Caterpillar® has given farmers the chance to get their hands-on mini excavators capable of tackling any farm work, following the release of two agriculture focused models the 307.5 and 310 hydraulic excavators.
As the badges suggest, these machines weigh in at 7.5 and 10 tonnes respectively and they differentiate themselves from previous Caterpillar mini excavators, as they are the new industry standard now set by ditching the swing boom for a more ideal fixed boom.
These models also offer a standard radius tail swing, and that is a welcome departure from the more traditional construction-focussed compact radius.
With the combination of all these new functions, they deliver as digging, shifting, lifting powerhouse machines, that are well suited for wide open spaces.
These models do the same job as a larger excavator with far less cost and use a lot less fuel.
The 307.5 and 310 hydraulic excavators are part of Cat’s Next Generation range of mini excavators that neatly fills the gap in the 7 to 10-tonnes excavator market with four new model that offer a range of solutions designed to suit a wide range of jobbing and operator needs.
While the Next Gen models focus on innovation along with customer applications, they also achieve many performance improvements due to a number of industry-first functions as standard and this opens up more efficient ways of working.
Stick steer and cruise control
For ag and rural applications, stick steer and cruise control comes into play when tramming the machine long distances across paddocks or along tracks.
The push of a button sees the travel levers become redundant, and all travel control is re-routed to the left joystick, machine movement is now determined by joystick position, just like a skid steer.
If more leg room is what you need, it is even possible to take the foot levers out and use stick steer as your sole travel method.
With a click of the left trigger cruise control is activated, allowing the Next Gen models to travel automatically, but still allow the operator to steer left or right, exactly like cruise control in a car.
Sealed and pressurised cab
To maximise operator comfort, the sealed and pressurised cab offers an internal sound pressure rating of 72dB, paired with smartphone Bluetooth connectivity, taking a call while operating a Next Gen machine is just as convenient as sitting at home.
Push button keyless start is available on all Next Gen models. A Bluetooth key allows a simple push of a button to start up the machine.
However if you leave your key behind you can still start the machine with your own unique passcode, with the ability to program multiple codes if you have different operators.
The passcode is entered through the interactive LCD colour monitor.
Other operator comforts
activated through the monitor include climate control, bluetooth connectivity that allows hands free phone calls and audio playback and an AM/FM radio.
Vital machine functions that are accessible via the monitor include adjustable hydraulics for both responsiveness and speed, a quick coupler control, two-way auxiliary flow with adjustment, a pattern changer and dozer Mode.
Caterpillar is always striving to improve on previous models, as well as serve a range of customers in many different industries.
Continuous research and design innovations has allowed Next Gen models to reach high levels of performance and functionality.
Enabling this performance boost is a Cat 3.3 engine, that works to power the load sensing hydraulic system, that is electronically controlled by a variable displacement piston pump.
This is designed to save fuel as well as increase travel capability and improve digging and lifting performance, and it achieves all of that when compared to previous models.
These improvements are also carried across the 307.5 and 310 agriculture focused hydraulic excavators.
Innovation on the Next Gen Cat 310 excavator comes from a focus on engineering, advancements in boom and lift path geometry, combined with a powerful hydraulic system.
This allows the 310 to achieve an impressive 5.3 tonnes lifting capability at a stretch of 3m out front. As well as 77.7kN of breakout force at the business end of the machine.
While the 307.5 Packs the same performance punch for its size, with all the same functions as the 10 tonnes machine, including fixed boom.
At a 3m stretch the 307.5 will lift 2.9 tonnes of any chosen material and cut through dense material with 55kN of breakout force.
All models have the option of factory fitted check valves, to keep loads safely suspended.
Overall, the full range of Next Generation 7 to 10 tonnes mini’s have 65% greater lifting capability over the front, and a 40% boost of lifting capability over the side, when compared to previous Cat models.
While also offering a 20% increase in multifunction capability, allowing the operator to track, slew and lift simultaneously like never before, improving overall efficiency.
Compatible with Cat’s Next Gen models is a multitude of attachments to suit a wide range of applications.
Specific, but not restricted to the ag segment is augers, hammers, compactors, and mulchers.
Utilising the ability to engage continuous flow at any desired speed to suit the task at hand, this makes the pairing of cat attachments with the next gen models both more efficient and convenient.
While the LCD colour monitor also allows the operator access to adjust implement hydraulic responsiveness and speed, such as stick, boom, slew.
This allows the operator to have full engine rpm powering the work tool and also be able to simultaneously calm the machine, for when a delicate or precise touch is required.
Hydraulics can also be adjusted to satisfy operator preference, skill level or be set for a specific task.
However, if an operation is more suited in running high powered attachments regularly, it may be worth considering the 309 high flow model.
It has two hydraulic pumps, one for all the normal excavator implements, and a second dedicated system purely for attachments.
The 309 high flow also has a swing boom for increased attachment manoeuvrability, and an extended undercarriage option for added stability.
The flagship of Cat’s Next Generation range of mini excavators is the 308CR, it replaces the previous 308E2CR model.
A compact radius machine with a swing boom, for extra versatility when working in tight spaces.
The 308CR, as well as all models in the 7 to 10 tonnes range have increased swing torque when compared to the previous 308E2, so working on a slope, and swinging heavy loads uphill is now easier.
For more certainty and less expense, Cat has made it very affordable to replace common parts in case of damage.
This is also the reason behind the flat, box-style design that incorporates steel rear panels that are sturdy and far less susceptible to impact, lowering repair costs.
Paired with a lower fuel consumption and extended service intervals, the Next Gen range offers a 10% reduction in ownership costs. If something does go wrong, your local Cat dealer is always there to help.
To find out more about the 7 to 10 tonnes Next Gen range, as well as the 1 to 2 tonnes Next Gen micros, see: nextgenmini.com.au to view customer testimonials, request a demo, download specs and find where to contact your local Caterpillar dealer.