Joystick steering trialled at recycling depot

FINNING UK & Ireland and Veolia, a provider of water, waste and energy management, are trialling two Cat 950M wheel loaders with joystick steering at Veolia’s recycling depot in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire.

Joystick steering is said to bring better manoeuvrability, improved safety and more comfort to employees in the waste management and recycling sector.

The new Caterpillar joystick is mounted to the side of the seat, so it swings with the seat when the machine moves. Finning said operators have reported a reduction in arm fatigue.

In machines with a joystick, the steering wheel is removed, which gives the operator more visibility. There is a switch to select gears and buttons to choose between forward, neutral and reverse.

Larger Caterpillar machines already have joystick steering fitted as standard. For the recycling and waste sector, medium-sized machines are often the preferred customer choice. For these machines steering wheels are currently fitted as standard but the joystick is an optional extra.

Gary Lambert, key account manager for industrial and waste at Finning, said, “I believe joystick steering will become as common as seatbelts. In waste management, companies used to be hesitant to introduce entirely new technologies. They saw it as a training issue.”

Robert Oliphant, head of fleet & support services at Veolia UK & Ireland, added, “For us at Veolia, the trial was very successful. The Caterpillar articulates at the same speed as the joystick which gives the operator much greater responsiveness. The joystick is very intuitive and the machine basically goes where you point it.”