Our Greatest Challenges

CAT Lift

The Challenge

A central focus of this QL+ Challenge was integrating wounded warriors back into the workforce. An opportunity arose to employ a number of disabled Veterans in the clearance and reforestation of a large tract of land near Yosemite, owned by a QL+ supporter by modifying an excavator for paralyzed veterans.

In order for injured Veterans to undertake this work, modifications were required to various types of heavy equipment, including a CAT 320C L excavator. The operating cabs of these earth-moving machines are several feet above the ground, with limited steps for ingress/egress.

The resulting chair-hoist system created by QL+ student engineers at Cal Poly assists amputees, limited quadriplegics, paraplegics and others with mobility issues in entering and exiting the CAT 320C L’s operating cab. The “CatClimber” is a linear, actuated lift system that vertically ascends parallel to the cab doorway, then pivots to allow the user to scoot from the chair into the operating seat of the excavator.

This modification opens up new avenues of employment for injured Veterans by enabling them to use this type of heavy equipment.