Manufacturing of Caterpillar mini hydraulic excavators began with an 8-metric-ton machine in 1987 in Japan. Seven years later, the machines were introduced in North America. Over the next decade, a machine lineup and global manufacturing footprint was established. Today, there are 13 machines offered in North America ranging from the 300.9D that weighs less than 1 metric ton to the 308E2, which is an 8-metric-ton Tier 4 Final machine with a high-definition hydraulic system (machine nomenclature reflects the metric tonnage).
In the less-than-3-ton range, there are six machines (300.9D, 301.4C, 301.7D, 301.7DCR, 302.4D and 302.7D CR) that meet the various needs of operators on a wide array of jobsites.
Cat has now added to its E Series line-up to include the 303E CR. The 3-metric-ton machine is the right solution for customers seeking an easily transportable machine for restricted areas, congested jobsites and demanding applications. The 60-in. width and 7,782-lb machine offers a compact radius design with excellent performance and stability. Additionally, the 23.4-hp C1.3 engine and the load-sensing hydraulic system with a flow of 23.1 gpm allow the machine to offer performance and overall operational effectiveness, says Cat.
The other E Series models, including the 303.5E, 304E, 305E and 305.5E, offer a powertrain which provides optimized engine horsepower and strong performance. The E Series machines offer fast, powerful digging with load-sensing hydraulics. The 305 and 305.5 will be released as E2 Series later this year similar to the 308E2. With this new series the 5- and 5.5-metric-ton machines will include a redesigned cab with a wider opening and industry-leading operator environment, says Cat. The 308E2 delivers high performance with the versatility of a swing boom front linkage in a durable compact radius design to work in the tightest applications.
The COMPASS (Complete Operation Performance and Security System) display panel also comes standard in mini hydraulic excavators from the 303.5 up to the 308. The monitor offers such capabilities as: adjustable auxiliary control, economy mode selection for up to 20 percent fuel efficiency, auto idle selection and pass code protected security.
Advice to Buyers
“The mini hydraulic excavator is a vital piece of equipment for a number of industry segments including rental, general construction, landscaping and utilities,” says Jennifer Hooper, marketing development engineer with Cat. “Within each key industry, operators have the opportunity to increase the versatility of their machine and overall jobsite productivity by selecting the proper machine configuration in alignment with the appropriate work tool.”