Four backhoe loaders from Caterpillar build on the success of the F2 line with increased performance, greater operator configurability and a wider range of tools
Four new machines make up the backhoe model release lineup, the 428, 432, 434 and 444. Caterpillar has dumped the F2 suffix from the model names but retained the proven and reliable Cat 3054C and C4.4 engines from the previous machines.
Each of these 4-cylinder, 4.4-litre engines have been tuned to deliver 70kW (95hp) across the model range, the difference being the 3054C is a Stage 2 emissions compliant powerplant while the C4.4 is Stage 3 compliant.
All machines in the range have four-wheel drive as standard along with a rear differential lock to boost traction when the going gets rough.
Caterpillar says customers will benefit from reduced owning and operating costs through reduced tire, differential and axle wear.
The larger two machines, the 434 and 444, also feature equal-size wheels front and back. This feature gives these models greater flotation for slippery working conditions like mud or snow and gives them increased ground clearance.
Use has been made of a lot of common componentry across the range to keep repair and maintenance costs down and particular attention has been paid to creating a consistent operational environment on all models.
A variety of transmissions are available for these machines depending on operating requirements. A four-speed powershuttle box is standard on the 428 but owners can also opt for a 4-speed powershift or 5-speed autoshift with lock up torque converter. The 434 also provides these options.
On the 432 the powershift transmission is standard with the option of autoshift with or without the lock up torque converter.
The 444 has the autoshift transmission as standard but it can also be optioned with the lock up torque converter.
With the autoshift transmission with lock up torque convertor, Caterpillar suggests up to 16 per cent fuel efficiency when on-road can be achieved along with an increased transport speed of 40kph.
For improved operator comfort and reduced fatigue, the 432 and 444 models are equipped as standard with low-effort electrohydraulic (EH) loader and pilot hoe controls.
The 428 and 434 have mechanical controls backhoe controls as standard but these can be upgraded to pilot hoe controls if customers prefer.
There is also a choice of hydraulic boom cylinders for these machines with the 432 and 444 boasting performance cylinders that deliver a 25% increased boom lift capacity as standard, while the 428 and 434 can be upgraded to these cylinders as an option.
The front end of these new models has been redesigned with an optimal rake angle allowing better protection to for grille and improved work tool visibility for operators.
Parallel lift loader arms deliver strong breakout forces, better dump height and increased reach along with big lift capacities to ensure these machines are as versatile as possible when it comes to handling heavy materials such as aggregates.
In addition, optional integrated tool (IT) carrier loader couplers are available on all models, together with a range of attachments including dedicated fork carriages, road sweeping brooms, material handling arms, multi-purpose and side dump buckets to name a few.
On the rear of the machines the excavator-style curved boom and the overall hoe linkage design with a 60-40 split for boom and stick delivers better reach over obstacles and superior stick force.
Additionally, the 432 and 444 have an optional extendible stick with dig depth of
5665mm and 5707mm respectively. The 205 degree hoe bucket rotation assists with better material retention.
Hydraulic quick couplers are available for all models together with a range of attachments including hammers, augers, vibratory plate compactors and compacting wheels.
Rear-end attachments for the previous F and F2 generation models can still be used as there have been no changes to the linkages on the back of the machine.
For hoe operations the addition of fingertip stabiliser levers also contributes to increased ease of use.
Load sensing closed centred hydraulics are common across all machines along with flow sharing valves. In addition, all models can be optioned with factory fitted hose burst protection allowing maximum rated lifting capacity along with meeting safety requirements at most job sites.
The hydraulic system includes a variable displacement pump, allowing matching of power to flow demand and enabling better multi-functioning thereby reducing the load on the engine and putting less strain on hoses and seals.
Operators benefit from improved fuel efficiency, a longer life of for components, less noise, and smooth and accurate controllability.
Inside the ROPS and FOPS cab, operators enjoy ergonomic controls, an air suspension fabric seat, fresh air recirculation, a tiltable and telescopic steering column and a robust air conditioning system to beat the Australian heat.
When it comes to maintenance, many improvements have been made for easier servicing.
A hinged cooling pack with tiltable cooler makes it easy to clean these vital components and requires no tools to open.
Further, all daily checks are accessible from one side making it easy and convenient.
In addition, the main loader arm pivot pins have been improved to make them easier to grease from ground level without having to lift the machine bonnet.
The battery position has also been relocated from the front to the right-side box for easier access from the ground.
For more information about the new Cat backhoe loader range contact your local Cat dealer or go to: www.cat.com