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International Union of Operating Engineers

With the increased demand in the pipeline industry for qualified and experienced operators, The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) has designed a comprehensive training program for operators. The training classes are offered regionally at various local union training sites throughout the U.S. and last for three weeks. Up-to-date pipeline equipment is used, including sidebooms (pipelayers), dozers, excavators, and pipe bending machines.

PLM had the privilege of providing the IUOE with Cat® equipment for this training program. Among the list of equipment required were the PL61 pipelayer, 320EL excavator, and D6TXL/winch. Some of the machines were equipped with Tier 4 Interim emissions technology and the trainers required additional information themselves, prior to training their operators. Matt Barkdull, product support coordinator, and Scott Jeter, sales account manager, traveled to two of the training sites to provide this much need additional training in late October of this year.

The first training site was in Indianola, IA and the second location was in Bennett, CO where Dawn Rivera, marketing and communications manager, joined them. In addition to Tier 4I training, PLM was able to interview the senior trainer, Frank Gwinn, and get feedback on the equipment and the training program as a whole.

From the beginning it was very clear that safety was a major part of every discussion. In the pipeline training program, the operators receive training on grading, winching, stringing, lowering-in, and much more. After Matt introduced Tier 4I and answered questions with a hands-on walk around the machines, Frank emphasized to the class that with environmental issues being what they are, everyone should accept the new technology and embrace it - because it was here to stay.

Operators reported that they like the cab on the PL series pipelayers because it’s comfortable and helps them focus on the job at hand instead of operator fatigue. In addition, the PL61 turns and moves easily and even though the ergonomic hand controls and machine electronics took some getting used to, once trained, the operators found them easy to use.

PLM provides pipeline equipment and solutions to pipeline contractors around the world. These same contractors want trained and experienced operators. The additional service to our customers, such as helping with this training program, is just one more example of how PLM is committed to their success.

More information regarding this interview released in World Pipelines Publication, February 2013.

U.S. Pipeline