On the heels of an international media event showcasing its developing autonomous equipment technology, Volvo Construction Equipment has upped the ante on existing wheel loader technology and tied it neatly into telematics.
A new feature called Volvo Load Assist is now available on Volvo wheel loaders ranging from the L110H to L250H. It provides both real-time intelligence to the operator and documentation of work orders for the owner and their customers. Managed through Volvo Co-Pilot, the company’s in-cab interface, Load Assist is engineered to eliminate the guesswork associated with loading accurate tonnage, reduce occurrences of reweighing and reloading, and provide an opportunity for owners to expedite paperwork and improve operator training.
“Load Assist is a perfect fit for any operation that loads materials for sale and transport,” says Eric Yeomans, product manager, GPE products at Volvo. “The data yielded from the system can be incredibly impactful to an operation, but with the Co-Pilot interface, it’s intuitive and easy to use. It’s a technology designed to simplify—not complicate—the lives of the owner and operator.”
Through the 10-inch, high-resolution touchscreen Co-Pilot interface, the operator is able to set up projects by selecting customer name, work order number, target tonnage, and material type. These settings can be stored for future work orders, and the number of customer presets is virtually limitless. Once the work order parameters are set, the Co-Pilot screen allows the operator to track progress of the job as it’s underway—displaying tonnage currently in the bucket, tonnage already delivered to the truck (or other delivery location), and tonnage left to be delivered in order to complete the job.
The tonnage measurements are proven to be accurate to within plus or minus 2 percent, ensuring the operator can send the truck back to the scale knowing it won’t be under- or overloaded. The display also allows for setting allowable limits on both the tonnage in the truck and the weight in the bucket. If the current weight in the bucket is overloaded, or if that weight will overload the truck, the operator is alerted.
In addition to real-time payload information, the Co-Pilot interface displays bucket angle and machine angle in real-time. The Co-Pilot display also automatically engages the rear-view camera when the loader is put in reverse, allowing for better visibility on a larger display than the company has offered before.
The data logged through Load Assist can be captured in several ways—it can be uploaded to the cloud to be accessed via an online portal, loaded to a flash drive, or printed on a small printer connected to the Co-Pilot interface via USB. The logged information includes work order number, customer name, truck loaded, load tonnage, and time and date of delivery, all in the form of a spreadsheet that can be integrated into any customer ERP system, according to Volvo.
Because Co-Pilot and Load Assist are integrated into the wheel loader’s electrical architecture, the system also feeds productivity data to CareTrack, Volvo’s telematics system. This data includes tons per gallon of fuel, gallons of fuel per ton, total number of cycles, and percentage of cycles that were overloaded. This intelligence allows the owner to identify potential training opportunities for operators, as well as to compare operating costs to production by machine and by operator. It’s all reporting, Volvo says, that wouldn’t be possible with a third-party aftermarket telematics system.