Hall B6 and open-air ground: Caterpillar
Like three years earlier, Caterpillar had rented hall B6 almost completely and used this for a ample presentation of much equipment. This was espacially interresting, since many machines featured special equipment that is rather hard to find in “real life”. One of this highlights was a 325C CR minimal swing radius excavator in tunneling configuration, for example. (Which means a very short boom, special cab guards, dozer blade and cutter.) Furthermore a 972G II wheel loader in steel works configuration (protective glass panes at the cab, cinder bucket and special tires) and a 963C tracked loader in tunneling configuration too (special cab guards, sideways tiltable bucket). Among the large-scale machinery were a 385B LME (“mass excavation”, short boom), a 988G, a D11N, a 365B L II frontshovel and a dump truck 771D.
Also severl medium-sized machines were on display: E.g. 330C ES and 322C LNVA excavators, a 730 articulated dump truck, a wheeled excavator M325C MH (“Material Handler”) a another minimum tail swing excavator 312C LCR.
In times of low economy, especially in the construction business, it is great concern to machine operators to cut on expenses. Therefore Caterpillar offers the “certified rebuild” programm. With this, a machine is virtual stripped at a dealer’s shop, all components are thoroughly tested and replaced if necessary. Because of this, the customer gets a machine in excellent condition that will be able to work another many thousands of hours, according to Caterpillar. And all this is achieved at price far below the costs of a new machine. As an example of the program, a revamped 980F wheel loader was shown.
Like other manufacturers, Caterpillar presented electronic level control systems for dozers: One based on GPS, mounted on a D6N LGP and shown inside. (By the way: this dozer has received a “facelift” similar to the one on the 300 C series excavators.) Another one, based on Laser, was shown on the demonstration area outside repeatedly. While the first can’t achive maximum accurancy but it is able to form “free-form” landscapes, the later offers a high precision but only on flat areas.
Among other machines like a M318C wheeled loader, another novelty, that wasn’t visible on first glance but is rather spectacular nonetheless, was shown on the outside demonstration area. A 962G wheel loader had been equipped with special electronic controlls that are able to recognize when the operator drives the bucket into a heap of sand. In this case, the automated control takes over and executes a full loading cycle, shifting gears if necessary. The only thing the oparator has to do, is back the loader up and drive to dump point.
Also the ability of minimal swing radius excavators to work in very tight spaces was demonstrated: A 303 CR compact excavator was driven tightly into the inner corner of a wall. Since the upper carriage doesn’t have a larger overhang than the undercarriage, work is even possible in such difficult conditions.
Around the demonstration area, many more machines were presented “statically”. Among these were again many special equipments: For example a 345B L II UHD (“Ultra High Demolition”), a 924G WHA („Waste Handling Arrangement“, which means in this case cab guard and a high-clearance, large-capacity bucket) a hydraulically tiltable boom for excavators.