Caterpillar gave its first look at several new products it is introducing to the marketplace recently. The preview – which also featured guest speaker Ray LaHood, former U.S. transportation secretary and congressman – took place at Cat’s Edwards Demonstration and Learning Center near the company’s headquarters in Peoria, Ill.

Some highlights included:

Lowering equipment’s fuel costs was a theme throughout. Cat is “focusing on lowering fuel costs without compromising performance,” said Brian Stellbrink, product specialist for excavators. Cat Connect Grade technology’s 2D system indicates real-time positioning and allows the excavator operator to achieve consistent depth and slope grades without guesswork. Cat says this increases productivity by up to 35% and saves 6% in fuel. “The operators works more efficiently and accurately,” says Stellbrink.

Technology also helps operators of Cat’s 825K soil compactor work productively. Machine Drive Power (MDP) lowers operating costs by saving time, fuel, and rework expense. MDP measures roll resistance to determine the degree of compaction. This mapping function sees every square meter of the jobsite and tells the operator how many passes have been completed. Operators can establish the MDP target value that matches the compaction specification. A monitor in the cab shows the progress. The data can be downloaded for analysis and reporting. “Inconsistency in road compaction is where that road will fail,” said Cat’s John Thomas.

Cat Production Measurement on the 950M and 962M wheel loaders uses sensors to weigh the material in the bucket so operators can view the payload weights and track loads and cycles from the cab, said Tom Winter. The system is integrated with Cat’s VisionLink so managers can monitor material movement.

Cat also gave an update on its CT681 vocation truck which it introduced earlier this year. Applications include ready-mix trucks and dump trucks. “Customers who have tested the truck tell us it drives well, it’s powerful, it’s quiet, and their drivers enjoy getting behind the wheel,” said Dave Schmitz, global on-highway truck product manager. Much of Cat’s new equipment has upgraded and improvement cabs, joysticks, and stairs to improve ergonomics. “A comfortable operator should be a more productive operator,” said Wade Porter, motor grade market specialist.

The manufacturer is helping its customers conserve fuel through its Rethink the Tank program. Targeted are machine application and jobsite setup, operator technique, idle time, machine selection and configuration, and technology. Equipment owners have the most trouble understanding idle time and admitting that their operators should be doing a better job here, said senior market professional Jason Hurdis.

Cat also said it is making the first in a series of modification processes available to owners of used Cat Tier 4 interim products used outside of Highly Regulated Countries, where the equipment was originally manufactured. Caterpillar identified used products and geographies as higher probability recipients of used Tier 4 Interim products, said engineering manager Rick Jeffs. “We have focused our design and development efforts for the first series of modification processes to align with those higher probabilities.”

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