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Putting Technology to the Test: Cat® Machine Drive Power vs. Conventional Methods

Chances are you’ve heard about intelligent compaction, but you may wonder if it’s right for your jobs—or if the benefits really outweigh the upfront price. Surely an experienced operator can deliver the same results, right? We recently put that question to the test with a side-by-side comparison. Here’s what happened:

The Competitors: Conventional Methods vs. MDP

Conventional methods rely on operator experience, senses and intuition to determine when compaction meets specified targets. Cat® Machine Drive Power (MDP) uses sensors to measure the rolling resistance a machine experiences as it moves over the ground, then converts those measurements to a value operators can monitor to determine when they’ve reached targets. When mapping is installed, it provides a real-time “compaction map” showing coverage, current measurements and any problem areas.

The Playing Field: Two Identical Areas & Machines

The competition took place on two identical test areas, each roughly 30 meters long by 10 meters wide (33 yards by 11 yards), using two Cat CS56B vibratory soil compactors. On the first test area, the operator used conventional methods to compact the soil to a specified level. On the second, the operator used MDP to determine when compaction met specs.

The Results: A 56% Productivity Gain with MDP

The operator using conventional methods took 20 minutes and 12 passes to determine he’d met compaction specs. The operator using MDP met targets in nine minutes and six passes. That translates into a productivity gain of about 56 percent—and shows how much more efficiently an operator with MDP can work compared to one guided just by experience and intuition.

The Takeaway: MDP’s Benefits Outweigh the Costs

When you add MDP to your soil compactors, it can pay off in big ways:

Watch the side-by-side comparison to see the results for yourself.