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Fri April 23 2021

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Cat pioneers operator fatigue monitoring

8 Sep 15 There will be no more falling asleep at the wheel of a Caterpillar digger or dozer with the new Driver Safety System.

Staying awake at the wheel
Staying awake at the wheel

Caterpillar is now offering a system developed by Australian specialist Seeing Machines that monitors the operator and provides an alert if fatigue starts to set in or he or she is not paying proper attention to the job.

The Driver Safety System, or DSS, uses in-cab cameras and sensors and the operator wears a hi-tech wrist band.

Seeing Machines first signed a strategic agreement with Caterpillar Global Mining for its DSS in-cab fatigue monitoring systems more than two years ago. It is now rolling out the service worldwide across the group.

Under the new global agreement, Seeing Machines' DSS rugged off-road product is now licensed to Caterpillar and available exclusively through Cat dealers. Caterpillar will pay Seeing Machines US$17.5m over four years as well as royalty fees for DSS hardware, software licensing, monitoring and analytics services. Caterpillar will also purchase existing inventory of DSS units from Seeing Machines.  Current DSS customer agreements will be transitioned to Caterpillar and supported by Caterpillar dealers.  Additional consulting services, system monitoring and data analysis will be offered by Caterpillar Safety Services.

Caterpillar says that its fatigue risk management system (FRMS) “is proven to drastically reduce costs associated with fatigue and distraction, while increasing productivity and increasing employee relations”.

Inside Caterpillar’s 24/7 Monitoring Centre, analysts correlate data about the health and productivity of operators and equipment to reveal the magnitude of conditions such as fatigue and distraction and their impact on operations.

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“Our customers want better visibility to the interaction between operators and machines, and how behaviour impacts safety and productivity,” said Tim Crane, Caterpillar Safety Services manager. “This innovative solution offers our customers the opportunity to mitigate risk and improve productivity. No organisation is in a better position to provide customers these sustainable improvement solutions than Caterpillar.”

Events are tracked by analysts who also capture operator sleep quantity and quality information provided through the wrist-worn Cat Smartband, an actigraphy solution powered by Fatigue Science. The enhanced visibility to risks extends beyond front-line employees to expose improvement opportunities throughout the organization, including education and training, shift scheduling, leadership coaching and other cultural elements, Caterpillar says.

Caterpillar says that its DSS and Smartband are part of a growing array of tools that help customers to manage safety.

“Combined with Cat machine data available through EMSolutions, Cat MineStar System and Cat Vital Information Management System (VIMS), operator performance data from the DSS and Smartband paints a powerful picture of fatigue and distraction risk and its impact on productivity and profitability,” the company says. “Property damage, increased fuel burn and tire abuse have all been tied to fatigued or distracted operators.”

George Taylor, vice president of the Caterpillar Customer Services Support Division, added: “Technology alone is not the silver bullet for a safer or more productive operation. In fact, most technologies fail without proper consideration of the organizational culture and a plan to manage change. Caterpillar’s safety solutions bring management and employees together to achieve excellence, providing customers the greatest opportunity for successful implementation.”

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