Make a call, respond to e-mail, send a text, consult a website, check the weather—and, oh yes, remotely operate your Bobcat loader—all from your smart phone. The Bobcat MaxControl system, which allows remote control of certain Bobcat loaders from iOS devices, is just one of the technical innovations the company previewed at a mid-September gathering of the trade press at Bobcat’s new 44,000-square foot training center in Aurora, Colorado. The occasion was the company’s launch of its new brand campaign, Next is Now.
“With the launch of Next is Now, we are creating solutions that are unique and innovative with connected technologies,” said Scott Park, CEO of Doosan Bobcat. “Next is Now means customers can continuously rely on Bobcat to lead the industry with the tools that help them do more and do it better.”
During the event, Park detailed the company’s vision to be “the global leader in compact equipment.” Mike Ballweber, president of Doosan Bobcat North America, introduced a series of new Bobcat products as part of the Next is Now campaign, and Joel Honeyman, VP of global innovation, demonstrated technical advances available on the newest Bobcat machines.
Among new models introduced were the S76 skid steer and T76 compact track loader, both part of the company’s new R-Series range; L23 and L28 small articulated loaders; redesigned E42 and E50 compact excavators; 15-model range of compact tractors; and the new E145 excavator, a 14-metric ton machine—the largest excavator Bobcat has ever marketed.
“The future isn’t just more powerful, it’s digital and connected,” said Honeyman. “Bobcat is pushing into this space to connect people and machines in new and innovative ways. These technologies will allow dealers to better serve customers and help operators work more efficiently, more safely and in ways they never dreamed possible.”
New Bobcat technology
- The Bobcat MaxControl remote-operation system is available for M2-Series and R-Series compact loaders with Selectable Joystick Control. The system allows remote control from up to 300 feet away via a simple app platform for iOS devices. The app turns an operator’s smartphone into a control unit for the loader, providing the ability to command machine functions and operate attachments from outside of the cab. The system is installed by the dealer and can also control multiple machines, one at a time, for increased versatility. Each operator on the job can access multiple remote-controlled machines via the app, selecting the machine needed and putting it to work. Hardware for the system is job-tested, says Bobcat, and includes a component box mounted on top of the cab and a single wiring harness.
- The Features on Demand system for new R-Series compact loaders allows the dealer to order a fully featured machine (including high-flow auxiliary hydraulics, two-speed travel, reversing fan, dual-direction bucket positioning, and automatic ride control), but to activate only those features the buyer chooses when the machine is purchased. After purchase, says Bobcat, customers then have the flexibility to adapt their machine (with preinstalled hardware) to meet changing needs. Ultimately, says Bobcat, Features on Demand results in a lower upfront cost for the customer, compared with buying a fully featured machine with systems they won’t use immediately, and also lowers expenses later when activating added features.
- Using the Bobcat Machine IQ Wireless Communications/Bobcat Owner Portal, says the company, “customers can take machine management to a new level. Using wireless communication technology, Bobcat machines can be monitored from anywhere, getting critical information to decrease downtime and reduce costs.” Information recorded by the IQ system, including machine location, operating hours, and fuel level is delivered via the Owner Portal, a personalized website that is accessible via an internet-connected computer, smart phone, or tablet. The system also registers machine fault codes, and the owner can be alerted via e-mail. Also, e-mail alerts can be sent when scheduled maintenance is approaching. In addition, the system can be used to establish geographical and time-of-operation boundaries, with alerts if the boundaries are violated.
- Bobcat calls the Bobcat Touch Display its most advanced in-cab display, designed to “help operators more efficiently use the machine and react to unique situations.” The optional, full-color 7-inch display features a wide touchscreen to change settings, match machine performance to the job, and continuously monitor the machine’s maintenance needs, says Bobcat. The system includes a USB power port and active noise-cancelling during phone calls. The system is available as an option for the new R-Series compact loaders, E85 excavator and new R2-Series compact excavators.
- With the new Bob-Dock attachment-mounting system, says Bobcat, the operator now has a hands-free hydraulic-attachment mounting system. “Now, Bobcat compact loader operators can change most hydraulic attachments without leaving the comfort of the cab,” says the company. The Bob-Dock system is available for select M2-Series skid steer and compact track loaders, as well as the A770 all-wheel steer loader.
- Bobcat technicians also demonstrated an obstacle-avoidance system on the new T76 compact track loader. The technician programmed the system to keep the machine from reaching a concrete sidewalk at the edge of a field where the machine was working. When approaching the sidewalk head-on and travelling at a brisk speed, the machine automatically veered to the right and then continued to travel in a straight line parallel to the sidewalk about 3 feet distant.