Cat expands compact loader facility and launches Series 3 range

By Murray Pollok13 August 2010

The new Cat MTL 257B3 (Multi Terrain Loader) with rake.

The new Cat MTL 257B3 (Multi Terrain Loader) with rake.

Caterpillar is expanding its compact loader facility in Sanford, North Carolina, with the addition of a 270000 ft2 building for logistics and robotic welding fabrication technology. Cat said the facility will allow it to meet growing worldwide demand for skid steer, compact track and multi-terrain loaders.

Construction work on the Sanford facility will begin in September and is expected to be finished in July 2011. It will employ around 325 additional workers over a five-year period bringing the total workforce to approximately 750.

At the same time, the company announced the launch of seven new Series 3 versions of its compact loaders, comprising five new B-series skid steers and two B-series multi-terrain loaders.

Cat said the Series 3 loaders - SSL (skid steer) models 216B3, 226B3, 236B3, 242B3, 252B3 and MTL (multi terrain loader) models 247B3 and 257B3 - have design changes over the Series 2 models that make them "even more capable, more reliable, safer and easier to operate."

Refinements on all seven of the new loaders include: a redesigned ‘dead-engine lower valve' that makes it easier and safer to lower the lift arms if the machine stalls or runs out of fuel; the relocation of the new electronic control module (ECM) from the lower frame to the back of the cab, where it is easier to access; and new ECM-enabled features, such as automatic glow-plug activation, expanded diagnostic capability and the use of an optional on-demand cooling fan that spins only as fast as required by the machine.

In addition, the engines on the SSL 242B3 and MTL 257B3 models have been upgraded, using Cat C3.4 DIT diesel engines rated at 53 kW, a 25% increase over the previous models.

Hydraulic power on both models has also been boosted by 40%, which Cat said will "significantly improve the capability and efficiency of the 242B3 and 257B3 when handling standard-flow work tools, such as brush cutters, power box rakes and trenchers."

Standard rated operating capacity of the five SSL models range from 635 to 1202 kg, and the two MTL units have rated capacities of 975 kg and 1213 kg.

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