Tinaja truck stop

25 April 2008

Caterpillar’s new 770, 772, 773F, 775F and 777F all feature new Tier 3/Stage IIIa ACERT engines

Caterpillar’s new 770, 772, 773F, 775F and 777F all feature new Tier 3/Stage IIIa ACERT engines

Caterpillar’s new 770 and 772 quarry and construction trucks, and new F Series off-highway trucks are all designed to reflect customer demands for more productive machines that are easier to service and maintain. Richard High visited the company’s Tinaja Hills testing facility in the US to find out more.

Replacing Caterpillar’s 769 and 771, which started production in 1963 and 1970 respectively, the new 770 and 772 quarry and construction trucks incorporate a host of new features designed to lower cost per tonne operating costs. According to Dave Ellington, market development engineer, quarry and construction trucks, mining and construction equipment, this is a direct response to what Cat calls its “Voice of the Customer” initiative.

With payloads of 40 and 50 tons (36.3 tonnes and 45.4 tonne) respectively, the 770 and 772 share many common features. These include Tier 3/Stage IIIA compliant engines, Cat’s C15 ACERT (355 kW) and C18 ACERT (399 kW) respectively, a modular radiator design, enhanced transmission and brakes, and a new cab and operator station.

Interestingly, after 30 years of side-mounted cabs, the 770 and 772’s cabs are centrally mounted. “Why? Well it’s simple,” said Mr Ellington. “Our customers asked for it, so we fed it into the development programme.”

The result is better sightlines around the truck from the new Cat Comfort Seat. With +52% more glass in the cab, convex and flat mirrors, mounted on the side of the cab one above the other, and the optional Work Area Vision (WAVS) rear mounted camera the operator gets 115° of vision round the truck. Useful when backing up or unloading in tricky spaces, said Mr Ellington.

With Cat’s customers saying a shortage of skilled labour, health and safety issues, regulatory requirements and cost per tonne remain the key issues when deciding what truck to buy, Mr Ellington believes Cat has answered these concerns head on.

“The new trucks offer well-designed access for operators and service personnel. A new information system, Cat Messenger, aids both maintenance technicians and operators and the ACERT engines deliver lower emissions,” said Mr Ellington.

Cat Messenger, provides real-time and stored machine performance and diagnostic data through an LCD display in the cab. With the optional Truck Payload Management System (TPMS), it also shows where the payload is in the dumper, weight, loaded travel time, loaded travel distance and accumulated weight.

However, it’s in the area of cost per tonne that Cat’s design engineers have really taken the bull by the horns, said Mr Ellington. The new trucks now feature all hydraulic brakes for improved reliability, while ARC (Automatic Retarder Control), now comes as standard and gives up to +15% faster speeds on gradients, with a safer stop, while preventing brake overheating and engine overspeed. Service intervals have risen from 250 to 500 hours.

Elsewhere, the Next Generation Modular Radiator (NGMR) uses single-pass flow cores, and brazed copper fins for better leak protection and higher heat transfer. Wider fin spacing reduces plugging and makes cleaning easier. The NGMR is also modular for easier servicing/replacement.

This is coupled to bigger steering cylinders to improve reliability/durability. There is also a choice of dual slope and flat floor body systems, with three different steel, and two rubber liner packages.

F Series

Like the 770 and 772 quarry and construction trucks, Caterpillar’s new F Series of off-highway trucks have also been designed to reflect the “voice of the customer”. The 773F, which has a maximum payload capacity of 60 tons (54.4 tonnes), and the 70 ton (63.5 tonne) 775F, replace the 773E and 775E, while the 100 tons (90.9 tonne) 777F replaces the 777D.

According to Mike Mesnard, marketing manager, quarry and construction products, much of the same technology used on the 770 and 772 is to be found on the new F Series. This includes new Tier 3/Stage IIIA engines (524 kW C27 ACERT for the 773F and 775F, 700 kW C32 ACERT for the 777F), NGMR radiator, enhanced transmission and brakes, Cat Messenger, ARC, TPMS and the same body shapes as the 770 and 772.

Like the 770/772 trucks the engines feature Cat’s MEUI (mechanically actuated, electronically controlled unit injection) fuel system, which “combines the technical advancement of electronic control with the simplicity of direct, mechanically controlled fuel injection”, said Mr Mesnard.

“Due mainly to the efficient combustion technology, the engine service interval for each of the trucks is 500 hours, twice that of the previous truck models. Elsewhere, QuickEvac, our on-board engine oil evacuation and pre-lube system, is standard on F-Series and reduces oil change time by as much as -50%,” said Mr Mesnard.

Like the 770 and 772 the new F Series features a new cab. Designed to provide greater operator comfort and control, the cab has +100% more glass, +18% more volume and 7” (177.8 mm) of extra width than the previous models. An integrated stairway system allows easier access.

“A new, more ergonomic design and control layout promotes operator efficiency and reduces operator fatigue. The seat is now in the centre of the cab, for extra room and easier access, while the trainer seat is now on the left. The Cat Comfort Seat delivers comfort, support and durability, while the new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system produces greater airflow and even temperature throughout the cab,” said Mr Mesnard.

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