Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cat® CT660 Vocational Trucks Ready for Work

First introduced at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2011 tradeshow earlier this year, the new Cat® CT660 Vocational Truck was approved for shipment to customers this month. Though limited production of the CT660 began in June, these initial units were used to assure that manufacturing procedures resulted in a product that meeting the Cat quality guidelines that customers have come to expect.

"Caterpillar is extremely pleased with the response we have received from our vocational truck customers," says George Taylor, director of the company's Global On-Highway Truck Group. "A number of customers, who saw the CT660 for the first time at CONEXPO-CON/AGG, actually ordered trucks before having the opportunity to drive them. I think that speaks highly of their confidence in Cat products and the Cat Dealer Network."

Caterpillar will increase CT660 production in to fill customer orders, Cat dealer rental fleets, and dealer inventory for the third quarter.

For more information about the Cat Vocational Truck line, visit:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Construction’s Unemployment Rate May Lead to a Shortage of Skilled Workers in the Future

According to Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), the construction industry’s current unemployment rate could indicate that construction workers are beginning to leave the industry rather than searching for new work within their fields of expertise. “Losing so many seasoned workers will make it harder for the industry to bounce back when demand finally increases,” Simonson said in an AGC press release at the beginning of September.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’s figures indicate that the construction industry’s unemployment rate for August 2011 is at 13.5 percent. This is down from 17% in August 2010 and 16.5 percent in August of 2009; still, with the nation’s total unemployment rate at 9.1 percent for August 2011, the construction industry’s unemployment figures clearly indicate that the sector is struggling disproportionately, and it is likely that skilled workers will continue to look for employment elsewhere. This means that contractors may find themselves with a worker shortage when the economy rebounds.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Extending Tire Life with Proper Care and Maintenance

While modern tires are engineered to be incredibly tough and withstand extreme temperatures and pressures, premature failure can occur when tires aren’t properly maintained. Not only can this create a dangerous environment for machine operators, it can increase costs by forcing machine owners to purchase new tires more often than what is necessary. By taking some time to understand tire care, the life of your tires can be extended.

These factors can contribute to premature tire failure:

Tire Use – How aggressively are you driving? For some industrial vehicles, this may not be applicable; however, for automobiles, semi trailers and forklifts, the way you drive can protect your tires. Avoid hard turns and aggressive starts and stops that can peel away a lot of tread wear.

Low tire pressure – Under inflated tires flex a great deal during rotation, building up heat. Flexion and heat lead to premature breakdown of the rubber. Under inflation also results in uneven tread wear.

High tire pressure – Over inflation will result in the center of the tread bulging outward. Premature center wear can develop.

Tire Preventive Maintenance

Make sure to rotate tires based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. The more evenly you can wear out the tire, the longer they last. Check your tires for:

Cracks – Indicates that the tire rubber is degrading from oxidation.

Bulges – Indicates that the reinforcement belting has broken inside the tire.

Chips/Gouges – This is an area of weakness that could give out when the tire is placed under high work loading or pressures.

Tread Wear – Most tires have tread indicators, or wear bars, at intervals between the treads. When the tread is level with the indicator then it’s time to replace the tires. Look for uneven wear. This could mean that the tire is under or over inflated. It could also indicate that the vehicle requires an alignment.

Tire Pressure – Tires lose air through permeation. On average, a tire will lose one or two pounds of air per month in cool weather, and more during the warmer months. Tire pressure should be checked when cold. Manufacturer pressure recommendations are set on cold tires.

For more information, visit http://safety.cat.com/.