Tracked cats: the 100th anniversary of CAT's track type dozers

By Richard High01 May 2008

Caterpillar's new D8T gets put through its paces at the company's in-door demonstration facility in

Caterpillar's new D8T gets put through its paces at the company's in-door demonstration facility in Peoria, Illinois,US.

On 24 November 2004 caterpillar celebrated the 100th anniversary of its track type dozers with the release of three new models-the D8T, D9T and D10T-at its testing facility in Peoria, Illinios, US. Richard High reports.

History was made 100 years ago with the introduction of a machine that would arguably revolutionize the world of construction, and ultimately lead to the formation of the Caterpillar Tractor Co., predecessor of Caterpillar Inc. based in Peoria, Illinois.

On November 24, 1904, Benjamin Holt first demonstrated his innovative steam tractor moving on self-laying tracks. The machine's movement inspired the photographer hired to record the event for posterity to call out “Why if that don't look just like a caterpillar”, thereby giving a name to what is perhaps one of the world's best-known brands today.

Unveiling the three new models-the D8T (34 tonne class), D9T (48 tonne class) and D10T (66 tonne class), Kent Lynch, senior marketing representative of the track type tractor commercial division, told CE that, “Our goal is productivity and efficiency, we aim to improve both.

"Besides which our ‘Social Responsibility Challenge’means that we don't just build machines for one life cycle, we build machines to be rebuilt.”

What this means for the customer is that all three models feature Tier 3/Stage IIIa ACERT engines: the 15 litre C15 for the D8T (347 hp, 259 kW), the 18 litre C18 for the D9T (464 hp, 346 kW) and the 27 litre C27 for the D10T (646 hp, 482 kW).

All these engines in turn feature Cat's ADEM engine management system-“the core, the brains of ACERT”, according to Mr Lynch. ADEM provides users with lower emissions, optimum fuel consumption and maximum power by constantly monitoring the engine requirements.

Another common feature is the company's Advanced Air Management System. This is designed to improve engine responsiveness, a more complete combustion in the cylinder and lower operating costs.

While Precision Fuel Delivery, also common to all three machines, is a multiple injection fuel delivery system that lowers combustion chamber temperatures for lower operating costs, fewer emissions while optimising fuel combustion and efficiency.

Operator comfort has been well looked after too. The new cab was described by Mr Lynch as, “not just a cab, more an integrated electronic platform”. The operator is able to monitor the Computor Aided Earthmoving System (CAES) and AccuGrade laser system, which are fitted for better productivity.

The tapered hood, large windows, notched fuel tank and narrow single-shank ripper carriage gives the operator a clear line of sight to the front and rear work areas.

Steering, machine direction and gear selection are all clustered in a single handle for “easy, one-handed operation” with Finger Tip Control (FTC) steering in the D10T. The D8T and D9T feature a dual-twist tiller to control the differential steering system that is standard on all machines.

A new Advisor Monitoring System (AMS) provides on-board diagnostics to minimise downtime and maximise machine performance. It displays key machine operating information and lets the operator set and adjust features such as the blade response, blade float, auto blade pitch and spread rate.

Mr Lynch said that before designing systems such as AMS, AutoCarry (automatic blade control) and Auto Blade Assist, which automates common blade functions for increased operator efficiency and reduced workload, and AccuGrade GPS (optional),

“We asked ourselves what we could do to make the machine more productive. Therefore we've made everything as user friendly and efficient as possible, from blade control to operator comfort, from easy maintenance to reducing downtime it's all about improving productivity.”

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