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Building on success

The latest construction equipment from Caterpillar arrives in the UK later this year. NCE previews what’s on offer from the North American giant.

Caterpillar last month introduced the first three B-Series models in its articulated dump truck range into the UK, and revealed its updated H-Series motor scraper line. It also announced the return of the towed scraper and introduced the M2-Series of motor graders.

The revisions were led by emissions regulations, both in Europe and the US, but these are more than simple engine upgrades, as the machines have revised transmissions, new cabs and greater integration of ­electronic control systems.

The 735B and 740B dump trucks, and the ejector bodied 740B EJ, have Stage IIIB-compliant engines that use Cat’s Clean Emissions Model (CEM). This incorporates a diesel oxidation catalyst and a diesel particulate filter in a single unit beneath the engine canopy, as well as cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) to reduce oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in the exhaust gas.

“The revisions were led by emissions regulations, both in Europe and the US, but these are more than simple engine upgrades”

In all cases engine output is increased, but Cat is also claiming reduced fuel consumption and improved performance for the British-built trucks - in part due to improved transmission control and an automatic ­traction control (ATC) system.

Host of changes

There is a host of small detail changes in the cab, while externally the new look includes a wider bonnet, and more robust front bumper and underguards.

There are three models in the H-Series scraper line-up: the single engine open bowl 621H, the single engine self-elevating 623H and the twin-engined open bowl 627H. For the first time a push-pull connection, allowing two scrapers to work in tandem, can be fitted to the 621H.

The H-Series machines have a 21% larger cab that gives them a modern appearance, and come with powered entry steps that fold up once running, and improved visibility. A work area vision system, with three cameras, shows the operator the rear of the scraper, the cutting edge and the push/pull connection.

The new models also come with automated systems that speed up loading and spreading operations, including Sequence Assist, which automatically sets the cushion hitch, bowl height, apron, ejector and elevator.

Also available on the non-elevating models is Load Assist, which loads the bowl at the touch of a button, and Cat Grade Control, which limits how deep the scraper can dig.

18% power boost

The machines get Cat’s C13 engine, providing an 18% power boost, while the second engine on the 627H is now the C9.3, ­offering 19% more power.

The story is similar for Cat’s M2 grader line, where the C9.3 ACERT engine uses CEM to clean up the exhaust gases, with automatic regeneration when required. Power is up by 7%, while Cat claims a drop in fuel consumption of around 5% across the range.

The 140M2/AWD and 160M2/AWD models will be available from September this year, with the 120M2/AWD and the 12M2 coming on stream in June 2012. Starting mid-2011, the M2 models will also offer Cat’s Grade Control Cross Slope system.

Caterpillar claims to be investing £4M a day in research and development, much of it in power systems to meet current and future emissions legislation.

Integrated engine

However it isn’t just about making a cleaner engine. The real challenge has been integrating that engine with transmission, axles, hydraulic system and electronic control systems to combine improved performance and lower fuel consumption.

With machines like the graders and scrapers, it has also been about making a more sophisticated machine easier to operate. Tying those heavy earthmoving machines into site-based GPS and 3D design systems can only improve productivity further.

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