BEFORE YOU BUY A NEW MACHINE, CHECK YOUR APP
No, we’re not talking about that kind of app—one that tracks weather or plays music or maybe even monitors machine location. Those apps are important. But if you’re in the market for heavy equipment, the application you need to be most concerned about is the one in which your new product will work. The jobs you’ll do. The material you’ll move. The ground you’ll cover.
What’s at stake?
If you buy without taking a good hard look at your application, you may end up with the wrong machine for the job. And whether it’s too big or too small, undersized or underutilized, the outcome will be the same: costs will go up and profit down. The key, of course, is matching the machine to the application—selecting the model that best meets your requirements for performance, life, uptime and fuel economy. But that can get complicated.
Weigh your options
You may think you know exactly which machine you need, but sometimes manufacturers offer multiple options, each with a similar model number. For example, you can get a new Cat® 313FL GC with a 70-hp engine. The standard 313FL delivers 92-hp. The two models are alike in a lot of ways, but there are differences, too. So which is right for your application?
Ask the experts
Your best bet is to get your dealer involved—someone who knows your business and the work you do. As you assess your application together, be prepared to answer questions about:
- Site location. Where will you work? Wide-open spaces, congested areas, city streets, country highways, suburban backyards?
- Key jobs. What’s on the schedule? Everyday material handling, high-production truck loading, hopper loading, stockpiling, load and carry, cleanup work?
- Ground conditions. Smooth or rocky, soft or firm, wet or dry, level or sloped?
- Material type. Tightly or loosely packed, well-fragmented or poorly shot, light, heavy, hard, soft, smooth, abrasive?
- Labor. Experienced and well-trained or still climbing the learning curve?
A good application expert will also ask:
- What are your production goals?
- Will this machine work primarily alone or with other units?
- Is there an underutilized machine—already in your fleet—that could do this job?
- Would a rental or used model make more sense?
- Do you expect to service this product yourself?
- How long do you plan to own it?
These are just some of the factors to consider. Before you buy, work with your Cat dealer to check your app so you end up with a product that’s sized and equipped to meet your specific needs.