New Bobcat MaxControl brings machine control of the future
Bobcat has launched the MaxControl Remote Control system, giving us a vision of machine control of the future, by enabling operators to control Bobcat compact loaders remotely via an app, using an iPhone or iPad. The MaxControl system provides a new remote control solution for applications in many markets including construction, demolition, agriculture, landscaping, cleaning, recycling and general lifting and handling.
With MaxControl, owners of Bobcat loaders do not need the latest machines or costly hardware updates to enjoy remote control. The system is compatible with all Bobcat loaders with Selectable Joystick Controls (SJC) dating as far back as 2004. MaxControl is available now on iOS devices, but an Android version will be available shortly.
“The jobsite of the future is a more connected place and gamification will play a vital role. Changing demographics and consumer preferences are pushing our industry into categories that have been unheard of or have been poorly addressed in the machinery sector. At the same time, the need to address environmental impact, safety and elimination of downtime has become paramount,” says Vijayshekhar Nerva, Head of Innovation and Acceleration for Doosan Bobcat EMEA.
“Our Innovation team has delivered a solution that is complex enough to improve productivity on the jobsite and at the same time, packaged to be accessible and simple to use. MaxControl was born out of these ideals and changing preferences to address our ability to not just keep up but keep ahead of competition in both ‘the Iron’ as well as the Digital side of our business,” continues Vijayshekar Nerva.
Remote Operation Always at Your Fingertips
The MaxControl system ensures that remote control capability is always at the operator’s fingertips as they can simply reach for the phone in their pocket and start controlling their Bobcat compact loader remotely within seconds, without having to worry about any extra gadgets. Being based on an app, it is easy to get the newest features the moment they are available.
By combining jobs without having to jump in and out of the loader’s cab, the MaxControl system provides the operator with a different view of the job in hand, allowing them to carry out tasks remotely, and to repeat the process with maximum comfort. Being able to operate outside the cab provides a different angle of view, helping new and even less experienced operators in tight areas. When lifting and carrying large loads, the use of MaxControl eliminates blind spots in front of the load and raises awareness of the surrounding environment. Being outside the cab also allows for face-to-face communication with co-workers on site, enabling faster organization of the work. Operators may never know in advance when remote operation will come in handy, but with MaxControl on the phone in their pocket, they are always ready for any challenges that can arise.
Vijayshekhar Nerva adds: “Bobcat has much wider plans for the MaxControl system. We are looking to make MaxControl a simple modular solution, with one hardware box for the groundwork, laying the foundation for other features. Remote operation is the first feature and we are looking into adding more in the future such as Object Avoidance and Semi-Autonomy.”
Transforming Two Person Jobs into Solo Tasks
Some two person jobs can now be achieved solo, such as loading a Bobcat loader onto a trailer with maximum precision and without the need to rely on an additional set of eyes. Operators can dig posts or install fences without getting in and out of the cab and finish backfilling without having to switch between machines multiple times.
Bobcat MaxControl provides an extra set of hands, saving time and money in simple everyday tasks such as opening and closing gates or loading bales in shorter time and with a smaller crew. Being outside the cab also comes in handy when operating close to livestock or cleaning inside barns.
Bobcat MaxControl is a new hardware kit, combined with an iOS application, with easy touch controls that are designed for smartphones, so that remote control using the system is just as intuitive as using a phone app. The system also allows an operator to carry out two jobs at once, using remote control to comfortably operate a second machine from the cab - for example, an operator can sit in an excavator and use a loader remotely for back-filling.
MaxControl video on YouTube:
Full Control of the Job Site
The MaxControl system provides the operator with ultimate control over the jobsite by synchronizing the app with multiple machines, switching between machines seamlessly, accomplishing more with less effort. The system allows users to stay comfortable, with no need to climb in and out of protective equipment. They can simply use their phone to send the machine into a dusty or potentially unsafe environment – it does the work, while the operator stays a safe distance away. The plug & play simplicity of the system means that in a few simple steps, the operator can synchronize any compatible machine with their phone and start working within moments. No specialized equipment or service technician is needed.
Bobcat MaxControl Features and Specifications
The MaxControl system uses a Wi-Fi signal to communicate with the customer’s iOS device and operates in a range of up to 100 m. In remote areas with poor connectivity, the system keeps the operator logged on for 12 hours of operation. Other features include:
- Machine diagnostics to communicate all important information about the carrier.
- Peer-to-Peer Sharing – Multiple end-users can be given access to the machine, enabling a quick change of operators in case of any customer requirements.
- Error Codes – Identify errors with ease from the service codes popping up directly on the phone.
- Hours of Operation – Track how many hours a machine has been in operation.
- Retrofittable to all SJC Loaders from J to R-Series machines.
- Upgradable software, with more features coming soon.
Positive Customer Feedback
The new MaxControl system has been very well received by the first customers around Europe, including the first installations in Spain and Germany. In Spain, Obras y Construcciones Corbera, a construction and earthmoving company was the first business in Spain to purchase the MaxControl system. Poth Garten + Landschaftsbau in Darmstadt in Germany, a long-time customer and user of Bobcat machines, has also been impressed with the Bobcat MaxControl system as part of a customer pilot project.
‘It's Like Driving a Remote-Controlled Car’
“It's fantastic, very easy to assemble and disassemble, and to use - it's like driving a remote-controlled car, but always with great care," says Eduard Heredia, Manager of Obras y Construcciones Corbera.
He continues: “In just a few hours I had mastered the operation of the loader through my own iPhone - I would definitely highlight the safety aspects. The MaxControl system is very useful and versatile as I can use it with the bucket or with a variety of Bobcat attachments to carry out different tasks safely such as clearing brush or using a wheel saw. Also, I only have a Bobcat tracked loader at the moment, but in the future I might buy a skid-steer model and I will be able to work with the MaxControl with both machines.”
‘The Set-Up was Child’s Play’
Poth Garten + Landschaftsbau specialises in clearing work and planting in parks, cemeteries and playgrounds. Markus Poth, the company’s owner and Managing Director, says: "The set-up was child's play and very intuitive. You simply connect the device to the machine via the joystick control and a remote dashboard forms and is displayed on the smartphone. Thanks to this flexibility, the operator can simply start the machine, pull out his mobile phone and control the machine remotely. Switching back to manual driving is just as quick.”
"MaxControl provides us with two extra hands, saving time and money. It solves the problem of constantly getting on and off the machine for certain jobs, such as loading materials or driving over ramps. It is easy and intuitive to use and has a range of up to 100 m. I could also very well imagine using the MaxControl in combination with our Bobcat machines when supporting archaeological excavations," adds Markus Poth, explaining the possible applications of the remote control solution.
"The hardware can be easily updated as well. This is a promising system that offers many new application possibilities that are not offered by other manufacturers. I would be happy if it became standard for all larger machines," says Markus Poth, looking to the future.