Large number of Cat launches this year
By Sandy Guthrie20 March 2012
With 64 new machines being launched by Caterpillar this year in the building construction products and the global construction and infrastructure sectors, the company claims to be looking forward to a good 2012.
Although he admitted that Europe and the US had not yet recovered to the levels of sales seen before the economic downturn, Robert Droogleever, managing director of Cat's Leicester plant in the UK and worldwide general manager for backhoe loaders, said the growth would be coming in the next two years.
He said, "Caterpillar has healthy growth predicted for 2012. We have invested heavily in R&D (research and development)," adding and it took three years to develop a product and bring it to market.
Cat spent around US$604 million (€557 million) on R&D for machinery and power systems in the three months that ended 31 December, 2011, and US$1.9 billion (€1.44 billion) in 2010.
Mr Droogleever said that the emissions regulations had been an important factor in the development of the new machines, but that the machines also offered extra features for the customer.
Damien Giraud, marketing manager of global construction products for the Europe, Africa, Middle East Region, said that fuel consumption and efficiency were the key drivers, but a choice had also to be made about adapting to the emissions regulations. He said they knew that the soot in the diesel particulate filter (DPF) would have to be burnt off in a regeneration process, but the choice was whether they wanted the operator to start the regeneration process or to opt for passive regeneration.
He said, "Our customers tell so far that we made the right choice with passive regeneration."
The new products include the E series excavators for the European market. Five new compact-radius mini hydraulic excavators have been unveiled - the 303.5E CR, 304E CR, 305E CR, 305.5E CR and 308E CR SB.
All have new engines that meet EU Stage IIIB emissions regulations. Features include a new digital control panel for Cat mini excavators called COMPASS - Complete Operation, Maintenance, Performance & Security System. This includes an anti-theft system and, for the 3.5 to 5.5 tonne machines, an economy mode which Cat said could lower fuel use by up to 20% by adjusting engine speed.
The five E series models have an electronic fuel-pump-priming system and new ergonomic joysticks. The 308E CR SB will be available only in a swing boom configuration.
Cat's small crawler excavators include the 13.6 tonne 312E, which is also new and replaces the 312D, and the 16.7 tonne 316E, which takes over from the 315D. Both are powered by Cat C4.4 ACERT electronically-controlled diesel engines, which replace the previous C4.2.
A revised line up of mid-weight 20 to 24 tonne E series crawler excavators are powered by Stage IIIB Cat C6.6 ACERT engines. The 320E, 323E and the reduced radius 320E RR are said to provide fuel savings of up to 11% over the comparative D models.
Small wheeled loaders
The new K series small wheeled loaders have also been launched in Europe. The 924K, 930K and 938K have been redesigned with new Stage IIIB engines.
Among new features are an electronically-controlled hydrostatic drive system, new optimised Z-bar loader linkage, and a choice of couplers and buckets.
The predecessors of the K series - the 924H, 924Hz, 928Hz, 930H and 938H - will continue to be available in markets with less stringent emissions standards and lower quality fuel.
Cat said the step-less, four-range, hydrostatic drive system allowed independent control of ground speed and engine speed for efficient operation of hydraulically-powered work tools.
The E series backhoe loader range is being upgraded to the F series, which claims to offer improved performance, enhanced visibility and serviceability, and a range of engines to meet the applicable emissions standards.
The 432F will be offered with a choice of 4.27m or 4.57m backhoes. The F series has single tilt and parallel arms to boost front loader performance and enhance visibility, and an optional lock-up torque converter which contributes to lower fuel consumption, according to Cat. Full autoshift is now available on the 428F and boosted brakes are now standard on all models.
In the EU, the F series will use the Cat 4.4 engine that meets Stage IIIA until late 2012. It said this would provide customers with the most efficient, cost effective solution for their operating needs. A Stage IIIB solution will be phased in at the end of this year for the 428F and 432F. The 422F will no longer be available in the EU.
Machines with Stage II engines will be available in markets with less stringent emissions regulations, while Stage IIIA engines will be available in non-EU markets such as Turkey.
The H2 line of compact wheeled loaders for Europe and the US move from Cat C3.4 engines to the new Cat C3.3B, which meet EU Stage IIIA and US Tier 4 interim.
The 906H2, 907H2 and 908H2 also feature a revised loader control valve, standard pilot joystick levers and simplified auxiliary hydraulic connections.
The 906H2 and 907H2 models benefit from improved torque rise and peak torque which is said to result in faster response to operator demand. The engine layout has been rotated by 180°, which Cat said provided easy ground level access for all regular service and maintenance points.
The company has new telescopic handlers for Europe as well. The TH336C, TH337C, TH406C and TH407C machines feature Cat C4.4 ACERT engines that meet Stage IIIB emissions regulations, and are available in a 92.6kW or 106kW rating.
Cat said that fuel consumption was optimised to match tasks, which lowered operating costs. A larger, redesigned cooling package with a hydraulic reversing demand fan is fitted as standard.
Capacities range from 3.3 tonnes to 3.7 tonnes, with lift heights up to 7.3m.