Engineering Compact Track Loader Cab Comfort
Erik Ouwersloot Jan 09, 2012
Ask anyone on the jobsite and you will hear a familiar refrain: Operator comfort is critical to maximizing productivity. With that in mind, a thoughtfully engineered cab is a major factor contributing to operator comfort and productivity. Specifically for compact track loaders, building an exceptionally comfortable cab comes down to three primary considerations: climate control and spaciousness, ease of operation and overall operator comfort.
Climate Control and Spaciousness
On a hardworking compact track loader (CTL), a cab is not just a cab. Itís a shelter from heat, rain, snow, wind, flying debris, dust and insects. There is a virtually endless list of inevitable elements which can derail a job, so look for CTL cabs that are sealed and pressurized with high-functioning air conditioning and heating. This creates a pleasant work environment, while the pressurization helps to avoid collecting an abundance of dust, debris or insects in the cab. †
Ease of Operation
Consider this: When getting into a car, an operator has an expectation of where the ignition should be, how the steering wheel should feel in his or her hands and the general placement of the foot pedals. It is really no different on a CTL. While the mechanisms are customized for the work required of the equipment, the bottom line is that the controls should be well-positioned, intuitive and precise. Are the joysticks smooth and responsive? Are the mirrors strategically placed and easy to adjust? Are the gauges simple to read? Do they provide a good understanding of what the machine needs to operate at maximum productivity? Think about the tasks the track loader will most often perform and then zero-in on those features. Operators performing daily maintenance checks need quick and easy access to filters, fluid levels and grease fittings. †
Overall Operator Comfort
There are small details in any cab that can make a big difference in the overall cab comfort quotient. So, how is the seatback positioned? Is the toolbox handy and accessible? Does the seatbelt feel secure? Additionally, a full dayís work can seem even longer than what the time clock indicates if it feels more like a bounce-around carnival ride than a precision machine. Be demanding when it comes to a safe, smooth and balanced ride. Look for a stable, high-backed seat with suspension that will support the operator throughout the day.
When it is all said and done, cab comfort really is not just about one attribute or amenity. Itís the collective package that makes a cab worth the investment. The decision should come down to whether the cab enhances the work experience and productivity and if itís smartly integrated into a machine that will get the job done. †
Erik Ouwersloot is a product manager for Kubota Tractor Corp., based in Torrance, Calif.