Feature: Caterpillar launch three 20 tonne class excavators

Caterpillar has unveiled a trio of state-of-the-art 20tonne class excavators, while a proven loading model is proving a big hit on two German work sites. Guy Woodford reports – in our sister title Aggregates Business.

Caterpillar says its trio of new Next Generation 20tonne size class excavators —the 320 GC, 320 and 323—increase operating efficiency, lower fuel and maintenance costs, and improve operator comfort compared to previous models. The new excavators offer novel combinations of purpose-built features designed to match customers’ productivity and cost targets.

All three new models were unveiled to the world’s construction trade media at Caterpillar’s Demonstration & Learning Center in Malaga, Spain. The excavators will be available to European customers in Q1 2018, and to Africa, Middle East and CIS customers later in the year.

The new Cat 320 is said to raise the bar for efficiency with integrated Cat Connect Technology that advances productivity gains. Standard technology combined with lower fuel and maintenance costs delivers low-cost production in medium- to heavy-duty applications.

Designed for low- to medium-duty applications, the new Cat 320 GC combines the right balance of productivity features with reduced fuel consumption and maintenance costs. The result is high reliability and low cost-per-hour performance.

Delivering high production performance, the new Cat 323 boasts standard integrated Cat Connect Technology and the most power and lift capacity in the line. These features combine with lower fuel consumption and reduced maintenance costs to deliver maximum productivity at the lowest cost.

The new Cat 320 and 323 are said to boast the industry’s highest level of standard factory-equipped technology to boost productivity. Both models are equipped with integrated Cat Connect Technology, said to increase operating efficiency by up to 45% over traditional grading operations.

Offering guidance for depth, slope and horizontal distance to grade, the Cat Grade with 2D system helps operators reach the desired grade quickly and accurately. Using the system’s E-fence feature enables the machine to work safely under structures or near traffic by preventing any part of the excavator from moving outside operator-defined set points. The standard 2D system can be upgraded to Cat Grade with Advanced 2D or Cat Grade with 3D.

Standard Grade Assist automates boom, stick and bucket movements, so operators stay on grade simply and effortlessly with single-lever digging. Cat Payload on-board weighing, integrated on the Cat 320 and 323 at the factory, delivers precise load targets and increased loading efficiency with on-the-go weighing and real-time payload estimates without swinging to prevent truck over/under-loading. Cat LINK™ hardware and software connect jobsites to the office and provide customers with machine-critical operating information.

Durable Cat engines provide duty-matched power ratings from 90 to 121kW for the three new excavators. The efficient Next Generation machines consume up to 25% less fuel than the previous, corresponding models. New Smart mode operation automatically matches engine and hydraulic power to digging conditions, optimising both fuel consumption and performance. Engine speed is automatically lowered when there is no hydraulic demand to further reduce fuel usage.
More efficient than single-fan systems, the new cooling system employs multiple electric fans, which independently monitor hydraulic oil, radiator and air-to-air aftercooler temperatures to deliver the exact airflow required. With a new hydraulic system built for responsiveness and efficiency, the Cat 320 GC, 320 and 323 feature a new main control valve that eliminates the need for pilot lines, reduces pressure losses and lowers fuel consumption. Fewer hydraulic lines on the excavators result in 20% less oil required, lowering long-term operating costs.

Offering extended and more synchronised maintenance intervals, the new Cat excavators do more work at a lower cost and reduce maintenance costs by up to 15% over the previous series. Featuring higher dirt capacity, the new Cat hydraulic return filter boasts a 3,000-hour service life, a 50% increase over previous filters. A new Cat air filter with integrated pre-cleaner and primary and secondary filters extends service life to 1,000 hours, a 100% increase over previous designs, while a new fuel tank cap filter extends service life to 2,000 hours. The three fuel system filters each offer a 500-hour service interval.

All daily maintenance checks for engine oil, fuel water separator, fuel tank water and sediment, and cooling system level are performed from ground level, making the routine faster, easier and safer. Consolidated filter locations reduce service time.

All Next Generation Cat Excavator cabs come equipped with standard features like keyless push-button start, large standard 203mm touchscreen monitor with jog dial keys for control and sound-suppressed rollover protective structures (ROPS) to offer the next level of operator comfort, safety and quiet operation. Programmable joystick buttons for response and pattern allow the operator to dial in productivity settings. New advanced viscous mounts reduce cab vibration by up to 50% over previous models to reduce operator fatigue.

Equipped with a choice of Comfort, Deluxe or Premium cab packages, the new spacious cab features a low-profile design and large front, rear and side windows to enhance visibility to the front and side of the excavator. Optional 360-degree visibility combines images from multiple machine-mounted cameras to enhance the operator’s sight-lines in all directions. Automatic climate control maintains internal cab temperature settings, regardless of external ambient temperatures. A Bluetooth integrated radio with USB ports for connecting and charging phones brings creature comforts from the home to the operator’s office. A tilt-up console for the Deluxe and Premium cab designs affords easy cab entry and exit.

The new CASE CX750D crawler excavator, the largest and most powerful machine in the CASE range, is said to be bigger, stronger and faster than its predecessors, the popular CX700B and CX800B. It is designed and built to deliver faster cycle times and maximise productivity in the most demanding mining, heavy construction and earthmoving applications.

Two CASE customers based in the Eifel region of western Germany were among the very first to experience the claimed massive performance and reliability of the new CX750D in their operations.

Backes Bau-und Transporte chose a CX750D in Mass Excavation version for its Dockweiler basalt quarry. Thomas Backes explains: “The material is extremely hard and it takes considerable strength to break it and crush it. For this reason, when we choose an excavator the hydraulic power and breaking force are of particular importance. Knowing this, the CASE store in Andernach recommended the new CX750D ME featuring a shorter boom and arm, which allows for greater breakout forces.”

The CX750D ME has now delivered more than 300 hours of operation in the basalt quarry, delivering a consistently impressive performance. Thomas Backes is already said to be very satisfied with his CX700B, which has delivered an annual output of 250,000 tonnes without a single failure since its purchase in 2011. Based on this positive experience and the CX750D ME’s performance so far, he has high expectations for his new machine: “We expect the CX750D ME to deliver a comparably consistent performance as our CX700B over the long term. And, just like its predecessor, we expect this 75 tonne excavator to achieve a similar flow rate as a 100 tonne unit.”

Bierbrauer und Sohn in Kretz approached the purchase of its new CX750D with very different requirements; while it was needed primarily for their quarry in Ettringen, it would also be used in earthmoving, material handling and demolition works. Also, as CASE machines are typically very intuitive and easy to master, they plan to offer the new excavator as a rental unit. This meant that versatility was of primary importance.

Karl-Werner Bierbrauer explains the reasons for his choice: “We wanted to use our excavator for as many different jobs as possible, so we chose the standard mono boom with quick-coupler for use with concrete shears and hydraulic hammers, and a 2.9 m3 HD Rock bucket for the quarry.”

Bierbrauer is a loyal CASE customer who has had very good experiences with C and D-Series excavators. In fact, the company’s fleet counts 10 CASE excavators with operating weights ranging from 28 to 37 tonnes, 7 models up to 15 tonnes, as well as wheeled loaders and compact equipment. For this reason, when the time came to purchase a new crawler excavator, CASE was the first choice.

Karl-Werner Bierbrauer was also particularly impressed by the D Series: “The concept in the D-Series is convincing. For our business it is important that when we purchase a machine we get good value for our investment. The machines are reliable, robust and powerful. And the D-Series’ engines are extremely problem free; they deliver a big performance and they are very economical. And Tier 4 certification is becoming increasingly important here in the Eifel region, as we have many natural reserves and historic cities.”

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