Caterpillar fuels innovation launching 33 new machines


Digger Man Blogger, Nick Drew testing the new Cat 313FL GC

March in Malaga set the scene for Caterpillar’s 2015 new product launch, the biggest unveiling of new Cat equipment in years. In total 33 machines were launched, with key new models set to make a real impact on the UK market, by focusing on technological innovation and fuel efficiency.

Finning News was at the launch to report on the key machine highlights for the UK plant sector. We caught up with Caterpillar’s Vice President of Global Construction and Infrastructure, Paolo Fellin, for an exclusive interview, highlighting the main focuses of the event.

Paolo: “With our new product range we have very much focused on advances in technology and fuel efficiency. We know that when it comes to operating costs, fuel consumption is at least 30% of our customers’ expenditure, so bringing this down or leveraging the value of every litre, is essential to their success.

“A good example of how we have used, technology, in conjunction with our ongoing research and development programme to improve fuel consumption, is the new Cat 336FL XE Hybrid Excavator. As the second generation of hybrid excavator, in line with our XE range of wheel loaders, we have engineered this machine to deliver high levels of productivity for a 25% fuel consumption saving compared to its predecessor.

“In other areas we have really concentrated on customer feedback and the different demands from our wide and varied markets. For example for the UK, where many operations run on a ‘price per hour’ basis, we have developed the Cat 313FL GC Hydraulic Excavator to minimise the cost for this type of life cycle value work. Ideal for the plant hire sector, we have already seen orders taken from UK customers for this model.”

Highlighting technology as a key priority for the UK market, Paolo added: “In an age where many customers are already using jobsite management tools such as ProductLink™, we have recognised that there is a real hunger for technological innovations that facilitate both fleet and individual machine performance.

“With this in mind, we have introduced enhancements to our Caterpillar Grade Control, AccuGrade™ and pay load management systems, all of which are aimed at helping operators measure and optimise jobsite productivity.

“What is great to see is the appetite the UK market now has for these kind of advanced technologies, with end users of all types now taking advantage of what we call our EMSolutions offering. So for customers focused on combining technology with class leading fuel consumption, the new range of equipment we have launched will help to reduce operating costs, increase productivity and ultimately improve profitability.”

Cutting the Cost of Excavation

One of the biggest surprises of the Caterpillar launch was the first ever UK focused Cat 313FL GC Hydraulic Excavator model. To find out about this machine, Finning News spoke to Caterpillar specialist, Matthew Newman.

Matt: “As we know, the UK market is dominated by plant hire businesses, all of which have been telling us that they need a 12-14 tonne machine that can support customers who are tendering contracts on a cost per hour basis.

“Taking this demand into consideration, we set about designing the new Cat 313F L GC Hydraulic Excavator, aimed at delivering the best value possible for every hour of the machine’s life cycle. So it is no longer the case that you have to be using a machine all day to generate the best return on your investment.

“The driving force behind the new machine is the Cat C3.4B 55 kWh rated engine, which is EU Stage IIIB certified and under the engine horsepower rating required for Stage IV compliance, which removes the need for diesel exhaust fluid after treatment. The machine also comes with interchangeable work tools, so operators will be able to quickly switch from using buckets, hammers and grapples, depending on the application. For those used to using dozer blades, this option will be available later in the year.

“From a health and safety perspective, the Cat 313FL GC’s rear view camera and in cab monitor mean that operators benefit from 360 degree visibility and because it is fitted with an ISO compliant ROPS cab the operators themselves are further protected.

“For those working longer hours, a fully adjustable air suspension seat offers in cab comfort, with the machine’s one pump hydraulic controls meaning the Cat 313FL GC’s productivity matches any machine on the market.”