When it comes to operator performance, we’ve seen a lot of men and women out there flat out getting it done. Whether it’s smooth technique, mind-boggling agility or a keen eye for precision, a lot of construction operators know about and use all the features manufacturers build into their equipment to make them more productive, more efficient, safer — or a combination of all three.
If you run Volvo equipment, the features and tips listed here can help you improve operator performance. This can lead to increased profit potential over time due to reduced fatigue and improved fuel and cost efficiency.
Let’s take a look at some of the profit-building features on Volvo excavators, haulers and wheel loaders that help you use your machines to their fullest potential.
Table of Contents
- PERFORMANCE-IMPROVING FEATURES OF VOLVO WHEEL LOADERS
- PERFORMANCE-IMPROVING FEATURES OF VOLVO EXCAVATORS
- PERFORMANCE-IMPROVING FEATURES OF VOLVO ARTICULATED HAULERS
PERFORMANCE-IMPROVING FEATURES OF VOLVO WHEEL LOADERS
Heated and Electrically-Adjusted Rear-View Mirrors: The rear-view mirrors are electrically adjusted from inside the cab, and heating keeps them free from mist and ice in damp or cold weather conditions or when working underground. The mirrors can also be adjusted by using the appropriate switch located on the A-pillar. The rear-view mirrors are important for safety, so the ability to adjust them from inside the cab and keep them free from ice and mist is vital.
Automatic Lube System: A lot of operators grease the pins and bushings because it’s what they’ve always done. But by installing an auto-lube system, you’re able to control the right amount of grease to each individual pin and bushing, and you have three different settings based on the harshness of the application. You also have the additional benefit of knowing if something goes wrong, the auto-lube system is connected to your machine’s onboard monitoring, so you’ll be notified on the display in the cab, and through either your CareTrack or ActiveCare Direct service.
Premium Operator Seat: Any good wheel loader operator will tell you a comfortable seat is the foundation of a productive day. In Volvo wheel loaders, the seat is both heated and cooled, and it automatically adjusts to different operator weights instead of always having to adjust it. There are also four height adjustments for customized comfort. You’ll notice almost immediately how comfortable the seat is in a Volvo wheel loader — and you’ll feel less fatigued at the end of a long day.
PERFORMANCE-IMPROVING FEATURES OF VOLVO EXCAVATORS
Arm End Wear Plates on Volvo EC200E to EC750E Excavator Models: The excavator arm end features hardened steel wear plates that allow service techs to repair the end of the arm by replacing the wear plates and bushings simply by removing four countersunk screws. This is much faster and easier than rebuilding the bushing area with a weld and then line-boring the end of the arm, which can take upwards of 8 hours or more. This excavator durability feature was designed to lower rebuilding costs and reduce downtime. Make sure your service techs know about this maintenance advantage.
Hydraulic Pressure Preset: The feature is standard on Volvo excavators, but some operators aren’t aware of it. When you use it, you can set up to 32 different attachments with flow and pressure settings from the seat of the cab. It’s essentially set it and forget it — Volvo models don’t require a technician to manually set the auxiliary hydraulic settings. Some competitor models require manual adjustments that waste time and money. Operators save time with Volvo exactors, especially when doing tool carrier work.
Boom Float: The boom float switch allows the boom to free float up and down following the terrain. Some customers don’t know its standard on Volvo EC200E to EC950F models. It’s easier for operators to do grading and finishing jobs and also improves cycle times during dig and load applications.
PERFORMANCE-IMPROVING FEATURES OF VOLVO ARTICULATED HAULERS
Load And Dump Brake: When you apply the load and dump brake on a Volvo articulated hauler, the service brakes are automatically engaged and your truck shifts to neutral — to release it, the gear selector just has to pass through neutral. Many construction operators hold the service brake pedal or apply the park brake in loading and dumping applications which can be unsafe and less efficient. Using the park brake also takes longer to engage and disengage. Operators decrease loading and dumping cycle times by using the load and dump brake because they aren’t fumbling around for the service brake pedal or park brake button. The load and dump brake allows them to complete a much smoother transition. It also helps reduce wear and tear on the driveline because the truck is in neutral when being loaded, and the tires are absorbing the shock load.
Cruise Control: Just like your car or truck, this feature controls the speed of your hauler without having to use the accelerator pedal. Sometimes operators get used to using the accelerator pedal and don’t think about the benefit of using the cruise control feature. But when you use it, it helps control speed on long haul roads and can be beneficial with really bumpy haul roads where the travel speed is very slow. Cruise Control helps improve fuel efficiency and decrease operator fatigue.
Downhill Speed Control: When applied, this feature uses a combination of engine and service brakes to help maintain a safe speed while traveling downhill. Many operators utilize the service brake and retarder pedal, but using downhill speed control means they don’t even have to think about applying the service brakes or retarder, as speed is controlled automatically. Again, this feature was designed to make operation easier, with less fatigue throughout the day — and in addition to safer jobsites, it helps prevent costly, premature service brake (wet brakes) wear too.
If any of the features we’ve described here are new to you, be sure to reference your owner’s manual and try them out. You just might be surprised how much easier it is to improve the efficiency of your machines.