Caterpillar expands remote-control operation to excavator line

By |  August 16, 2021
Photo: Caterpillar

Cat’s Command for Excavating controls allow users to experience the same machine response as if they were operating from inside the cab. Photo: Caterpillar

Caterpillar expanded its Cat Command remote-control operation software to select excavators.

According to Cat, Command for Excavating aims to enhance safe machine operation while reducing operator fatigue by removing operators from the machine in potentially hazardous operating environments.

Six Cat excavators spanning the 20- to 40-metric-ton class sizes – the Cat 320, 323, 326, 330, 336 and 340 models – can now be equipped with either line-of-sight or non-line-of-sight remote operating configurations through a dealer-installed field kit.

The kit features multiple cameras for non-line-of-sight operation from the Command station that offer a view of the area surrounding the machine, plus the ability to stream on-site video feeds, Cat says. In addition, a microphone, wireless receiver, antenna and indicator lights are mounted on top of the cab to minimize the risk of damage.

Command controls allow users to experience the same machine response as if they were operating from inside the cab, allowing a high level of productivity to be maintained from a safe distance, according to Cat. Machine technology features such as grade assist, swing assist and e-fence can also be set, activated and deactivated remotely without the operator needing to be inside the cab. Excavators can be switched between remote and manual operation via a ground-level switch.

Command for Excavating enables production to restart immediately following disruptive processes, such as blasting in quarry applications. It also enhances safety and improves machine productivity on a range of projects such as operating in unstable underfoot conditions, brownfields, shore work, demolition and site decommissioning, and stevedoring, Cat says.

The Command system includes two different remote operating options. The Command console is ideal for temporary or emergency remote operation with no on-site communications infrastructure required, offering line-of-sight machine control through a lightweight, compact console supported by a shoulder harness. The console controls all excavator functions up to 400 meters away with virtually no response delay. Built-in safety features stop all excavator movements if the remote-shutdown switch is pressed, wireless communication is lost or the console is tilted more than 45 degrees from the normal operating position.

The new Command station provides non-line-of-sight operation from on-site or many miles away, the company says, as distance is limited only by the capabilities of the wireless network. Reducing downtime for shift changes or the need to travel to the jobsite, operators can easily control up to five different machines at one or more sites from one station.

Carly Bemer

About the Author:

Carly Bemer (McFadden) is a former Associate Editor for Pit & Quarry.

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