Caterpillar introduced a number of micro and mini excavators during this recent GIE+EXPO in America.
The manufacturer says that new models come standard with several new customer-centred features.
First up are the four micro excavators that pack considerable power in the 1-to-2-ton class. There is the 301.5 that has a canopy, standard tail swing and is in the 1.5-ton class; the 301.7 CR that has a compact radius and canopy and in the 1.7-ton class; the 301.8 is in the 1.8-ton class with standard tail swing and options for either a canopy or a cab; and the 302 CR is in the 2.0-ton class and has a compact radius. Operators have the option of a canopy or a cab.
One of the most notable features of these new excavators is the Stick Steer system. This allows operators to swap from a conventional lever/foot-pedal steering controls to left-hand joystick control of the bucket. This improves operator control with less effort.
The 301.5 is ideal for the entry-level landscaper. The 301.8 is suited for heavy lifting and the 302 CR offers site stability for heavy duty jobs.
“Great operators are few and far between, so machines need to be simple,” says Greg Worley, senior product engineer.
The controls are designed to be intuitive and each model comes with a Next Generation LCD monitor for machine information. Comfort has also been a focus for these models with adjustable wrist rests and a suspension seat available. The models where a cab is optional are pressurized and sealed to reduce dust and air conditioning is available with the climate control system.
All models are powered by the Cat C1.1 engine, a three-cylinder diesel rated at 19.2 net horsepower and 21.6 gross horsepower that meets Tier 4 Final standards. Dig depths are 7 feet 8 inches or 7 feet 9 inches depending on the model.
To boost versatility, the standard auxiliary hydraulic system provides one way, two way and continuous flow. Each model comes standard with an expandable undercarriage. All models retract from 51.2 to 39 inches, except the 302 CR, which retracts from 55.1 to 42.9 inches.
Rubber track undercarriages are standard with steel tracks available for all models
The excavator’s dozer blade allows operators to backfill and grade with one machine. The blade has a float function and allows “dig-to-blade” operation for handling loose materials.
Maintenance is made easier with a tilt-up cab that provides access to major components.
“The easier it is to get to where the machine needs servicing, the more likely it will be serviced,” Worley says.
NEW 7-10 TON MACHINES
Meanwhile, in the 7-to-10-ton category, Caterpillar added six new mini excavators that also feature the exclusive Stick Steer system.
The lineup includes the 307.5, a standard tail swing model with a fixed boom; 308 CR, a compact radius model with a swing boom; 308 CR VAB, featuring a variable angle swing boom; 309 CR, featuring a compact radius, swing boom and high flow auxiliary hydraulics; 309 CR VAB, which adds on the 309 CR’s abilities with a variable angle boom; and 310, featuring a fixed boom, standard tail swing and twin blade cylinders for handling heavy duty tasks.
Dig depths are 13 feet 5 inches to 17 feet and the variable angle boom enhances digging capability in tight work sites. The 307.5 is powered by the Cat C2.4 turbo diesel engine with a 55.9 net horsepower, while the five larger models run on the Cat C3.3 diesel engine rated at 70.3 net horsepower.
Operators can use the Next Generation LCD screen to dial in personal operating preferences and quickly adapt the machine to their preferred joystick movement. A rear camera is integrated into the monitor as well.
High flow is available on the 309 model, allowing it to operate the most demanding attachments.
“No longer is a mini excavator just a digging machine,” Worley says.