Most manufacturers offer two cameras that come as a standard feature on excavators fitted on the right and rear of the machine. Optionally manufacturers also offer quad – camera configurations for contractors that require an all-around view (360° ) surrounding an excavator (this is a useful feature when the space available for the excavator to work within is limited) and it is also an option that enhances safety of the operator, the machine and everything else around the excavator (including people that have no choice but to come close to the machine in order to accomplish their tasks).
Industry leaders have competed with each other on the best configurations possible and it seems that Doosan managed to get it right says Doosan’s Kleingartner. The camera system that made its debut at CONEXPO where most industry players witness technological innovations accelerating on all aspect of the industry including cameras has become a standard offering albeit with slight variations.
Doosan launched its camera system for not only excavators, but for almost most of its machine line up with an option for the all-around-view monitoring system or AVM for short that offers heavy machine operators 360° view of the machine’s surroundings. According to Kleingartner, the system offers 5 perspectives that are unique and viewed by operators on the dedicated AVM monitor (top, rear, top-right, rear-corner, and as well as 3D view). Apart from that, certain excavator models such as the Doosan -7 Series excavators, the entire AVM camera component could be configured uniquely with ultrasonic detection sensors (optional) which adds to the level of sensitivity of the machine to objects or obstacles that are at the rear area of the excavator.
A similar system was launched by Volvo CE recently and according to Matthew Mclean the product manager for Volvo CE Volvo camera systems development has been accelerated and within the last few years the developments have been significant to say the least. The decade long initiative on camera systems for heavy machines resulted in the implementation of Volvo Smart View system as a standard feature on Volvo’s excavators that start from the EC140 and all machines that are larger. The system according to Mclean provides operators a ‘bird’s eye view’ of everything around the machine (This does however depends on the size of the machine to a small degree).
The system stiches the images from 3 or 4 cameras together and displays the image collectively on the digital monitor). Latest developments that have been put on the table within the scope of camera related technology is a camera system that is able to detect movement around the excavator and instantly warns operators of movement. The cameras role according to McLean is endless as it would naturally become a part of remotely operated excavators or even autonomous operations to a certain level. These game changing technologies are also being quickly adopted by contractors simply because they boost productivity and safety significantly.
Other technologies that are being pursued that have been identified as near future game changing tech includes systems that are able to use data from specific and strategically positioned sensors that are able to trigger “automatic-stops” of the swing motion when the forward link hits boundaries that were pre-defined by the operator. Inside sources have revealed that Caterpillar is currently making this technology a standard feature and is referred to as the 2 D – E Fence under the manufacturers swing control tech initiatives. Excavators and excavator hire services are rapidly evolving and if this trend continues, it would not be too far-fetched if excavators are able to perform tasks on their own when ‘robotics and A.I’ is eventually phased into these machines.