A security product designed to help owners manage machine access and deter equipment theft is now available as either a factory-installed option, or as a dealer-installed kit to retrofit noncurrent machines.

The Machine Security System, from Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Ill., uses electronic keys. Each key has a unique digital ID but can also be used as a conventional Caterpillar equipment key, which will fit and work with all existing Cat machines. But if the key is used on a machine that has been equipped with the MSS system, only keys programmed into that machine's system will start the equipment.

Owners can program the keys to manage access to the equipment and can pre-set time frames, such as nights and weekends, during which machines cannot be started.

The system is currently available for a number of models of skid-steer loaders, backhoe loaders, compact wheel loaders, medium wheel loaders and telehandlers. Contact dealers for pricing information.