Heavy construction equipment is more fuel-efficient than ever. Today’s equipment offers technologies that can reduce fuel consumption, improving your profitability.
For the past decade, construction equipment manufacturers have worked on complying with non-road emissions standards. Wheel loaders, excavators and articulated dump trucks now come with sophisticated fuel delivery systems. As a result, the diesel engines that power construction equipment need less fuel to perform the same functions.
Manufacturers also developed technologies to reduce machine fuel consumption. These technologies tailor the amount of fuel to the particular function a system is performing. Fuel savings can be as much as 7%, depending on the machine and the application.
Leverage Fleet Telematics for Fuel Efficiency
You can manage your equipment fleet better than ever with the telematics management systems that are installed on your machines. This type of system collects data from your construction equipment and shares it with your telematics account. You and your equipment dealer can then easily access the data to make informed decisions.
From an app on your smartphone or via a web browser, you can select a particular machine and see data from that unit, such as how much fuel it’s burning. Compare how much fuel different operators use and identify trends that may be useful when training operators. Perhaps an operator uses a power mode that requires more fuel when the Standard or Economy mode works just as well and requires less fuel.
Tracking idle time is a good starting point with telematics data, as Construction Equipment notes. Through the DoosanCONNECT Telematics interface, you may notice an operator letting the equipment idle for extended periods between tasks. Sometimes an operator uses the machine’s heating or air conditioning from a comfort standpoint. Other times it’s a bad habit of using the air conditioning without really needing it and presents an opportunity for you to educate the operator.
Fleet managers increasingly use telematics to evaluate how many machines they need for construction projects. You may not need as many machines as originally planned and can reassign the equipment to another jobsite.
You may also be able to reduce transportation costs by limiting the number of machines at your jobsites or improve jobsite efficiencies by adding necessary machines. For example, you can track how many articulated dump trucks you need to transport material from point A to point B. If an excavator is regularly waiting for a truck to load material, you may decide that you want to bring another truck or rent one for a job. You can also easily track fuel consumption from one brand to another.
Activate Auto Idle to Save Fuel
Some construction equipment is available with an auto-idle feature. After the machine is stationary for a short time, the machine will automatically lower the engine rpms for less fuel consumption. This is a first step toward saving fuel — and saving your company money.
Excavators may burn as much as 4 gallons of fuel in an hour, according to a heavy equipment fuel efficiency guide developed by McClung-Logan Equipment Company. Wheel loaders may consume 6 gallons of fuel in an hour, the guide suggests. In an 8-hour workday, that’s as much as 48 gallons of fuel.
Imagine saving a gallon of fuel per machine, per day — or 30 gallons per machine each month. The savings quickly add up.
Choose Operating Modes That Burn Less Fuel
Machines often feature several operating modes to best fit an operator’s tasks. Doosan excavators come standard with four power modes.
Make sure operators know how to use the machine’s LCD screen and know where to find the section to adjust modes. Operators can test the various modes on the same jobsite until they feel how the machine performs in each mode.
Use the Standard or Economy modes to save fuel. Standard mode is ideal for everyday digging, grading and lifting. If operators are working in light grading situations or need to slow the machine for precise work, use Economy mode. Read more about power modes on the crawler excavator page.
Perform Maintenance to Keep Machines Running
If your construction equipment is not maintained, it won’t work as efficiently. It also means your machines will burn more fuel. Train operators to follow the recommended maintenance schedule found in your Operation and Maintenance Manual.
Everyday maintenance should include checking and replacing air filters, fuel filters and oil filters as needed. Your telematics data can tell you how many hours it has been since you last replaced a filter. Some operators prefer to write the replacement date on the filter with a permanent marker.
Another best practice: Replace machine fluids according to the maintenance schedule. Use the recommended fluids, such as engine oil and hydraulic oil, so your machine gets the proper amount and type of fluids.
Inflate wheel loader tires to the proper level and encourage your operators to routinely check tire pressure. An underinflated tire or tires may impact how the machine performs. It’s also recommended to check for tire wear or damage and contact a dealer promptly to make necessary repairs.
Fuel Efficiency Tips
Follow these five tips to reduce fuel consumption and improve your fleet’s fuel efficiency.
- Avoid idling machines.
- Turn machines off when you’re not working.
- Track telematics data and monitor operator usage.
- Use machine modes that require less fuel consumption.
- Properly maintain your construction equipment.
Now that you’ve learned how to reduce fuel consumption, read how to handle diesel fuel.
Another popular topic in the construction industry is the electrification of machines. In another blog titled “Why Electric Construction Equipment Is on the Rise,” we examine this growing trend. Check it out if you’re curious about the future of powering construction equipment.