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CAT CHAT: New products seek separation via smarts, sustainability

CAT CHAT: New products seek
separation via smarts, sustainability

by JOSH SIMONS in Las Vegas | Feb 19, 2015

At World of Concrete earlier this month, BuiltWorlds sat down with Caterpillar’s Roy V. Brookhart to discuss the global equipment giant’s latest product innovations and market releases for 2015. Based in Cary NC, Brookhart is a product & applications specialist for Cat's building construction products division. Below are some of the highlights of our discussion.

Brookhart demonstrates the D5K2 bulldozer, which uses slope assist technology to operate at an angle, while it monitors and controls grade.  (Photos by Josh Simons Photography)

Brookhart demonstrates the D5K2 bulldozer, which uses slope assist technology to operate at an angle, while it monitors and controls grade.  (Photos by Josh Simons Photography)

Q: What are some of the more innovative, new products CAT is promoting this year?

A:  The new models being presented this year include our 420F2 IT backhoe loader, which is an upgrade over our 420F model. It's simpler to maintain versus the old model, the cab is extremely spacious and quiet and has been redesigned to incorporate flat glass for easier maintenance and repair. The engine in the new machine meets Tier 4 Final emissions regulations with an innovative system that eliminates the exhaust smoke and does not require added maintenance. Cat featured a prototype application for this loader that will tell you what the fault code is when potential issues come up. So, when it tells you what is wrong, it allows you to schedule an appointment with a dealer on the spot, or if you need a specific part, it orders that on the spot. It also has GPS, and an app that gives you access to its hours of use. That way, you can just change the oil based on the hours used, which better protects and elongates your investment.

Our 938M wheel loader is a brand new series with a 190 HP engine. Customers expect machines this size to be more utility oriented, so individual customization is very necessary to match operator preferences and job conditions, which is why Cat has done what it has to simplify the process. The engine is so quiet that the in-cab Bluetooth can work with just the operator's normal tone of voice for communication, which is rare for these types of machines. 

Q: What about your technology separates you from competitors?

A: Lots of other things. For instance, on our D5K2 bulldozer, we have slope assist technology. This feature not only shows the slope that the machine is operating on, but it can also be programmed to grade to a specific fore and aft, and side-to-side slope. What seperates us in that regard is the fact that competitors would need to hire a surveyor to set slope or point, but this model's tech allows the operator to manage those issues from the dozer. These slope assist models are only offered by Cat.

What really separates us from the competition is our focus on Smart Technology.
— Roy Brookhart, Caterpillar

What really separates us, though, is our focus on Smart Technology. One of the largest expenses a machine owner faces regularly is fuel. With our integration of Smart Tech, the engine, hydraulics, and transmission all adjust to the demands of the jobp to maximize machine performance based off of your real-time utilization. So the machine is able to optimize itself to let you operate it in the most efficient way possible. Some of the machines are so sophisticated that they can even measure temperature, altitude, and the conditions around them.  

Q: Sustainability also seems to be important to CAT. What can you tell us about that? 

A:  Yes. We are very proud of our continuing emphasis on sustainability. Other equipment manufacturers try to save fuel by pressing a button for "Eco Mode," that can reduce speed and make an engine run slower. We don't think that is truly eco-friendly, effective or productive. The Cat Eco Mode uses system integration to allow the hydraulic pump to increase pumping capacity, letting the machine stay productive. This allows the engine to slow down to save fuel while the hydraulic pumps compensate. If done right, the operator has no idea that this system integration is even happening. But it allows for the machine to work more effectively, while still saving fuel. And the savings in fuel costs are noticeably lower on a weekly basis. On our 938M model, for instance, the Eco Mode has saved us 35% weekly. For the 420F2 model, the weekly savings has been 20%!

Q: With some other machines priced lower, why should customers spend more on a CAT? 

A:  If you want to purchase the cheapest piece of machinery on the market, our products are not for you. With a Cat machine, we like to say, "You're making a living. We're making it easier."  The idea is that you pay more for this machinery to make you more money. So, while the initial investment for Caterpillar products may be more expensive, the technology and sustainability associated with them allows you to make more money over time. The life span of Cat machines, fuel savings, smart technology and greater flexibility also helps operators to be more productive on the job. And research shows that, itself, contributes to a better job being done. 

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