Caterpillar® compact track loaders just keep on giving for their owners, reinforcing how these models are the most versatile performers ever released in a compact package
It’s the introduction of the Smart attachments that has propelled the Caterpillar® D3 Series compact loader range into the hot property to own category.
The model range is impressive enough with 16 models all up, eight models each of wheel and track loaders.
The rated operating capacities (35 per cent of the tipping load) take compact owners into an expanded territory with 494 to 1176kg available in skid-steer loader format, and from 697 to 1620kg for the compact track loaders.
Power outputs are more than adequate with 49 to 81kW (67hp to 110hp) on tap, provided by a CAT® 2.2-litre, 3.3-litre and 3.8-litre diesel engines, driving hydrostatic transmissions.
It is worth noting the improvements D3 Series compact track loaders offer over all previous models in this category.
Changes to the undercarriage frame and torsion axles has all but eliminated pitching and rocking, translating into improved stability when handling heavy loads and during grading or truck loading operations.
Throughout the D3 Series, access to the cab over the loader arms has been made a little easier by altering the entry door so that it opens wider and moving the control joystick pods 76mm (3-inches) further apart to create a little more space.
Operators will also appreciate the advanced control functions on the D3 models such as Return-to-Dig and Work Tool Positioner to assist with repetitive tasks when grading, digging, and loading.
These controls are now bundled together with the dual direction self-level function to take advantage of automated machine engineering to allow these tasks to be completed with less user interaction and expertise.
Very impressive base functions, but a whole new transformation takes place when CAT® compact loader owners start playing with the SMART attachment combinations available to them.
These Smart attachments open-up jobbing work that many never thought possible previously.
This is what you can add in the first stage of the advanced SMART attachments release; SMART grader blade, SMART dozer blade and SMART backhoe that all match in with the machine controls.
These SMART attachments simply give great controllability in situations that previously would have been considered difficult, if not impossible to achieve.
Take, for instance, the CAT® BH130 SMART Backhoe. This attachment significantly increases jobbing capabilities to take on utility trenching, digging footings, and forming and maintaining drainage ditches.
In addition, the backhoe is compatible with CAT® 3-tonne excavator attachments, and its auxiliary-hydraulic system allows pairing with hydro-mechanical work tools, including hammers, thumbs, augers, and vibratory compactors.
The backhoe also hydraulically shifts side-to-side to allow digging adjacent to buildings and footers, and integrated stabilisers provide a solid digging platform.
The backhoe has integrated electro-hydraulic controls, that is operated by using the host machine’s joysticks, eliminating the need to remove the door and allows the operator to work from the safety of the cab.
Attachment control mode enables existing joysticks to be used for boom, stick, bucket and swing functions.
The host machine recognises the BH130 SMART Backhoe when the backhoe is attached, and when the operator is ready to use the backhoe, pulling the trigger on the right joystick places the system into dig mode.
When the CAT® D3 Series of compact loaders with SMART attachments was presented to Tom Campbell, the owner of Final Trim Excavations (FTX), Tom could immediately see how his own operation could be expanded.
Tom had been running CATs® since he purchased his first grader back in 2003, and now with a workforce at FTX comprising 12 employees at the time, soon to be 15 and booked solid, Tom saw how a smaller machine with a blade could expand his operation.
Tom purchased a 259D3 track loader with a CAT® SMART Grader Blade for those jobs in tighter spaces that had evaded him for years.
In terms of performance, the CAT® 259D3 compact track loader offers gross power of 55.4kW (75hp) with a rated operating capacity of 915kg, and weight of 4076kg.
The CAT® 259D3 runs with a two-speed transmission as standard, increasing travel speed by 9%, a change that gears these models to deliver high torque digging performance as well as high top-end speed for on-site travel.
Like a lot of contractors, Tom mostly ran graders fitted with 4.3m (14ft) blades for general contracting, but when it came to road shoulders, and other smaller jobs, Tom wasn’t in the running for smaller footprint jobs.
When Tom saw first saw this awesome configuration from CAT®, I knew I had found the perfect solution to expanding his business.
Tom elaborated, “The CAT® 259D3 with SMART Grader Blade is now booked solid with everything from sports fields and road repairs to maintenance.
“I’ve been a CAT® man from very early in my career. We only use CAT® machines, and I put that down to their innovative products, that are built extremely well.
“These machines not only boost our production and efficiencies but like the 259D3 with SMART Grader Blade, they also open up opportunities for extra revenue with our existing client base.”
The primary operator driving the 259D3 with SMART Grader Blade, is Bryson Law a multi-skilled operator who has six years experience.
Bryson said, “I’ve been spending most of my time in the CAT® 259D3 Compact Track Loader with the GB124 SMART Grader Blade. This 259D3 is an all-around great machine compared to the other brands I have I worked with in the past.
“The creature comforts are excellent, from the air-ride, heated seat to the air conditioning and Bluetooth system.
“But it’s when these comforts are equally matched with the 259D3 SMART Grader Blade performance and intelligent systems like GPS and UTS that this set-up comes alive.
“The Grader Blade and Machine are seamless in the way they work and integrate together as a system. From an operator’s perspective, this pairing is perfect.
Bryson continued, “The time savings you will experience going from form boards, string lines, and tape measures to advanced tech like GPS and UTS are enormous. This becomes even more significant as it now only takes one person in a machine rather than multiple workers.”
Tom Campbell also pointed out how his FTX team found the SMART System to be intuitive and therefore easy for operators to pick up, further advancing efficiencies.
When the 259D3 needs the SMART Grader Blade to be swapped with another attachment such as a four in one bucket, pickup Broom, brushcutter, or other attachment like an auger, the process is seamless, and adds to the value of this impressive and versatile machine.
Tom also wanted to express the solid support he has been given over the years from WesTrac Equipment sales representative Buddhi Edirisuriya and the CAT® Finance team.
Together they have been integral in FTX’s growth over the years, Tom expressed, “My WesTrac rep Buddhi has provided amazing support and guidance with our purchases, service and maintenance along with general support over the last six years.
With all of Tom’s most current machines, he has chosen to take out a Customer Value Agreement from WesTrac called “Fit Fleet Essentials” and that gives him additional health monitoring and maintenance support for his machines.
As Tom’s business and plant is growing, with another three new machines on the way, he’s finding he has less time to focus on servicing schedules, maintenance or repairs.
With WesTrac’s Fit Fleet Essentials Package, WesTrac remotely monitors the machines. With this backup program, WesTrac notifies Tom about any upcoming servicing and if any issues arise. Transform your machine and your business, see Cat.com/D3Range or call the CAT® dealer hotline 1300 BUY CAT® (1300 289 228).