Send a CTL ASAP: How Compact Track Loaders Get the Job Done Quickly and Precisely

Compact Track Loaders Excel at Big Show Demonstrations and Events
I recently watched a Caterpillar operator nimbly zip around a signature construction yellow-hued Cat compact track loader to scoop demonstration dirt, deposit it into excavated trenches and circle around the outdoor demo area to hop into a compactor. The compactor then tamped down the soil for the next competitor round at the Edward J. Rapp Customer & Training Center during the recent Caterpillar Global Operator Challenge Regionals in Clayton, N.C.

The result was a demonstration area with freshly compacted earth that appeared to not have been touched by a previous operator.

In yet another controlled environment, a Bobcat Company operator in Munich, Germany at bauma remote-controlled a Bobcat compact track loader in reverse to set up a new demonstration of the company’s recently launched E19e electric compact excavator.

Both scenarios left me with my jaw on the ground; I was in awe witnessing these compact track loaders transform a ripped up, disheveled demonstration area to a precise, smooth one in seconds.

“The increased flotation provided by [Bobcat compact track loader] track systems makes them ideal on a wide range of jobsites with soft ground surfaces such as sand, mud and clay,” said Michael Fitzgerald, marketing manager for Doosan Bobcat. “With their weight distributed throughout the track and ground contact area, CTLs can travel across uneven ground more efficiently and are better at maneuvering through softer ground conditions. Additionally, their long ground contact and light footprint make compact track loaders a good fit for leveling work and finish grading.”

As someone who is new to the construction equipment industry, I have studied up on terminology, new product launches and equipment functionalities and features in the past six months. However, nothing beats the experience of seeing the equipment in action or, better yet, getting in the cab and operating a new machine.

Read more: Send a CTL ASAP: How Compact Track Loaders Get the Job Done Quickly and Precisely

Dig Into Excavator Productivity

Modern excavators are loaded with productivity enhancing features, but if you don’t understand the advantages built into your particular machines, you can’t exploit them. Every manufacturer offers it own unique nuances. It is well worth your time to investigate the features and technology and how they can cut cycle times.

“The rule of thumb on excavators, cycle time is king,” says Matthew Hendry, John Deere Construction. “To maximize performance, you want to make sure you are getting as fast of cycles as you can get. With a 20-ton machine, you are probably looking at a 9- to 10-second cycle time if you are doing things right. You go up to an 85-ton machine, and you are probably looking at an 18-second cycle time. The bigger machines are a bit slower.”

Shorter cycle times reduce cost. “If you start lengthening cycle time, then your cost is going up and your production is dropping,” says Hendry.

There are many universal tips that can increase effectiveness, regardless of make and model. “Experienced operators can tell you there are many tricks to maximize productivity and decrease the cost of operating any type of construction equipment,” says Rob Brittain, product manager, Link-Belt Excavators. “Having the bucket teeth at the proper angle when digging maximizes productivity. Having the proper tools to assist in lifting applications saves time. You have more lifting power when the boom arm is tucked in closer to the machine. To be efficient, consider a quick coupler to shorten the time required to swap out tools.”

Understand unique features
“The most important thing an operator can do to maximize the productivity of any machine is to know the equipment, and that starts with reading the operator’s manual,” says Brittain.

Different machines may respond better to different techniques. “John Deere and Hitachi excavators have a very strong arm,” says Hendry. “We do a lot of our digging cycle with arm input as opposed to bucket curl. It is actually a faster cycle… With our excavators, you get about a 50° down angle on your teeth on the bucket. You arm in and boom up just enough to keep from stalling the arm. At about the 90° phase of the arm coming in, that bucket is about 95% full. Our machines will fill that bucket with just arm force.”

Read more: Dig Into Excavator Productivity

Caterpillar Unveils Its First Hybrid Excavator

In the sustainable industry, there’s buzz about hybrid technology. What is it? How does it benefit the user? How does it benefit the environment? What is the payback on hybrid technology? And what does hybrid really mean?

Caterpillar hit the nail on the head, so to “construction” speak, with the Cat 336E H Hybrid Excavator. This recently-unveiled and soon-to-be-launched (it will officially be launched at the BAUMA exposition in Germany in April 2013) machine is the first in its line of hybrid excavators and uses a new hydraulic hybrid technology developed by Caterpillar.

Video: How Does Cat’s 336E Hybrid Excavator Conserve Fuel, Optimize Performance and Reuse Energy?

What does hybrid really mean?
“A hybrid is independent of any particular technology — it doesn’t have to be electric,” explains Ken Gray, Global Product Manager for large hydraulic excavators for Caterpillar’s Excavation Division. There are misconceptions in the industry today that hybrids have to be electric and that hybrids are small, less powerful and unreliable. The Cat 336E H proves that none of these common perceptions are true.

“There are many other ways to store and reuse energy, other than electric, even though this is the approach many others have taken,” Gray notes. (See explanation under the subhead “Hybrid Technology Up Close” further down in this article.)

Caterpillar defines a hybrid machine as one that’s equipped with devices to collect, store and release energy to perform work during machine operation. This means that to be called a hybrid, a machine is not dependent on any particular technology.

Wikipedia defines hybrid power in a similar way…hybrid power is the combination of a power producer and the means to store that power in an energy storage medium.

Read more: Caterpillar Unveils Its First Hybrid Excavator

Caterpillar Announces Two New Hydraulic Excavators, Both Promising More Power and Productivity

Caterpillar announced the launch of two new hydraulic excavators on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, one of just a few major equipment launches ahead of the 2023 CON-EXPO show. The new Cat 340 Hydraulic Excavator features a more powerful engine, wider track, and 7.5-ton counterweight to increase productivity by 10% over the 2020 model year Cat 336, according to Caterpillar. The new Cat 352 Hydraulic Excavator combines more power and a heavier counterweight to work with larger tools, Caterpillar said in a press release.

New Cat 340 Hydraulic Excavator Offers Versatility, Durability
The new Cat 340 excavator’s structure assures durability in loading, hammering and digging projects, according to Caterpillar, which emphasized the 340 excavator’s reinforced exterior when compared to the Cat 336.

The excavator has a Cat C9.3B engine, which promises 14 million service hours. Three engine modes ensure the 340 excavator’s power matches the particular work needed:

Power mode delivers maximum power;
Smart mode automatically matches engine and hydraulic power to jobsite conditions to attempt to lower fuel consumption; and
Eco mode reduces the 340’s engine speed to 1500 rpm to minimize fuel consumption.
Synchronized 1,000-hour oil and fuel filter service intervals should reduce downtime. According to Cat, the reduced maintenance of combined oil and fuel filter services should eliminate the cost of nine oil and fuel filter changes, as well as the parts cost for 27 oil and fuel filters over 10,000 machine operating hours. This should add up to a significant cost savings over competitors’ 30-40-ton excavators.

“The 340 reaches a new level of performance,” said Brian Abbott, Caterpillar global product manager for large hydraulic excavators. “Our additions make the machine more productive and stable with larger work tools, giving contractors more flexibility to complete a wider range of projects.”

The Cat 340 is a highly versatile machine, according to Caterpillar. The machine promises to start in 0˚ F winter weather with auto hydraulic warmup, assures operating capability in ambient temperatures up to125˚ F, and boasts the ability to work at up to 14,764 ft above sea level.

Read more: Caterpillar Announces Two New Hydraulic Excavators, Both Promising More Power and Productivity

Doosan Bobcat Eliminates the Hydraulic System on its New All-Electric Compact Track Loader

Doosan Bobcat is showcasing the all-new, all-electric Bobcat T7X compact track loader, as well as its electric excavator at CES 2022, the world’s most influential technology event, taking place from January 5 to 8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Doosan Bobcat previewed its exploration into an all-electric compact track loader with the prototype T76e displayed at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020. Almost two years later, the T7X represents the company’s first all-electric production version, featuring battery power with electric actuation and propulsion that completely eliminates the traditional hydraulic system and components. The result is zero emissions, reduced sound levels, limited vibrations and lower daily operating costs.

“Doosan Bobcat is at the forefront of innovation, and we are proud to debut the all-electric technology of the T7X to help customers maximize both sustainability and productivity,” said Scott Park, president and CEO of Doosan Bobcat, Inc. “Our focus remains on providing solutions and products that empower people to accomplish more and build a better world.”

To speed the pace of research and development for electronic control capabilities of the T7X, Doosan Bobcat collaborated with Moog Inc., a global developer of motion control components and systems for industries ranging from aerospace and defense to construction.

“Like Doosan Bobcat, we believe that electrification, automation and connectivity go hand-in-hand,” said Moog Inc. Chairman and CEO John Scannell. “We are proud to collaborate with Doosan Bobcat and bring our comprehensive set of electrification capabilities, including hardware and intelligent software, to the world’s first all-electric loader. The T7X is an exciting step forward for the construction industry.”

So much so that the T7X was honored with two 2022 CES Innovation Awards in the categories of Vehicle Intelligence & Transportation and Smart Cities. The awards program recognizes honorees in various consumer technology product categories and distinguishes the highest rated in each. Products are reviewed and scored by a panel of designers, engineers and members of the tech media based on design, functionality, consumer appeal, engineering and their positive impact on the world.

Read more: Doosan Bobcat Eliminates the Hydraulic System on its New All-Electric Compact Track Loader

Caterpillar MD5075C Track Drill

The MD5075C track drill is mounted on a Cat 315E excavator undercarriage and incorporates a mechanical design carousel rod changer and drill rod handling system with no sensitive electronic sensors to cause downtime.

  • Capable of drilling holes of 3 to 4.5 in. in diameter to a depth of 102.5 ft.
  • 300-hp C9 engine can be configured to meet emissions standards worldwide
  • Compressor offers widely variable air control and produces 350 cfm at 150 psi
  • HPR5123 standard rock drill uses 45- or 51mm drill rod, while the HPR4519 rock drill uses 45mm drill rod
  • Pressurized cab includes numerous shutdown methods, responsive controls, isolator-mounting to minimize vibration, powerful HVAC system and six-way adjustable seat
  • Control system features touchscreen navigation, rearview camera, tram, water, rock drill auto-lube, alerts, drilling and target depths, penetration rate, machine performance, total hours and service
  • Depth indicator ensures all holes are drilled to the planned depth
  • Drill Assist monitors main hydraulic systems and automatically adjusts to pre-programmed parameters
  • Includes Cat Monitoring System (Cat MS) and Product Link
  • Simple, well-organized electrical/hydraulic arrangements, logically located components and ground level service facilitate maintenance

Read more: Caterpillar MD5075C Track Drill

5 Important Considerations for Sourcing Fluid Power Projects

For various reasons, you may need to source a new hydraulic or pneumatic system. The driver might be the need for increased production, or the current system may have obsolete components, or a new piece of equipment is being built and the fluid power system will be purchased separately. No matter the reason, it is important toDsc 3076 Power Unit V05 Hr select a supplier who can correctly assess the requirements and provide a start-to-finish project that will meet or exceed expectations. This will include system design, engineering, fabrication and on-site startup if necessary. In many cases, you may require the supplier to provide installation, including using their service technicians or hiring contractors. Below are some services you’ll want from a quality supplier.

1. Qualified professionals for the on-site assessment
From a technical standpoint, a fluid power specialist should be available for an on-site consult. Fluid power specialists are trained in the principles of both hydraulics and pneumatics, and many of them are certified by the International Fluid Power Society. This organization assesses fluid power skills in specialists, engineers, mechanics and technicians.

In addition to a general evaluation, the fluid power specialist should be able to offer suggestions for improving the basic system requirements by presenting the latest component technologies and practices that can help improve system performance, efficiency, reliability and lifecycle.

The specialist must also be familiar with the application of electrical and automation solutions. The final design commonly includes motor starters, heaters, sensors and other instrumentation, which requires familiarity with the latest IIoT technology. These system upgrades allow for network connectivity to be used in remote monitoring of system health and reliability. Turnkey systems may require the specialist to incorporate these components, which means they will work closely with the facility’s electrical, automation and maintenance engineers. The specialist will play a pivotal role in long-term reliability of the system and reduced operational cost throughout its lifetime.

2. In-house engineering services
Following the on-site field assessment, the supplier you choose should have an engineer on staff for project management and detailed system design. The engineer provides the final design, including confirmation of system concept, detailed component selection and circuit design for hydraulic, pneumatic and electrical integration. The engineer should provide fluid power and electrical circuit diagrams, system layout drawings and system fabrication costs. When the design is complete, you should receive the engineering diagrams and a detailed explanation of system performance and expectations.

Read more: 5 Important Considerations for Sourcing Fluid Power Projects

Caterpillar Launches CAT 350 Hydraulic Excavator

Caterpillar has unveiled the new Cat 350 hydraulic excavator for construction and industrial projects. The Cat 350 excavator can be equipped with large buckets up to 3.2 m3 (4.2 yd3). This new excavator model consumes up to 13 percent less fuel than the Cat 349. Three power mode options – Smart, Power, and Eco – match the excavator with specific jobs to further reduce fuel consumption.

“Caterpillar is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while helping our customers meet their climate-related objectives,” said Brian Abbott, Caterpillar global product manager for large hydraulic excavators. “The 350 is our latest example of delivering on that commitment.”

Excavator Technology
The new 350 excavator’s standard Cat 2D grade system indicates depth and slope on the monitor with alerts to increase handling. Grade assist helps the operator to stay on grade with single-lever digging. For truck loading and trenching applications, swing assist automatically stops excavator swing at operator-defined setpoints to consume less fuel. Lift assist helps avoid machine tipping by letting the operator know the load is within safe working range limits. To safely work around obstructions, 2D e-fence prevents the excavator from moving outside of operator-defined set points.

Cat payload onboard weighing gives real-time weight estimates to achieve precise load targets. When combined with VisionLink, the feature offers remote managing of production targets. Alternatively, the monitor’s USB port allows fleet managers to download up to 30 days of work for progress management without an internet connection or VisionLink subscription.

Available in-cab grade technology upgrades include Cat grade with advanced 2D for creating and editing grade designs via a second high-resolution touchscreen monitor and Cat grade with 3D to create and edit designs on that second monitor plus see the front linkage’s full range of motion. All Cat grade systems are compatible with radios and base stations from third-party technology suppliers.

Read more: Caterpillar Launches CAT 350 Hydraulic Excavator

Doosan launches largest excavator in company history

Doosan has launched the new DX1000LC-7 Stage V compliant 100 tonne crawler excavator, the largest excavator model ever manufactured by the company.

Driven by the most powerful engine in the 100 tonne class, the DX1000LC-7 also has the highest hydraulic flow for this size of machine, providing best-in-class performance, with higher productivity, lower fuel consumption and smoother controls.

The DX1000LC-7 is primarily intended to serve customers in mining and quarrying applications, removing overburden and loading large amounts of material into articulated dump trucks or rigid frame trucks. The DX1000LC-7 may also be operated on large construction and infrastructure projects, particularly where considerable amounts of material need to be excavated and stockpiled or loaded into trucks to be moved.

The DX1000LC-7 excavator is powered by the new stage V version of the well-proven Perkins 2806J diesel engine, providing a high power output of 469 kW (629 HP), more than any other machine in this class. The engine meets Stage V emission regulations by utilising exhaust gas recirculation, selective catalyst reduction, diesel oxidation catalyst and diesel particulate filter (DPF) after-treatment technologies.

The DPF automatically regenerates every 25 hours and the excavator continues to work unaffected during this regeneration phase. The operator can check the status of the DPF via the display on the gauge panel in the cab.

Hydraulic high

The high output of the engine is combined with a Virtual Bleed Off (VBO) hydraulic system (D-ECOPOWER+), and controlled by electric manipulator (FEH) providing a best-in-class hydraulic flow of (3x 523) – 1569 l/min and a high system pressure of 360 bar, together contributing to the best performance in the 100 tonne market.

Doosan’s D-ECOPOWER+ FEH technology utilises an electronic pressure-controlled pump within a closed centre hydraulic system to optimise productivity and fuel consumption, depending on the mode selected. A closed centred main control valve minimises pressure loss, while the electric pressure-controlled pump manages and optimises engine power more effectively.

Software is utilised to electronically reproduce the full benefits of an open centre hydraulic system with very little energy loss. The hydraulic system and engine output are fully optimised and synchronised, further reducing losses within the system.

Improved feedback to the operator through the joystick results in improved machine control and less operator fatigue. The acceleration and deceleration of the excavator workgroup functions are smoother, allowing operators to perform repetitive swinging and digging motions with less jerking movements.

Read more: Doosan launches largest excavator in company history

Hyundai adds to A-series excavator range

Hyundai Construction Equipment is introducing a further two EU Stage V compliant A-Series crawler excavators, with the launch of the HX160A L and the HX180A L.

These mid-weight machines are powered by the latest Cummins diesel engines, achieving Stage V emissions standards without the need for Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR). Offering improved fuel consumption, the 16 and 18-tonne models deliver improved operating speed and performance, with increased visibility and safety. Features of the two new models include:

  • Cummins EU Stage V B4.5 diesel engine delivers 13% increase in power and 27% more torque than previous models
  • Up to a 5% improvement in fuel consumption in levelling and truck loading operations in P mode
  • Particulate Matter (PM) reduction of 60% with no requirement for EGR
  • New Lifting Mode improves fine hydraulic control, using engine rpm reduction, power boost action and pump flow control
  • Upgraded Electric Pump Independent Control (EPIC) optimises hydraulic pump flow rate and power to match the machine’s working conditions

Total control

Hyundai’s Electric Pump Independent Control (EPIC) system has been adopted, to make the most of the additional performance provided by the Cummins B4.5 diesel engine. Both excavators benefit from a 115kW (155hp) gross power output, with a robust 712Nm peak torque available at just 1,200rpm. Twin variable displacement hydraulic pumps deliver 160lpm of flow, providing the HX160A L and HX180A L with increased productivity when compared to many competitor machines.

Improved control of the engine output and the hydraulic system has resulted in increased fuel efficiency, with the excavators achieving a 5% efficiency gain against the previous HX Series when levelling and truck loading in P Mode. By optimising the design of the main control valve and hydraulic hose routing, Hyundai has also minimised energy losses within the system.

A new Lifting Mode improves fine control and lift capability, reducing engine rpm, activating power boost and offering improved pump flow control. The machines are also offered with an optional Fine Swing Control, smoothing the movement of the boom at the start and stop of the swing movement. An Auto Safety Lock is offered as standard, preventing unintended operation of the hydraulic functions of the excavator.

The operator can set boom-lift speed compared to swing speed, by activating and deactivating the boom priority function. Dipper arm in speed can also be fine-tuned, by activating and deactivating the arm regeneration function. It is now possible to save machine settings through the new Key On Init work mode, to apply the settings on engine start-up. The machine owner can also restrict operator access to some functions within the menu if required.

Read more: Hyundai adds to A-series excavator range


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