An innovative approach to matching attachments to loading and handling machines is evident with the new Caterpillar D3 Series wheel skid-steer and track compact loaders.
Each of the 16 models can ‘recognise’ implements from the Smart Attachments range and automatically configure the loader’s controls and information display to suit.
This new function is part of a package of refinements and upgrades that aim to improve the operator experience and make the machines easier and more productive to operate.
Caterpillar’s D3 Series comprises eight models each of wheel and track loaders.
With rated operating capacity (35% of the tipping load) ranging from 494 to 1176kg in skid-steer loader format, and from 697 to 1620kg for the compact track loaders.
Power outputs from 49 to 81kW (67hp to 110hp) are provided by Cat 2.2-litre, 3.3-litre and 3.8-litre diesel engines, driving hydrostatic transmissions.
In terms of performance upgrades, the Cat 239D3 and 249D3 compact track loaders are now built with a two-speed transmission as standard, increasing travel speed by 9%.
This change aligns these models with other machines in the range, which are geared to deliver high torque digging performance as well as high top-end speed for on-site travel.
The larger 279D3 and 289D3 loaders get a higher gear ratio for travel, resulting in a 20% increase in top speed over their D Series counterparts to 13.6kph (8.4mph).
In addition, all the D3 Series compact track loaders now incorporate changes to the undercarriage frame and torsion axles to reduce pitching and rocking.
This achieves improved stability while handling heavy loads and during grading or truck loading operations, while still offering good ride comfort.
Throughout the D3 Series, access to the cab over the loader arms has been made a little easier by altering the door so that it opens wider and moving the control joystick pods 760mm (3-inches) further apart to create a little more space.
In addition to higher-spec XE versions of the Cat 272D3 skid-steer and 299D3 track loaders, that have a 9kW (12hp) engine performance hike over their 72kW (98hp) standard counterparts, Caterpillar has also introduced a ‘Land Management’ model to the line-up.
Based on the 299D3 XE, this machine is equipped for demanding vegetation-management applications.
Such as mulching, brush cutting, vegetation control and mowing, with the 81kW (110hp) Cat C3.8 four-cylinder engine and a 150-litre/min high flow high pressure auxiliary hydraulics system rated at 69kW (94hp).
To provide longer intervals of uninterrupted work, the 299D3 XE Land Management has a 220-litre fuel tank.
This makes it 80% larger than the standard model’s supply and it’s sized to provide an estimated run time of 11 to 12 hours.
A turbine-type pre-cleaner ejects dust, dirt, and debris from engine-intake airflow to extend filter service life.
While the engine cooling system’s hydraulically driven fan – that operates only when required to save fuel – is also reversible to clear intake screens of debris.
This enables the system to maintain its cool when the machine is operated in high ambient temperatures.
Additional seals, covers, and other special parts are also designed to restrict debris and other materials from entering the engine compartment.
While the lower frame, and large removable panels aim to provide easy access for routine cleaning.
The Land Management model’s cab is a one-piece sealed and pressurised structure made to keep the operator’s environment clean and quiet.
This is especially important for users working long shifts in the challenging conditions these applications undertake.
In addition, there are special guards in place to protect key components from impact damage and debris.
These include the front and rear LED work lights, work-tool coupler area, work-tool electrical harness connections, and the quick-disconnect fittings of the auxiliary hydraulics system.