On the right track with Caterpillar
Prolec's specially designed strain gauge weighing system is now on the production line at Caterpillar.
The team at Prolec was approached nearly five years ago by Caterpillar to develop a weighing system which could be incorporated onto the articulated dump trucks (ADTs) it manufactures in the UK.
The two businesses collaborated on the development, extensive testing and eventual manufacture of a payload management system which is now being fitted on the truck production line.
The system comprises a set of strain gauges attached to the 'walking beams' underneath the main carrying bucket of the trucks. These detect minute changes in strain on the beams, sending the information to an electronic computer unit in the driver's cab to indicate the weight of the load.
"The system will help to improve productivity, efficiency and profitability because it can optimise the payload on every trip and shift."
Explains David Menon, Prolec's managing director.
"Both the driver of the ADT and loader receive real-time payload data which allows them to reduce overloads and underloads and thereby increase site efficiency."
The payload system informs the driver (via a screen in the cab) and the loader (via a set of lights) when the payload is at optimal weight. This effectively reduces the number of cycles and wear on the ADT.
"Prolec's core business relates to retrofitting our systems onto existing vehicles and equipment, so this marks a positive development for the company in line with our marketing strategy."
"We are very proud to have cooperated on the development of this new product in conjunction with a major original equipment manufacturer. Our system is now a factory fit supply item which will increase productivity for Caterpillar's customers."
The system avoids the inefficiencies of under-loading and the expensive consequences of over-loading which can lead to vehicle damage. It also allows the operator to monitor daily production and payload values.
The project has had a long development and testing phase, but Prolec's senior development engineer, Neil McLaughlin played a central role throughout.
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