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The fruits of 10 years labour

CATERPILLAR has waited a long time to reap the fruits of its Plant With A Future (PWAF) factory modernisation plan. The scheme, which cost the firm more than $2 billion (1.3 billion) over almost 10 years, has seen the development of committed product groups.

The flow of new and revised machinery coming on to the market has been almost continuous. And, with the worlds biggest plant exhibition, Bauma, scheduled for April the firm has a host of additional machinery in store.

The line-up includes new machinery from the companys factories in the UK, France, Belgium, Germany and the USA. Last year Cat saw record sales and profits in every quarter of the year; with this increased range Cat has high hopes for 1995.

Articulated dump trucks

CATERPILLAR will show the first of its E series ADTs at Bauma, starting with the most popular D250E. Don Stamberger, product manager at Cats plant in Decatur, Illinois, says 25 tonne ADTs (the D250E has a capacity of 22.7 tonnes) make up 50 per cent of the world market, and 66 per cent of the market in Europe.

The D250E benefits from an upgraded turbocharged and aftercooled 3306 engine, providing 260 PS of power. It drives through a new autoshift electronically- controlled transmission offering a top forward speed of 50 kph, more than 10 per cent faster than the outgoing D250D.

The six wheel drive truck has a programmable transmission control that prevents overspeeding of the engine and helps with fault diagnosis.

The machine gets an improved cab, but it retains its bias to the left of the machine, rather than the centrally-mounted cabs of the competition. By putting the heater and air-conditioning systems outside the cab Cat has been able to reduce in-cab noise to just 77 dB(A).

A new dump body and hydraulic system has reduced tipping times by 40 per cent, against the D250D, with full tip time in just 10 secs.

Track-type tractors and loaders

CATERPILLAR is synonymous with the bulldozer (or track-type tractor as the company insists on calling them). There are currently eight models in the range, from the D4H to the mighty D11N. Now Cat is increasing the performance of one its most important tractors the D9.

The American-built D9R, which replaces the D9N, has an improved 3408C engine offering 405 PS, 10 per cent more than its predecessor. It also offers a 44 per cent better torque rise, which helps give increased pulling and dozing abilities.

Combined with blade sizes that are 13 per cent bigger, Cat claims the machine is 6-8 per cent more productive than the D9N. This is helped by the addition of load sensing hydraulics which help to minimise parasitic power loss from stationary attachments, putting all of the available drive into the tracks.

Lower down the track-type tractor range the French-built D6H is to get an additional track set-up. When Caterpillar launched the XL track concept (which provides a track size between standard and low ground pressure) three years ago it didnt realise how popular it would be.

Now there is to be a third option. Cat is offering the D6H XL Series II Wide Gauge. The WD uses the same track frame length as the XL but with a wider track pad, while the LGP model has both longer and wider tracks.

The result is 18 per cent lower ground pressure than the XL, making the wide gauge machine perfect for wet ground conditions, though not limiting its use in the same way that a swamp tracked LGP tractor does.

To cope with this extra traction the engine has been given 3 per cent more power and the D6H gets a slightly wider blade.

Caterpillars tracked loaders, which are also built in Grenoble, France, have been added to with the introduction of the 963B. The machine gets

6 per cent more power and a 25 per cent increase in bucket capacity, to 2.45 cu m. Breakout force is increased to 171.5 kN.

Motor graders

IT is a sign of the success of Caterpillars G series motor graders that they have been around for more than 20 years, yet still have 50 per cent of the world market. Now there is a new range on the way, the first of which is the 160H.

Filling the gap between the 140G and the 14G the 160H has an operating weight of 15.6 tonnes. Powered by a 3306 engine the grader has a two-stage power output.

In gears one to three the engine produces 178 PS of power. But in gears four to eight it pushes out 198 PS. This helps the grader with traction at slower speeds and smooths out the dozing abilities. The 160H is said to have a 30 per cent better power to weight ratio than the 140G.

Hydraulic excavators

WHEN Caterpillar launched the 300 series excavators a couple of years ago the firm intended to have a five model range, with weights from 12 to 90 tonnes. But, as demand has changed, there have been increasing opportunities for additional models. The 300 series now has 10.

Excavator marketing manager Hamid Lavassani says that the worldwide market for excavators last year was around 92,000 units, of which 48 per cent were sold in Japan. The US makes up 15 per cent of the market and the COSA area (COSA is Caterpillars market area including Europe, the Middle East and Africa) accounts for 22 per cent of demand.

Of the 14,000 excavators (6-90 tonnes) sold in COSA the 19-21 tonne class is the most popular at 27 per cent of the market. The 12-14 tonne sector is worth 15 per cent and the 24-28 and 28-32 tonne classes each take 11 per cent.

The 6-9 tonne class accounts for 13 per cent of the excavator market, and it is growing. Coming in at the bottom of the 300 range is the 307, a 7.6 tonne machine which has a 54 PS engine and bucket capacities of 90-350 litres.

The heavier 312, 320 and 325 machines have been well established over the past couple of years, but now Cat believes there are market opportunities for machines between these models. So it has introduced the 15.7 and 17.2 tonne 315 and 317 respectively.

There is also a new model between the 320 and 325 the 24 tonne 322. Cat says the 322 is 14 per cent more productive than the 320 and 10 per cent less productive than the 325.

Wheeled loaders

THE F series of wheeled loaders has been supplemented with the 924F and the 938F, weighing 9.1 tonnes and 13 tonnes respectively. The 924F is also available with a parallel lift arm as the IT24 toolcarrier.

The 938F replaces the 936F and has a 24 per cent bigger cab with 50 per cent lower interior noise levels. The machine has a six cylinder engine, as opposed to the 936Fs four cylinder unit, which at 140 PS is more powerful yet more economical than its predecessor.

The 924F uses a 105 PS engine offering a 7 per cent gain in power. This too is a more environmentally friendly unit with 30 per cent lower visible smoke emissions and lower noise levels. The machine is said to be 12 per cent more productive in stockpiling and face digging duties than former models.

Caterpillar will also offer its 950F and 970F wheeled loaders with the Blue Angel environmental award at Bauma, joining the 960F among the quietest loaders in production. The firm will also show a 325 excavator with a low noise pack which is currently in development.