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Practice makes perfect with CAT

Luca Mancin, Training and Commissioning Engineer for Cold Planers – Caterpillar.

Caterpillar’s cold planer offerings continue to grow, as does the extent of the company’s after-sales services, including training for its entire cold planer range. Caterpillar’s Luca Mancin explains the value and importance of this support.

Caterpillar has long taken pride in the quality and robustness of its equipment. But what good is some of the world’s most advanced road maintenance and servicing equipment if the operator fails to optimise its use?

As part of his role, Luca Mancin, Caterpillar Training and Commissioning Engineer for Paving Products is tasked with helping operators make the most of their equipment, regardless of their level of industry experience.

Initially situated in Italy, Mancin’s experience led to his departure for Australia nine years ago. 

Now situated in Brisbane, Mancin’s role is to help Cat machinery users become the best operators of the equipment they can be.

“As part of the training services we offer, we particularly like to spend some time with operators during the commissioning of machinery such as asphalt pavers, cold planers and reclaimers – to walk them through the basic features first – before going through the individual functions of the machine,” Mancin says.

Mancin himself has around 20 years’ experience in the road maintenance and construction equipment industry. Combined with his knowledge of new machinery and technologies, Mancin is a valuable member of the Caterpillar team.

“There’s continually some process of improvement across our machinery,” Mancin says. “We listen to direct feedback from our dealers’ customers to guide the development of these machines, and to also tailor our training and educational services for operators.”

First-hand experience 

Mancin can provide a unique perspective on the support and training for both dealer service crews and external operators, due in part to the fact that he himself used to be a customer of Caterpillar.

As Dean Alley, Territory Manager for ANZ explains. 

“Luca’s strength is his exposure to the industry. He has been on the customer side and so he truly understands the importance of preventive maintenance and the true cost of breakdowns,” he says. 

“He takes this approach when training the new operators to maximize the machines full potential as well as provide the dealership with the right service tech training. 

“This approach has created a very powerful combination and provides great value for the customer.”

Mancin says going over to the factory as a customer was telling, particularly when it comes to customising and catering solutions for specific customers.

“It was amazing, I went away to Italy with a dealer and Caterpillar organised everything. We went to the factory; all their engineers listened about our machine that we had at the time, about our business and where we were trying to go,” he says.

This first-hand experience was enlightening for Mancin, a peek inside the support offered by Caterpillar. He adds that this support is particularly important in an industry with high turnover rates of staff.

“Sometimes companies might have operators for only six months, then they need to get new operators and start that process again,” he says. 

“Unfortunately, some operators don’t get much training, or these operators might have bad habits from being taught incorrectly.”

Alley says training plays an important role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of each worksite.

“From a customer’s perspective, when you have the machinery on the ground, you want to make sure that it’s performing exactly how it’s designed to perform in a cost-effective and safe manner,” he says.

“It’s an important function of Luca’s role, to come in as a trainer. He’s got a great ability to quickly understand the level of knowledge of the operator he’s working with. He creates a safe learning environment, giving operators the best chance to learn how to use these machines safely in a variety of environments.”

Caterpillar provides training suitable for technicians, service training supervisors, crew members, shop supervisors and more, with a program able to be adjusted based on their experience.

These instructional sessions can be performed on site and includes both practical training and theory.

These hands-on classes can also be tailored to fit the needs of the client, with Caterpillar being able to provide the instructors, machinery and materials at a time that suits. Mancin says these courses were developed to be flexible, with the majority conducted over two to three days.

“It doesn’t matter if they’ve got 30 years, 20 years, 10 years or even no experience. Some operators pick up the technology very quickly while other contractors may know about the switches and different applications because of their experience in the cab,” he says.

“Recently in New Zealand, I spent two weeks with the owner of a company [training a number of operators]. They learn to trust your instruction as you build that relationship, where I believe they now feel more confident on their machine.”


 

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Similarities between Cat paving machinery can also assist operators, with some model ranges using the same switches and basic control methods within the cabin.

“Once they’ve learned how to use them, these machines are easy to understand and use, as the operators can jump from one machine to another. The screens and controls are often the same,” Mancin says. 

“Users can understand the controls from day one and build up their knowledge of the machine from there, as Cat machines are designed around intuitive controls.”

Contractors can also view Caterpillar’s catalogue of instructional videos online, on sites such as YouTube. 

“It’s important to understand that you’re not going to know 100 per cent of everything right away. So, it’s very easy to have refreshers, I’ve heard countless examples of clients accessing Caterpillar’s training resources to get little snippets of information,” Mancin says.

Mancin and Caterpillar’s dedicated team are capable of instructing operators of all ages, allowing them to optimise the use of their planing equipment.
Mancin and Caterpillar’s dedicated team are capable of instructing operators of all ages, allowing them to optimise the use of their planing equipment.

Constantly evolving

Cat’s support infrastructure for paving continues to evolve, with new additions to the team, as well as constant changes and upgrades to machinery features, instructional content and product releases.

Caterpillar’s support infrastructure for paving continues to evolve, with new additions to the team, as well as constant changes and upgrades to machinery features, instructional content and product releases.

“Our products are getting more advanced, we’re expanding our offerings, our product lines are getting bigger, we’re getting more parts into our stocks and we’re getting more training. This enables us and Cat dealers to serve customers better and offer them more support where they need it.”

This also extends to Cat dealers’ after sales support and service, particularly when it comes to maintenance and repairs.

“Cat dealers have great capacity to support the machine from an after-market perspective. And, from a training perspective, Luca [Mancin] is a subject matter expert, who’s injected his knowledge and professionalism throughout to our dealers. That filters through to the customers too,” Alley says.

“We don’t just deliver these machines and then run off. Through Caterpillar’s training services, Luca and with the support of the dealership team can be in direct communication with the customer, so they’ve got that support. 

“He’s invaluable in that aspect and customers can benefit from this expert support when they get a Cat cold planer.” 

This article was originally published in the November edition of our magazine. To read the magazine, click here.

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