Interview with Jay Quatro: More Advanced Systems

RER continues its series of interviews with earthmoving manufacturers with Jay Quatro, Wacker Neuson, product application and training specialist. He discussed advancements in telematics, new battery technologies, the challenge of educating customers on new technology, and why Tier 4 was the push the industry needed.

RER: What are the latest technological developments with your equipment?

Quatro: Wacker Neuson is doing a lot with software-driven controls in our new medium frame skid steers and track loaders. Not only can operators switch between control patterns (ISO and H Pattern), they can select from a range of sensitivity levels for both drive and work functions. This is especially useful for rental fleets where each operator may have a different preference.

What trends do you see and do you expect to see in earthmoving equipment in the near future?

Quatro: Telematics and GPS machine control are becoming more popular throughout the equipment market. As technology advances, telematics reporting has become more robust. These go beyond simple location services. On our new medium-frame skid steer and track loaders, we now offer a Deluxe Telematics package. This features remote monitoring of over 20 different machine functions and systems other than just GPS location. I would expect to see more advanced systems moving forward made available from manufacturers directly in additional to existing third party solutions.

There was a lot of interesting technology at the Conexpo show, such as use of drone technology in earthmoving equipment, virtual reality training and more sophisticated use of telematics. What were some of the new technological advancements you have made?

Quatro: At Conexpo 2017, we showed a concept wheel loader with new battery technologies. The 5505e would have all of the same benefits as our current all-wheel steer diesel model, while being extremely quite and 100-percent emissions free for indoor applications. The purpose of showcasing this technology was to test the market and gain attendee feedback.

It appears that hybrid machines are now more popular than in the past? Do you find more of a demand for them in the rental market?

Quatro: We have seen a demand in the rental market for our small hybrid excavator, the 803 Dual Power. This unit can be run on either diesel or with an optional hydraulic power pack for zero emissions operations. This flexibility allows a rental house to cater to both customers with one machine.

Are you finding increased demand for any particular kinds of machines from the rental market?

Quatro: The rental market is increasing their demand for a wider range of machine sizes. As a manufacturer, we are constantly re-evaluating our line-up to ensure we can meet each segment of the market. As a result, in the last two years, we added six new skid steer and track loaders, a 14.5 ton excavator, and two ground-engaging telehandlers to our already extensive line-up to further meet the needs of a broader customer base.

What kind of knowledge of technology is necessary for rental companies to help their contractor customers?

Quatro: Rental customers want simple machines that will increase their productivity. As manufacturers, the challenge is to include the latest technology and features, while reducing the learning curve for the end user. One issue that has been prevalent across the industry for the past few years is Tier 4 Final engines. This has increased the complexity of machines on the market and does require the rental company to educate their customer on different after-treatment systems, depending on manufacturer and model.

      Wacker Neuson addressed this with our new medium frame skid steer and track loader machines. The Tier 4 Final Kohler engine we use was engineered from the ground up to meet the latest standards with a maintenance-free and regeneration-free after treatment system. This eliminates the need for rental companies to educate their customers on regen lights, switches etc. before each rental.

How have machines improved (or not improved) with the advent of Tier 4 technology?

Quatro: The obvious improvement with Tier 4 technology are cleaner burning diesel engines. These engines are also more fuel efficient than older models. The industry-wide EPA mandate forced equipment manufacturers to redesign their machines in order to be compliant. As a result, we’ve seen a lot of fresh, new machines hit the market along with the latest features and technology. Tier 4 emissions requirements was the push the industry needed to feed more investment in new technological innovations and machine designs.

Are earthmoving machines more fuel efficient than in the past? If so, how, and to what degree?

Quatro: With the implementation of Tier 4 final engines, we’ve seen an overall increase in fuel efficiency. We also have other features built into some of our machines to save fuel. On our larger excavators for example, we include auto-idle and an ECO mode as standard features. When combined with the Tier 4 engines, we have seen up to 20% reduction in fuel consumption over previous models.