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ADDED VALUE: The days of the hydraulic excavator as a simple digging machine are gone, according to Caterpillar product manager Dave Mohr. Since the US giant bought Dutch specialist attachment manufacturer Verachtert it claims hydraulic excavators should be seen as flexible working platforms able to carry out a huge range of applications. To prove the point the group launched four revamped 12t to 20t excavators this week, and announced that it can supply 'six to seven thousand' attachments. The system allows operators to change quickly and easily from buckets to diverse tools such as grabs, crushers, peckers and shears.

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