Five Cool Things about Cat

From Clayton to Peoria, Here Are the Big and Bold Ideas Coming Out of Caterpillar

Caterpillar is the biggest maker of earth moving equipment in the world, so it’s pretty typical for the company to constantly be releasing new equipment. It’s also fairly normal for us to constantly be visiting Cat’s many facilities to discuss and operate all that new equipment. Over a period of four weeks, we visited with Cat three different times — at press events in Clayton, N.C., Peoria, Ill., and Louisville, Ky. (at GIE+EXPO, the biggest green industry trade show in America). The company released a ton of cool new equipment, systems and programs, but below are (in our humble opinion) the five most impressive.

Mini Exs Made in Georgia

Cat released five new compact radius Cat E2 Series mini hydraulic excavators — 303.5E2, 304E2, 305E2, 305.5E2 and 308E2 — that will all use Cat’s new High Definition Hydraulic system (HDH). HDH is discussed in depth in our Innovations Showcase (page 27), but this technology provides a simplified valve architecture that reduces heat, which leads to a reduction in hydraulic instability and improved overall efficiency. Besides HDH, these new E2 Series mini excavators will be built at Caterpillar’s new 850,000-sq-ft facility in Athens, Ga.

The Cat 903C compact wheel loader

The Cat 903C compact wheel loader is the company’s smallest, North American distributed wheel loader.

“We broke ground on that facility in March of 2012, and in November of 2013 we were producing the 308E2 down the line,” said Jennifer Hooper, marketing development engineer for mini excavators, “so it was a very tight timeline from breaking ground and being ramped up and ready for production. Now we’ve got the 8 ton, 5 ton and 5.5 ton down the line. It’s an extensive facility, sitting on about 250 acres we’ve acquired. The facility itself only assumes about 150 acres, but our future state is having suppliers right there on campus and being able to improve our overall supply chain.”

A Truly Compact Wheel Loader

The Cat 903C compact wheel loader is the company’s smallest, North American distributed wheel loader. With a standard operating weight of 9,150 lbs and a 42-hp Cat C2.4 engine, the 903C has the power and balance to work productively in a range of cramped jobsites, including construction, industrial, agricultural, landscaping and snow removal. From the spacious, high visibility cab to the powerful implement hydraulic system (which works through Z-bar linkage and a skid-steer-type), the 903C is changing perceptions about Cat compacts.

“We see about 80 percent of these machines in the vocations we talked about [ag, snow removal, landscape supply shops] using buckets and forks — material handling-type work,” said Jeff Brown, senior project engineer. “So we’ve designed the machine to have the rated operating capacity to meet the tasks it needs to do. With forks, the ROC is between 2,500 and 2,700 lbs [with external counterweights]. Primary types of things that are moved with a 903 are like a 2,500-lb pallet of seed or a 250-gal fertilizer tote. Landscape centers are handling large tree balls, pallets of paver and sod. These are applications that are typical for this size machine in this size class.”

Tier 4 Engine Modification Kits

Machines made for the American market will often find a second life in a foreign country through the used equipment market, but Tier 4 engine technologies and our use of ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel will make it difficult for many types of off-highway equipment to be used in lesser regulated countries. Tackling that issue, Caterpillar Inc. has announced that it is making the first in a series of authorized modification processes available for used Cat Tier 4 Interim machines going to operate outside of Highly Regulated Countries (HRCs). It should be noted it’s actually illegal to modify Tier 4 machines while on U.S. soil; these kits are for overseas dealers. What does the kit involve?

“The destination dealer would have to remove the after-treatment and install a muffler, because that engine is expecting some backpressure,” said Mary Roethler, Cat’s manager of Tier 4 Readiness. “And then they would add more robust fuel filtering. Sometimes when you have higher levels of sulfur, you have more issues with contamination and debris in the fuel filter. So the kit adds additional fuel filtering and software. Because you’ve got all the software on the Tier 4 product that will give you information about regeneration or your DPF — that all needs to change. Then we require that that dealer take that certification label and return it to Cat, and then we will provide them with a new label that says this is an uncertified Tier 4 product.”

C-Series Brooms and Brushes

Three new Cat C-Series brooms — the BP115C and BP118C pickup models, and the BA118C angle mode l — are designed for use with Cat skid steer loaders, compact track loaders, multi-terrain loaders and compact wheel loaders. The new brooms convert the carrier unit into a versatile, effective cleaning machine for removing dirt, rock, assorted debris and snow from large exterior and interior surfaces. The new BP115C and BP118C pickup models have sweeping widths of 60 and 72 in. respectively, and a new gutter brush features heavy-duty mounts and pivot joints. The bucket for the new pickup models also has an adjustable volumizer feature, which allows greater retention of debris in the hopper for fewer emptying stops.

The BA118C angle broom model, with a straight sweeping width of 83 in., features a new bearing-mounting plate that allows the brush to be changed without bearing removal. The new brush-adjustment chain allows for faster height changes, and a new manifold design significantly reduces pressure drop, resulting in greater sweeping power. Non-welded drive components allow significantly easier, more economical replacement, and fewer hoses and fittings further simplify maintenance and boost reliability.

CTL Steel Undercarriage

Cat is offering a new CTL undercarriage that provides a unique solution for customers working in some of the most challenging underfoot conditions. The Cat 299D and 299D XHP CTL models can be configured with a factory option that provides a full steel track undercarriage. The Sealed and Lubricated Track (SALT) option is configured with 15.7-in. triple grouser steel shoes to deliver a 76-in. machine width.

“The steel track option is a great choice for customers who are looking for improved traction and track life while working in challenging underfoot conditions,” says Kevin Coleman, SSL/MTL/CTL senior marketing engineer. “These conditions could be in applications that vary from land management to demolition. The underfoot in these applications typically will have higher concentrations of protruding objects such as boulders, stumps, demolition debris, etc. The steel track undercarriage can offer a lower owning and operating solution in these applications where the traditional rubber tracks may experience accelerated wear.”

Keith Gribbins is associate publisher with Compact Equipment, based in Brecksville, Ohio.