Finning and Veolia trial new Caterpillar joystick steering
Two 950M wheel loaders undergoing rigorous testing in waste-handling environment
CATERPILLAR dealers Finning UK & Ireland and waste-management operators Veolia are trialing two Cat 950M wheel loaders with joystick steering at a recycling depot in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire.
The new Caterpillar joystick steer feature is said to be unique in its class, offering better manoeuvrability, improved safety and increased comfort to UK mobile plant operators in the waste-management and recycling sector.
The joystick is mounted on the side of the seat, so that it swings simultaneously with the seat as the machine moves. During the field trials, operators have reported a reduction in arm fatigue after a day of productivity, which is a significant health and safety benefit and proves to be ergonomically better than having a fixed steering wheel.
Cat machinery specified with a joystick means the steering wheel is removed, improving all-round visibility during mobile plant movement. The joystick also features a switch to select gears and buttons to choose between forward, neutral and reverse.
Larger Caterpillar machines already have joystick steering fitted as standard, but medium-sized plant operating in the recycling and waste-management sector currently have the joystick feature as an optional extra.
‘The Veolia plant in Kirkby-in-Ashfield has a lower staff turnover than other recycling plants, so this is the perfect environment to test such machines,’ said Robert Oliphant, head of fleet and support services for Veolia UK & Ireland.
‘The Cat 950M loaders articulate at the same speed as the joystick which gives the operator much greater responsiveness. The joystick is very intuitive, and the machine basically goes where you point it. With the joystick, the many tiring wheel turns are a thing of the past – now it is all in the wrist.’