It is quite amazing the speed with which new innovations or methods are introduced to the earthmoving & construction industry these days.
When I started out as a novice operator, a good 33% of the machinery in our spread was still cable operated or was a hybrid of cable and hydraulics. Auto-greasing was unheard of and laser levels were still in their experimental stages.
Fast forward forty years and a cable operated earthmoving machine is an antique, show a grease gun to an operator and he will turn up his nose at you, plus the steady improvement in laser and GPS equipment has sidelined many a quantity surveyor.
Is there still room for the older style methods ?
While cable operation may be a thing of the past, there was no denying the speed at which a cable bulldozer blade could be operated, and it’s heavier weight compared to a modern hydraulically operated blade had quite a few advantages. For a start, they were ideal for finish dozing.
A walk around your machine with or without a grease gun in hand is a very good thing prior to, or after finishing work as it allows a professional operator – and I use the word sparingly here – will notice things that may need attention on his machine, thus saving his employer thousands of dollars in repair costs if it went unreported.
The ability to read grade stakes appears to be a dying art, most people relying on the laser level and laptop to work out cut/fill/waste quantities, but these modern tools are only as good as the information that is entered into them. A combination of old and new techniques removes any doubt as to accuracy.
The newest kid on the block is automated machine technology or remote control. Remote control was first tried out in the 1960s but relied on an umbilical cable to the machine.
Modern technology is wireless and removes the operator in some instances, miles from where the machine may be working!
Science fiction is alive and well friends, but I still like to get my hands dirty and use the skills passed down by many mentors through the years, keeping tradition alive.