Operators are the unsung heroes on our customers’ job sites and we’re supporting them with training and resources to help work more safely and more efficiently.
Behind the controls of a Cat® machine there’s great power—but also great responsibility. Our equipment is capable of moving hundreds of cubic yards of material an hour in some of the world’s most extreme environments. But a machine is only as good as the person operating it. An experienced equipment operator, with finely honed skills and a deep understanding of the job at hand, can make a great machine work even better. By moving the maximum amount of material in the minimum amount of time, working safely, and cutting down on unnecessary wear and tear, the best operators make our customers more successful.
For many operators, earthmoving is an act of passion and tradition as much as it is a job. Take Tommy Murphy, from County Waterford, Ireland, who, along with his brother, is part of his family’s third generation of equipment operators working general construction. “Living in the countryside with plenty of fields, it was always easy to jump into a backhoe,” Murphy says. Over the years, Murphy has developed a close working relationship with his local Cat dealer, Finning UK and Ireland. When Brian Roche, his Finning representative, suggested Murphy try out for the Caterpillar Global Operator Challenge (see below), Murphy jumped at the opportunity. “Hearing Tommy’s name read out at the regional championship in Málaga, Spain was the best feeling ever,” Roche says.
Murphy ultimately made it to the challenge finals in Las Vegas, which were held prior to the pandemic. His dealer representative, his fiancé, Siobhan, and his father all traveled to cheer him on. After returning from the competition, Murphy continued his family focus, using his skills to dig the foundation of his and Siobhan’s future home.
Customers can rely on Caterpillar to help both new and experienced operators enhance their skills with equipment training solutions. Operator training is delivered in a variety of formats and includes content on machine controls, maintenance, inspection, safety, pre-operating and operating procedures. We offer three main types of training for operators of heavy equipment.
The first is instructor-led training at multiple levels based on years of experience. For those who have completed training, we offer Professional Operator Certifications for more than 20 product families during which operators must complete a thorough walk-around inspection and pass a safety quiz and a written knowledge assessment.
The second-type of training is Caterpillar e-Learning courses for entry-level operators, service technicians and others new to the construction and mining industries. These virtual courses help customers maximize the performance of their equipment.
Finally, we offer simulator-based training that allows novice operators to get familiar with machine controls and learn proper operating procedures before training on actual machines. Simulators and virtual reality applications present training exercises that address each of the skills associated with operating heavy iron in work environments including construction and mining. Experienced operators can also use simulations to further refine their skills and increase production levels.
Another place operators learn about Cat products is at one of our state-of-the-art Demonstration & Learning Centers. These four facilities, located on three continents in the United States, Spain and Japan, are used for operator training, machine demonstrations and education on Cat products, services and applications. At these facilities, Caterpillar’s highly experienced demonstrator instructors provide on-machine and virtual instructor-led training for a variety of machines and applications.
Our customers can’t execute critical infrastructure and construction projects without operators who have the skills to get the job done. That’s why growing the pool of qualified, trained operators worldwide is essential. From training to technology, Caterpillar and its global network of independent dealers are committed to providing world-class training services for our customers to ensure operator excellence now and for generations to come.
In 2020, we put the person in the cab into the spotlight with the first-ever Caterpillar Global Operator Challenge (GOC). The challenge began in 2019, with local competitions that built up to regional championships at our Demonstration & Learning Centers in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific. The top three finalists from each of those competitions traveled to CONEXPO-CON/AGG in Las Vegas to face off against the other winners. There, operators were put to the test with a range of machines and tasks in front of a live audience. The GOC showcased the power, excitement and ingenuity involved in operating heavy iron, and we hope it will help inspire a new generation to pursue careers as operators.