Caterpillar recently announced the 2017 product updates for Cat M Series medium wheel loaders (950M, 962M, 966M, 972M, 966M XE, 972M XE, 980M, and 982M). Dedicated to responding quickly to customer requirements for optimum machine performance, Caterpillar brings new features and product improvements to market quickly, allowing machine designs to be refined more frequently than conventional machine-development cycles would allow. The 2017 product updates include new Cat Connect Technologies, additional operator comfort and safety features, and features that help reduce operating costs.
Cat Connect Technology
Cat PAYLOAD Technologies are designed to significantly increase production and job-site efficiency by ensuring haul vehicles are loaded to exact specifications, resulting in optimum utilization of equipment and lower operating costs. For 2017, the capabilities of the Cat Production Measurement system have been expanded to include the Advanced Productivity Application, an optional web-based tool available through VisionLink. Owners can better develop future project costs and profitability estimates based on Key Performance Indicators (KPI) including detailed production history, productivity, and efficiency clearly visualized on their back office PCs or mobile devices.
In an ever-changing world, knowing what each machine and operator are doing from a payload, fuel consumption, and machine application aspect is critical to eliminate potential waste in existing jobsite operations. With the Advanced Productivity App subscription, customers receive a user customizable graphical “dashboard” making it easy to understand their loader’s production output quickly. This virtual dashboard is accessed from the VisionLink portal. If further analysis is required, the user can wirelessly import detailed data including fuel consumption, transactional payload information, machine application and cycle segmentation data into their specific databases. The Advanced Productivity app leverages the loader’s on-board Cat Product Link Elite PLE641 cellular data radio, standard on most M Series loaders, to ensure reliable and fast hourly updates; all without the need for additional telematics hardware.
Cat Production Measurement (CPM) 2.0 incorporates numerous updates to enhance operator and site management efficiencies further. Increased system data storage means data for the last 3,500 stored payloads can now be saved in on-board memory.
Owners can continue to access all historical payload data off-board in the Advanced Productivity app. For customers utilizing list management functionality for tracking of material and truck ID’s, both lists have expanded memory capability up to 250 entries each. Operators can now add or delete list entries on the fly on the touchscreen display. Alternatively, with the Advanced Productivity app, site management can wirelessly update material and truck ID’s through the VisionLink interface to an entire fleet saving time and money. For operators who require only basic payload features, such as when jobsite needs do not require tracking payloads by truck ID nor material ID, a newly added basic payload mode hides more advanced features to simplify the payload screen; displaying only the essential information and controls required to ensure the truck is not overloaded nor under loaded.
The new Operator ID functionality is standard on all medium wheel loader models and enables site managers to tag payload, fuel consumption and machine application data by operator name, helping customers identify the most efficient operators. By doing so, site management could potentially reward operators to reinforce best practices or identify opportunities for operator training to enhance jobsite efficiency when needed.
Operator comfort and safety
A new deluxe seat option includes leather headrests and inserts, dual-level heated and ventilated seat bottoms and back cushions with lumbar support. An optional breathable, removable, washable seat cover is now available through Caterpillar dealers.
Jobsite safety remains paramount for Caterpillar and its customers. Building on existing features such as an MSHA approved tie off point for use when cleaning the front window to the cab-mounted rear safety lighting, an additional option for Egress Safety Lighting is now available. The Egress Safety Lighting provides a dedicated LED light focused on the 15 degree inclined cab access ladder and is compatible with all K and M Series medium wheel loaders in the field. In addition, an optional Fire Extinguisher Mount is now available.
Reducing operating costs
The 966M XE and 972M XE builds upon it’s industry leading fuel efficiency advantage of up to 25-35% over a conventional powershift machine. The new XE Economy Mode 2.0 further improves XE’s fuel efficiency by approximately 6% on average, depending on the application without sacrificing production or revenue potential. The reduced fuel consumption is achieved through a power management strategy which reduces the maximum engine rpm to 1,200-1,400 rpm thresholds based on performance needs. Lower operating sound levels are an additional benefit when using the enhanced economy mode.
An updated Autoshift system for the 950M and 962M uses new logic to improve performance and fuel efficiency by allowing an earlier 3L-to-4L shift at part throttle in economy mode and an earlier 2-to-3 shift during truck loading for enhanced controllability.
The new Cat Autolube system simplifies maintenance and service needs, reducing machine downtime. The new system includes a ground level fill point and serviceable hoses which are fully integrated into the machine’s electronic architecture through both the touchscreen display and VisionLink telematics that indicate reservoir fill level and service fault code needs.
To improve service and maintenance in low light conditions, optional LED Service Lighting is now available under the hood compartment and near the transmission sight glass, reducing labor costs and equipment downtime.