Compact Equipment

JAN 2019

Compact Equipment is a magazine dedicated to equipment owners and operators of small, nimble, tool-carrying construction, landscape and ag equipment — such as skid steers, mini excavators, compact tractors, generators compressors and beyond.

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Page 30 of 59

Bobcat — the manufacturer that wrote the first chapter in the skid steer story — is offering operators a full-color rear camera kit to keep track on what's happening back there. The rear display is on 4.3-in. anti-glare LCD monitor with a backlit screen. Jason Boerger, Bobcat marketing manager, notes that the camera and monitor are intended for use in all appli- cations including construction. The camera and readout display have been engineered to be dust and water proof. Internal heaters in the camera keep condensation and ice from the lens so operators can see clearly behind them in any environment ranging from crunchy -40-degree Fahr- enheit days to sweltering 185-degree days. Such extreme work conditions are, admittedly, rare, but operators can- not use camera dysfunction as an excuse to beg off when the extremes occur. Last year, Bobcat introduced a 5-link torsion suspension undercarriage on its M2 Series T870 compact track loader. The system provides greater stability during grading work and smoother rides generally. It is a durable undercarriage and reduces track wear with an automatic track tensioning system to ensure optimal life for the track. Other fresh engineering innovations where the rubber meets the soil include airless radial tires, which are now available on all Case Construction skid steer models. The Michelin X-Tweel SSL tires are factory-approved additions to the Case skid steer lineup. The all-terrain airless tires are said to have a life two or three times that of pneumatic tires and can be retread numerous times. Some new-look tracks are being offered by Deere. They feature a bar tread that is proving advantageous in diverse conditions. "One of our customers told us he wanted something that didn't create as much ground disturbance as the tires he was using. We are offering the bar tread as sort of an all-season solution. It is good on soft ground, but it also will bite snow better." JCB continues to build its reputation as a single-boom alternative to twin-boom skid steers. Last year, it launched its "teleskid" model, the first telescopic boom for compact machines. The sliding boom gives JCB industry bragging rights for best reach, depth and height. All of these evolutionary advances in skid steer/track loader technology come at little or no sacrifice in reli- ability. "Some people believed that the introduction of electronics and complex components would mean more failures. What we have seen is that the durability of our components is better today than in the past," Zupancic says. Consequently, Deere and some other manufacturers now offer two-year or two-year/2,000-hour standard war- ranties on their skid steers and compact track loaders. Zu- pancic notes that "it doesn't cost us more to offer the lon- ger warranties and it protects our customers." Giles Lambertson is a freelance writer for Compact Equipment . Doosan Bobcat North America Partners with SafeAI for Advanced Autonomous Research AI in compact equipment will hopefully be a thing soon. Doosan Bobcat North America thinks so. The company has partnered with SafeAI — a startup lo- cated in Silicon Valley — to explore how advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technologies could be in- corporated into Bobcat equipment. Through this pi- lot program, SafeAI plans to demonstrate how the latest AI technologies, Deep Neural Networks (DNN) and Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL), can be used to perceive complex dynamic environments around equipment and provide automated control. "We live in an on-demand, highly connected world," says Joel Honeyman, vice president of global innova- tion at Doosan Bobcat North America. "The customers who purchase our machines expect to have the latest and greatest technology at their fingertips. Through our partnership with SafeAI, we hope to work toward our ultimate goal of enabling our customers to work more efficiently on the jobsite." Bobcat already offers remote control technology. AI is next.

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