Analysis of interrelationships among excavator productivity modifying factors

Gary D. Holt, David Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – Excavator productivity calculations embrace myriad variables, which in turn, can be modelled in several ways. A key productivity variable is operator competence (Oc) because this can impact on so many of the other variables. Earlier research has studied excavator productivity, but little has attempted to simultaneously model productivity variables in relation to Oc. The purpose of this paper is to address the void in extant literature. Design/methodology/approach – A numeric, theoretical analysis is undertaken using the Caterpillar® hydraulic excavator productivity model to estimate excavator production, given: first, variance in modifying factors based on derived maximum and minimum values; and second, variance resulting from linear calculations based on excavator operator competence. Findings – Excavator productivity resulting from incremental variance of modifying factors in isolation is shown to be linear except, in the case of bucket payload. Simultaneous application of modifying variables results in a greater, curvilinear productivity trend; while it is demonstrated that quantification of key modifying factors can to a significant extent be related to operator competence. Research limitations/implications – Findings add to productivity literature generally and to that of plant and equipment more specifically. Results will help productivity estimation of excavation in a practical sense while informing subsequent design of an empirical academic research of this problem. Originality/value – Originality relates principally to determining modifying factor ranges and their analysis of simultaneous effect on each other, especially, as influenced on assumptions of operator competence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-869
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Productivity and Performance Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Excavators
  • Independent variables
  • Modelling output
  • Modifying factors
  • Productivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Strategy and Management


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