As compared to all the other heavy construction equipment, motor graders are slightly difficult to operate. This is because of the fact that they are a bit different from the others in terms of setting the controls such as the angle and height of the blade which requires certain skills, especially when setting them to obtain fine degree of result. Thus, it is always better to employ an operator that is well-trained and has years of experience to bank upon. However, there is always lack of skilled and experienced motor graders.

Given that there is no substitute at all for the experience of motor grader operators, still these days motor grader manufacturers are constantly trying to address the critical shortage of qualified operators by offering enhanced features to simplify motor grader operation as well as various training aides such as simulators.

Various tools that help the motor grader operators

Gone are the days when learning motor grader operation was considered as an art, today there are various options and smart features that are incorporated in the equipment itself that help the operators perform efficiently. Here is a list of tools and methods that help in developing motor grader talent...

1. Machine control technology: The first and most important tool that helps in developing motor grader talent is machine control technology that is simple and intuitive. Through machine control, even less-experienced operators are able to work easily and achieve grade characteristics similar to those with more field experience. So, while experienced motor grader operators can maintain efficiency levels throughout the day, less experience operators can definitely be more productive and produce better results with advanced machine controls. Also, machine control and other automations help to reduce operator fatigue.

2. Joystick controls: In the past, motor graders were equipped with controls which were not at all simple to learn and often scared the new operators. However, those traditional level-operated controls are now replaced by joystick controls that are simple and intuitive and help in easing the operating task. Joystick controls also help in improving the ergonomic experience of the operator, increase grading performance and even improve accuracy to a great extent. Further, such controls provide better visibility to the operator, thereby, increasing their productivity. Thus, simplified controls can easily reduce the learning curve of the operators and simplify what has traditionally been a complex task.

3. Grade control: Grade control systems can greatly help in offsetting productivity losses from less experienced operators. The most useful tool to an operator is the accessibility of a control box in the cab of the machine which indicates where the operator needs to grade on the project. Further, there is no need to add multiple controls such as levers, switches etc., to activate the modern-day grade control systems. Thus, grade controls can simplify machine operation regardless of the skill level of the operator. Through grade control, motor grader operators can clearly focus on blade rotation and blade pitch as required for the particular grading task and steering the machine. Precision and productivity are also increased through the automated grade control systems. Overall, grade control system help operators work more confidently and achieve targeted grade or slope faster in very few passes using very less material.

4. Cross slope: Most of the modern motor graders offer cross slope and an open architecture approach to grade control. Cross slope makes it very much possible for the operator to adjust to a grade and maintain that grade with just one hand. This helps the operator in keeping a correct slope and managing the material easily.

5. The Global Positioning System (GPS): This technology can help the motor grader operators to achieve precise levelling that too in all weather conditions. Most of the advanced motor graders having GPS-based grade controls possess in-cab touch screen monitor that provides the operator with a plan view, cross-section view and cut/fill information, driving efficiency and accuracy in projects. In fact, GPS-based grade control systems make the task of grading very easy and result in 30 per cent improvement in efficiency and speed and cost savings.

6. Telematics: Even telematics can help the motor grader operators to a very great extent by capturing real-time data such as engine hours, fluid levels, operating temperatures and other information. Through telematics, operators can also track the equipment hours on a day-to-day basis and this helps them in equipment maintenance and identifying the problems with the equipment before they happen.

7. Stimulators for improved performance: These days, even simulators are used to help the motor grader operators to learn the controls and techniques without burning much of fuel and risking the valuable equipment. There are a variety of training exercises designed to address each of the skills associated with operating actual motor graders and they are represented in different work environments such as construction or mining.

8. Training mechanism for the operators: Last but not the least, one of the best ways to develop motor grader talent is training them. Companies like Mahindra Construction Equipment (MCE) can help improve productivity and safety through the delivery of heavy equipment operator training services i.e., if you buy the motor grader from MCE, then as part of its post-sales services, the company will offer few days’ dedicated training for the operators, in which they are personally trained on various features of the machines by professional trainers. Apart from this, MCE has 6 regional training centres across the country which imparts expertise and provides training on equipment operation, daily, weekly and monthly equipment maintenance and safety parameters. Also, adequate practical training is provided here to the students. What more? MCE has also tied up with an authorised institution in this regard.

In a nutshell

Given the fact that motor graders are very expensive and highly technical equipment, it is imperative that they are operated by trained and experienced operators. However, in present scenario, there is huge lack of such operators. Here comes the importance of various tools and enhanced features that are incorporated in the modern motor graders that greatly help in developing the motor grader talent.