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Caterpillar and PLM’s Advanced Technology in the Pipeline Industry
A day at the track
At Caterpillar and PipeLine Machinery’s all-day event at the Sam Houston Race Park Oct. 15, a full schedule and a wide array of topics combined to bring pipeline owners, contractors and engineers together for a day of expo and education.
Demonstrations and equipment closeups
Education came first, as PLM’s Mel Ternan explained, to show off “solutions we think you need to be aware of.” The first set of presentations introduced one of the day’s major themes, emission controls. The talks covered new regulations under discussion in Congress, upcoming changes in standards and the nonattainment areas that require special attention, then the new innovations and retrofit options Cat has developed to answer the need for meaner, cleaner machines. Given that new standards will not “grandfather in” old machines, the retrofitting options are a key development for contractors working in nonattainment areas. For the pipeliners, Mark Helgren of Cat Global Petroleum ran through the probable impact for compression stations, while Scott McBryde handled contractor and general construction horizons.
David Nicoll used the focus on lowered emissions to segue to an introduction of the Cat D7E Electric Drive Tractor, a completely reengineered successor to Cat’s market-leading D7R. The D7E introduces several innovations that improve efficiency, and Cat says they add up to a 25 percent jump in banked cubic yards per gallon of fuel over the D7R.
Scott Hagemann, David Sorensen and Bryan Brady then walked the audience through an explanation of connected-worksite GPS technology for construction equipment, with a focus on Caterpillar’s AccuGrade system and equipment management capabilities. Using base station and rover units, the AccuGrade technology can display the locations of no-go areas, preexisting structures and any other points of potential trouble on a site. The immediate, real-time mapping is meant to increase safety, decrease mistakes and accidents and speed up the marking and location process after initial surveys have been done. With equipment management, a fleet owner can create a “geo fence” or “time fence” to prevent unauthorized use of the equipment and remotely observe idle time versus working time.