One thing that has been made abundantly clear during this difficult year is that industries like construction and mining are betting heavily on innovations in engineering to improve productivity and safety. This trend has already begun but is expected to expand as time goes on. This is certainly true of machinery and equipment used in the Utility industry as well. A discussion of the importance of innovation to product development could be applied to almost any piece of equipment that is used regularly, but in this article the emphasis will be on just one. And that is the rubber track carrier, a rubber tracked platform designed for a wide variety of applications.
Recently, Ken Byrd and Curt Unger, respectively president and sales manager of Morooka USA, sat down to discuss the engineering innovations that they believe will begin making a difference in the field in the months to come.
“A remote-control option is not a brand-new concept,” said Byrd. “But it is increasingly important to operators and owners. Our customers can choose remote-control on their carrier so that an operator can control it without being on dangerous ground.” Other models also offer the ability to control a dump bed with the controller. And some of the companies that install their own attachments on Morooka and other rubber track carriers also offer remote-control capability. This would allow an operator complete control without having to be in or near the machine.
Another innovation in engineering that is gathering steam and becoming more common among leading manufacturers is putting an operator in a cab with better sightlines and fewer blind spots. From bulldozers and excavators, to wheel loaders and rubber track carriers, cabs with improved visibility are becoming more common, and at some point, will probably become required. “We currently offer some models that have been engineered for improved visibility and I see that trend continuing as new models are rolled out,” said Unger.
Other areas that are being addressed now are the conversion of mechanical systems to digital systems. “Digital sensors allow for more information to be shared with operators in real time,” said Unger. “Proximity sensors are a good example.”
Byrd and Unger commented on the developing trend, particularly for Utility companies, of more compact equipment for ever-tighter working conditions. “In our own line, we will be introducing a new, more compact model, the Morooka MST-300VDL. Other VDL models will follow,” said Byrd. “Everyone wants their attachments to reach higher heights while being able to fit in a smaller space. That is a trend we predict will continue.”
“Coming next will likely be more sustainable power sources for the carriers. Morooka has already begun developing proof-of-concept propane and electric models,” said Byrd. “At CONEXPO 2020 we exhibited those conceptual versions. While those machines are not now in production, if we had a customer that was seriously interested in developing a propane or electric Morooka solution, we would be happy to work with them to develop it.”