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Massive new product launch from Cat pre Intermat

Digger Blogger | 13:02, Sun March 18 2012

Last week some of the biggest names in international plant & machinery journalism converged on Caterpillars UK facility in Leicester, to witness the launch of a whole host of new products, and very kindly the Digger Blog was invited along to check out the new kit.

Caterpillar are launching a total of 64 new products in 2012, 51 of which were revealed to us last week, with a further 13 new machines being launched during next month’s Intermat exhibition in Paris. I will be writing about some of these products in more depth over the coming days, as there is simply too much to cover in one post, but for today here is an overall look at the launch event.

The assembled press were treated to a spectacular show, put on in the undercover demo area, which had a London 2012 Olympic theme and involved a stunning display by a team of gymnasts, after which 6 of the new models were brought in individually and we were given a brief overview by one of the product specialists.

The first new machine unveiled was the latest 8 ton class E Series mini excavator, the 308E CR SB, which is the largest machine in the new 5 model E Series compact radius range, which comprises of 303.5E CR, 304E CR, 305E CR, 305.5E CR, and the 308E CR SB. This new range all use the latest engines that meet IIIB emissions regulations, refined auxiliary hydraulics and Eco-Mode savings. The machines are all fitted with the new COMPASS monitor/control panel, of which I will cover in more detail in my report on the 308E CR SB.

Next up and of particular interest to me, was the latest reincarnation of the ever popular Caterpillar 312. The new 13.6 tonne 312E is the direct replacement for the outgoing 312D, which has been a very successful product for the company since its introduction. These new E Series excavators are powered by Cat engines that meet stage IIIB emissions standards and also feature some of the latest technology electro-hydraulic systems to further improve fuel consumption.

Also joining the E Series hydraulic excavator range are the 316E,  320E, 323E and the reduced radius 320E RR. Four of these machines were assembled in the demonstration digging plot and we were later invited for some “stick time” on them.

Flying into the indoor arena next was the Cat 906H2, the smallest machine in the H2 Series of compact loaders, which also includes the 907H2 and the 908H2. This upgraded range features the new Cat C3.3B engines, designed to meet the increasingly important EU stage IIIA emission standards. They also feature a revised loader control valve, pilot joysticks fitted as standard and a simplified auxiliary hydraulic connection system.

Next to enter the fray was an example from the new K Series of small wheeled loaders, which look destined to make some big waves in the industry. The range features the 924K, 930K, and the largest being the 938K which was displayed in front of the grandstand for us.

The K Series models have been completely redesigned and incorporate new engines that meet Stage IIIB/Tier4 interim emissions standards and a whole host of new features that will offer enhanced performance, fuel efficiency and operator comfort. There was a real buzz about the K Series models all new electronically controlled hydrostatic drive system, which allows independent control of ground speed and engine speed for efficient operation of hydraulically powered work tools.

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There is also the addition of a new creeper control feature, which further improves low speed operations by allowing the operator to adjust maximum ground speed down to 1km/h. Add to this the all new optimized Z-bar tipping linkage and an all new operator station, this range has winner stamped all over it!

Arriving in the demo plot next was an example from the new 4 model C Series telescopic handler range in the shape of the largest machine, the TH407C, which as one would expect features a Cat C4.4 Acert engine which meets stage IIIB emissions standards. These engines are available in either the standard 92.6 Kw/124hp engine or the optional 106kw/142hp version. Other models in the range include the TH336C, TH337C, and the TH406C.

And finally in this post a look at the last machine to be introduced to us. The F Series backhoe loader making its first appearance on home turf for the press at Desford, the spiritual home for Cat backhoe loaders since 1985.

The new range features a new engine, refined hydraulics, a fully redesigned linkage, easier maintenance from ground level and improved forward visibility thanks to a newly designed sloping front engine canopy.

Look out for full reports on a number of these machines on the Digger Blog over the coming weeks.





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