Wheel Loader Walk-Around Procedure

This information is presented as a general walk-around guide for a mid-size Cat Wheel Loader. Check with your machines specific operator manual for a detailed walk-around inspection list.

While often an unappealing task to most operators, the daily walk-around inspection of your wheel loader is one of the days most important tasks to ensure you are operating safely, the machine is running efficiently, and you are lowering the risk of any unscheduled and costly maintenance. Continue reading “Wheel Loader Walk-Around Procedure”

GUIDE: How to Choose your Next Excavator

No one excavator is going to be right for every job, but with all the various the options of brands, models and types, which is the best option for your business?

The one that will provide the greatest return on what is often an expensive investment. The following article will highlight areas for you to consider and act as a discussion guide when you are talking with your equipment dealer. Continue reading “GUIDE: How to Choose your Next Excavator”

Excavator Proximity Risks

Working in proximity to mobile plant equipment is never safe and requires constant attention and management of risks to ensure a safe work environment.

Risks when working around an excavator

People can become complacent around equipment over time.
There can be a tendency for both the excavator operator and other workers on site to become complacent to the dangers of earthmoving equipment over time.

This also includes workers from other trade types who are not familiar with plant equipment operation and may be unaware of the visual limitations placed on the excavator operator when in the cab, and the movement types (direction/speed) of the equipment.

Continue reading “Excavator Proximity Risks”

Improving your Excavator Undercarriage Life

There is a general consensus that while excavator undercarriage accounts for approximately 15%-20% of the cost of the machine, it usually accounts for around 30%-50% of the repair costs over its lifetime.

While undercarriage wear is unavoidable, there are a number of things an operator can pro-actively do to increase the life of its components, thereby reducing the machines per-hour operating costs and reducing the risk of significant damage and repairs.

This proactive approach can be broken down into two areas; Good Operator Practices and Regular Review and Maintenance. Continue reading “Improving your Excavator Undercarriage Life”

Excavator Safety Checks

The following list provides a range of Excavator Safety tips, checks and reminders that should be reviewed before operating an excavator. Looking for more specific tips for operating a mini-excavator?

Walk-Around Checks of your Excavator

  • Carry out a work risk assessment prior to the task.
  • Wear suitable personal protective equipment while operating the excavator.
  • Ensure you have read and understand the operator manual & safety instructions prior to using the machine.
  • Check the excavator undercarriage including:
    • Each track for defects, appropriate tension, and cuts or damage to the track.
    • The drive sprockets and idlers for damage, removing any debris.
    • The drive motors for leaks.
  • Complete a 360 degree walk around of the equipment checking:
    • The hydraulic hose conditions.
    • The condition of the boom ram, dipper arm ram, and bucket ram.
    • Where appropriate make sure the bucket pins are securely in position and the safety clips are in position.
    • For manual quick hitch assemblies check for debris in the locking mechanism and that the locking pin is securely in position with the safety clip correctly inserted.
    • For hydraulic quick hitches, ensure the hydraulic pipe connections are secure and leak free. Remove any debris from the locking mechanism and ensure the jaws are locating correctly.

Continue reading “Excavator Safety Checks”

Mini-Excavator Undercarriage Retraction Steps

The below video from Cat Landscaping and Construction demonstrates the steps to extend or retract the undercarriage of a Cat Mini-Excavator including the tracks and dozer blade to allow the machine to operate in tight access locations.

  1. With the dozer blade in front of the machine apply downward pressure on the blade to lift the machine off the ground.
  2. Rotate the machine so the blade is at the rear of the machine.
  3. Place the bucket on the ground.
  4. Use the boom controls to then elevate the machine completely off the ground.
  5. Activate the undercarriage extension switch.
  6. Use the blade controls to extend or retract the undercarriage.
  7. Return the undercarriage extension switch to its normal position.
  8. Use the boom controls to carefully lower the front of the machine to the ground.
  9. Rotate the cab 180 degrees to face the blade.
  10. Carefully raise the dozer blade to lower the machine to the ground.
  11. Place the bucket on the ground.
  12. Exit the machine to retract the blade.
  13. Unpin the blade extension wing, push back the wing and replace the blade pin.

Continue reading “Mini-Excavator Undercarriage Retraction Steps”

Mini-Excavator Operating Tips

Mini-Excavators are one of the most highly versatile pieces of equipment on a work site. But getting the most from your investment in both productivity and lifetime value is largely dependant on how your operators use the machine. Below are a set of useful reminders and operating tips for your Mini-Excavator for maximum value.

Note: Plantman Equipment recommends you are properly training in the operation of the machine and have adequately reviewed the machine’s specific operation manual and are familiar with its recommended operation prior to using the equipment. Continue reading “Mini-Excavator Operating Tips”

Operator Tips: Mini-Excavator Blade Positioning

Operation and handling of a Mini or Compact Excavator can be very different than their heavier counterparts, for instance the blade positioning on a 3 tonne (and below) excavator becomes very important during operation. Understanding the limits of your machine will assist with your safety & productivity.

The below video from Cat Landscaping & Construction provides an overview of the correct method for positioning your blade when digging, travelling and loading the excavator on a trailer.

Correct Blade Positioning when Digging

On a compact excavator it is important to have the blade positioned behind you. By doing this it is pinning the machine to the ground when the bucket digs in allowing the machine and the hydraulics to work in the way they were designed to.

Should you have had the blade positioned in front of you when digging, a 3 tonne and below mini excavator will immediately tilt and lift the tracks and cab off the ground running the risk of rotating the machine over. Continue reading “Operator Tips: Mini-Excavator Blade Positioning”