When fuel prices are high, finding small ways to cut consumption can really add up — and it doesn’t take months to start seeing your fuel expenses decline.
If you’re looking for ways to cut fuel consumption in your daily construction or mining operations, below are some fuel-saving machine features to look for, plus things your operators can do to cut back on unnecessary fuel burn.
Table of Contents
- Heavy Equipment Features that Save Fuel
- Heavy Equipment Operator Tips to Reduce Fuel Consumption
- Guaranteeing Fuel Efficiency for 10 Years
HEAVY EQUIPMENT FEATURES THAT SAVE FUEL
If you’re in the market for new construction or mining equipment, find out if your OEM offers some of the features listed below to keep your operating costs in check. And on your current machines, be sure you’re taking advantage of these fuel-saving features if you haven’t been doing so in the past.
- Auto-idle and engine auto shut down: Many machines will idle for as much as 40 to 60 percent of their operating time. Some idling is necessary, but excessive idling burns through fuel unnecessarily. Two ways you can prevent machines from burning fuel when they’re not actively in use are by using an automatic idling system where engine speed is reduced to idle when the controls are inactive for a pre-set amount of time. You should also look for an engine auto shut down feature that can shut down the engine if it’s stationary, not in gear, and has been idling for more than a pre-set amount of time.
In-cab fuel consumption displays: These displays measure both instantaneous fuel consumption and average fuel consumption, allowing you and your operators to monitor fuel usage on different job sites and make any necessary adjustments.
- Excavator work modes: For excavator operators, balancing engine RPM with hydraulic flow should be as simple as possible. That’s why at Volvo, for example, we integrate everything into a single dial. By moving this dial, you change both the pump flow and engine speed — a feature unique to Volvo excavators. By choosing the right excavator work mode, operators get the perfect balance of power and controllability, while burning as little fuel as possible.
- Eco pedals: Some OEMs offer an eco mode or pedal — we’re one of them. Eco pedals save on machine wear and increase fuel efficiency. For example, the eco pedal on Volvo wheel loaders encourages economical operation by applying a mechanical push-back force in response to excessive use of the accelerator. The result? Less fuel burn.
- On-board weighing systems: Using telematics and technology to ensure optimal loads every cycle will maximize production, boost fuel efficiency and reduce machine wear in all site conditions and operations. Real-time insights into a bucket’s load can help you eliminate overloading, underloading, reweighing and waiting times — all things that burn excessive fuel.
- In-cab mapping software: This type of software or app can help operators monitor on-site traffic in real time. Not only does this give them an improved orientation of the site they’re working on, but it also allows them to proactively adjust their driving behavior according to traffic conditions. These adjustments can equate to significant fuel savings over time.
- In-cab operator assist apps: Operator apps help improve accuracy and prevent costly rework. For example, Dig Assist and Volvo Active Control on Volvo excavators allow for high levels of accuracy, faster completion times and less under/over excavation which helps operators of all skills and experience achieve higher productivity. In the end, it saves on fuel too.
HEAVY EQUIPMENT OPERATOR TIPS TO REDUCE FUEL CONSUMPTION
- Complete daily inspections: We can’t say enough how important daily inspections of machines are when it comes to preventing wear and tear and ensuring your machines run as they’re intended — that includes cutting back on fuel consumption. This excavator prestart checklist and hauler prestart checklist are good starts to productive, efficient workdays.
- Check tire pressures: Tires that are underinflated can lead excessive fuel burn. Spend a few minutes at the beginning of each workday to ensure your tires are properly inflated for the job.
- Optimize compactor rolling patterns: If you operate asphalt compactors, be sure your compactors’ rolling patterns are designed to achieve target densities without excessive passes. Looking for tips? Read this article on asphalt compaction rolling patterns.
- Use telematics to make any necessary adjustments: If you pair machine features like auto-idle and engine auto shut down with an advanced telematics system, you can take fuel savings even further by monitoring important information like machine idle time. Spotting trends in excessive idling could mean some training is needed to set goals for improvement.
- Properly service your engine air filters: Regular maintenance is important. A clogged or dirty air filter will negatively affect fuel consumption and engine performance.
One final tip: Properly sizing your excavators and haulers for construction and mining is critical to improve daily production numbers, but it also saves you in fuel consumption. Optimizing passes is a key to cutting back on fuel use. Are your haulers and excavators sized for efficiency? Use our interactive excavator and hauler pairing tool to find out.
GUARANTEEING FUEL EFFICIENCY FOR 10 YEARS
We know fuel costs are critical to your bottom line — and cutting those costs is a passion of ours. That’s why we launched our Fuel Efficiency Guarantee 10 years ago that’s designed to lower emissions for the environment and give you higher productivity and profits for your business.
Many OEMs claim lower fuel ratings — we guarantee it. And by using the features and tips described above, you can take your fuel savings even further.
Categories: Fuel Consumption