacity enable immediate feedback between operator and machine, which is a prerequisite for being able to safely control machines remotely.”

Operator Feedback is Critical

Feedback from operators is vital for developing the tele-operation system.Volvo Construction EquipmentUnderstanding exactly what is required from an operator perspective in making tele-operation a user-friendly and efficient experience is another important component of the project. Because each load of timber can be so varied, it is vital that the lifting process is carried out with pinpoint accuracy and precise handling. As a result, a number of connected cameras and sensors have been placed around the machine to transmit real-time data via the Telia 5G network back to the control station.

Volvo says it will continue to develop the technology through continued testing and operator feedback. While full automation of complex forestry applications may not be possible anytime soon, the research will allow for incremental integration of automated processes for customers.

“This research project gives us an opportunity to test our teleoperation platform in a new application with high precision requirements and learn how the system needs to be designed to meet industry needs. Insights from partial manual and tele-operated management enables us to also take steps towards automation in more complex processes,” says Christian. 

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Construction Services

Need a Part Tomorrow? Cat Will Guarantee it Arrives or Give You Credit

In these days of parts scarcity and increased project demands, Cat has two service offers that might catch your attention.

Within Cat’s Customer Value Agreements (CVA) is a new feature Cat is calling a “Services Commitment Program.” Introduced in July in the U.S. (Canadian customers will see it in January), the program has two components: a parts availability commitment and service response time commitment. These are available on machines less than 10 years old that are covered by a new or renewed CVA.

Parts availability: Cat guarantees maintenance and common repair parts will be available to CVA customers when they need them. If a maintenance part is not available by the end of the next business day or Cat can’t get it to you Cat will credit you up to $1,000 for the amount of the unavailable parts. For common repair parts on dealer-performed service, the $1,000 credit applies at the end of the second business day.

Service response time: This ensures that you will have priority appointment scheduling, getting the next available slot in the dealer’s shop. Diagnostics are run before the machine comes in or the technician arrives, and the customer receives progress updates as their machine is serviced. 

“Customers continue to choose CVAs in record numbers,” says Marcy Bytner, Cat marketing consultant. “In fact, 60% of our construction industry machines are sold with CVA, and 45% of those customers choose to renew.”

Self-service options

CaterpillarManaging most of your own repairs? Cat’s new Self-Service Options (SSO) offering is aimed at you.

“Typically a customer has to do all the research on a repair and sometimes guess as to what parts are needed,” says Mike Hernandez, Cat program manager. “SSOs take out the guesswork and make the repair process easier and more convenient.”

Working at your direction on what repair you want to make, Cat will put together an SSO package that includes the parts, instructions and recommended tooling to complete the specific work on more than 300 models. Repairs covered include minor engine bolt-ons, service brakes for drivetrains, replacing batteries and alternators, hydraulics and implement controls. The service instructions are available in 10 different languages.

“This is not a traditional kit, which is typically a fixed quantity of parts in box sitting on the shelf,” Hernandez says. Instead, each SSO can be customized to include only the parts and tooling you need to complete the repair by yourself. Customers can then complete the repair in-house and on their own schedule.

SSOs can be ordered online at Cat’s parts store or by contacting your local Cat dealer. The dealer fills the order, and if questions arise during the repair, your service tech can receive additional support from the dealer. “Customers are not alone in the repair journey,” Hernandez says.

Cat is concentrating on its small and compact equipment first with this program. Machines include compact track loaders, skid steers, compact wheel loaders, backhoes, compact excavators, small wheel loaders and dozers and telehandlers. As new machines are introduced, new Cat SSO packages will be developed. 

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Construction Management

Randall-Reilly acquires data assets from Informa

Randall-Reilly, Equipment World’s parent company, has acquired Informa’s Asset Intelligence Business unit, comprised of Equipment Watch, Price Digests and FleetSeek.

The trio of brands provide proprietary pricing data, information and insights to businesses making decisions and investments in heavy construction equipment, commercial vehicles and other infrastructure assets.

“Strategically, these highly regarded brands really help us advance our progress toward being the go-to source for pricing and analytics in America’s most vital industries,” says Matt Reilly, president and CEO of Randall-Reilly. “They’re a perfect complement to our equipment market intelligence platforms, EDA and Rig Dig, and, our performance-based used equipment marketplace.”

Equipment Watch is a leader in construction equipment valuation and operating cost data to contractors and state DOT’s. Price Digests is a top provider of commercial truck information and valuation data to insurers and others along the commercial vehicle value chain. FleetSeek is a database of 500k carriers with market intelligence used by trucking product and service providers.

“We wish the Asset Intelligence team continued success under their new ownership,” says Simon Ferguson, president at Informa Intelligence. “They have much to be proud of, and we are confident that Randall-Reilly will fuel further growth for these industry-leading brands.”

“Adding these insights to our existing platforms means no other company better understands heavy equipment buyer behavior and risk profile, than Randall-Reilly,” says Prescott Shibles, EVP & Division GM of Randall-Reilly.

Randall-Reilly is a leading data, pricing and analytics platform for transportation, construction, agriculture and other industrial markets.

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