Caterpillar announces hybrid excavator
By Chris Sleight17 October 2012
Caterpillar has unveiled the first model in what it says will be a range of hybrid excavators. The Cat 36 tonne class 336E H is the company’s first machine to use hydraulic hybrid technology developed internally by Caterpillar.
The move by Caterpillar is unusual insofar as other hybrid excavators that have come onto the market over the last few years have tended to be around the 20 tonne mark, a high volume segment of the industry and by far the most popular class of excavator in China, the world’s largest excavator market.
Gary Stampanato, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for the excavation division, said, “The 336 excavator – a recognised industry-leading workhorse in our product line – made the most sense as our first choice for applying the unique hybrid technology.
“The new 336E H hybrid uses as much as 25% less fuel than the standard 336E, without sacrificing performance. No other hybrid machine in its class in the market can achieve these dramatic savings. Since fuel is one of the largest operating costs for our customers in general, quarry and heavy construction applications, this is a technology that directly improves their bottom lines.”
Caterpillar defines a hybrid machine as one that is equipped with a device to collect, store and release energy during machine operation. The company said the 336E H captured energy when the machine slowed down or stoped, and then released it as the machine accelerated. It added that in many applications, an excavator might repeat the same cycle every few seconds, which represents a significant energy savings opportunity.
The official launch of the Cat 336E H will be in April 2013 at the Bauma exhibition in Munich, Germany. Cat dealers will begin taking orders in February 2013, with factory shipments beginning the following month.
Meanwhile, Caterpillar’s new visitor centre in its home town of Peoria, Illinois, US, opened to the public on October 20, at the same time as the neighbouring Peoria Riverfront Museum.
Caterpillar has invested more than $52 million (€40 million) in the Caterpillar Visitors Center and the Peoria Riverfront Museum projects.
The Cat building is nearly 4,650m2 and exhibits include a 62-seat theatre inside a life-sized Cat 797 400-tonne truck, which is over 7m tall.
Cat said the centre was designed to spotlight its heritage, products and services, while showcasing the work its customers around the world achieved every day. Visitors, which will include school parties as well as Cat customers, will be able to sit in the cabs of certain machines, and there are historic as well as contemporary exhibits.