January 2014

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A Closer Look The Dealer's Changing Role in Machine Control As machine control moves from aftermarket to OEM-installed, equipment dealers that embrace the opportunity are positioned to serve an increasingly interested customer base. BY JOANNE COSTIN work hard to prove technology benefits and when the The introduction of Komatsu's new D61i-23 dozer light bulb goes on, adoption accelerates. This drives market last June marked the beginning of a new era in machine acceptance to a tipping point where OEMs are expected control technology and how its acceptance in the marketto streamline and integrate the systems. That's where we place will spread – in a way, it is symbolic of changing times and evolving skill requirements for dealers. are now, and it's a great opportunity for both positioning With the new machine, gone are the blade-mounted providers and equipment dealers to better partner with GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) antenna (includtheir customers." ing a mast, cables and brackets), as well as blade-mounted "It's a user-driven technology that customers have been orientation sensors. Instead, all the dozer's external hardware demanding," said Ron Schweiters, product marketing of a typical aftermarket automated blade-control system is manager for Komatsu. He says that failures with the cabling integrated into the base machine. on blade-mounted machine control systems have been a It's a huge shift and one that has major implications for source of pain for contractors. the market – and for dealers who have been sitting on the "With the new dozer, operators appreciate not having sidelines with respect to machine control technology. to climb on the blade to attach external components," said "It's a pretty predictable technology paradigm," said Mike Salyers, product marketing manager for Komatsu. Randy Noland, vice president and director of Machine "Set up is much easier." Control for Carlson Software Inc., and also cofounder/editor Six months after the machine's launch and subsequent of machinecontrolonline. Several manufacturers have taken demos around the country, Komatsu's Intelligent Machine steps toward added integration including Caterpillar, Deere, Control Director Peter Robson says the message that resonates best with customers is a phrase they call, "The Three CASE, Atlas Copco, and Wirtgen. Cs – No cables, no climbing, no connections." "OEMS own the platform. Innovations such as machine Most experts believe the trend toward factory-installed guidance and control are introduced as an add-on complemachine control will continue especially as applications menting the platform (or machine). Positioning providers 50 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | January 2014

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