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Caterpillar 980K Wheel Loader Has New Cab, Engine, Hydraulics

Wed May 04, 2011 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The Cat 980K wheel loader offers high productivity, performance and fuel efficiency and an engine certified to meet Tier IV Interim and Stage IIIB emissions standards in North America and Europe. Major improvements include a new cab, load-sensing hydraulics, a 25 percent increase in lift force and a 16 percent increase in tilt force over the 980H. The loader also features new electro-hydraulic steering with either joystick or steering wheel control, plus performance series buckets and an optional lock-up torque converter.

The 980K is equipped with the Cat C13 Acert engine with peak net power of 369 hp (275 kW) at 1,500 rpm. The loader accommodates buckets from 5.25 to 16 cu. yds. (4 to 12.2 cu m) and is useful in quarry, aggregates, construction and other high-volume applications.

New Operator Station

New steps that have a greater inclination angle than the H Series provide easy access to the cab. A wider door opening, well-placed grab bars and a new front-hinged door that can be opened and closed while seated allow for easy entry and exit. Left and right sliding windows can be opened and closed with one hand while seated, making it easier to communicate with people on the ground.

A streamlined four-post ROPS design and a new operator position that has been moved slightly forward enhance visibility to the front and sides, while a standard rear-view camera with large color monitor enhances visibility to the back of the machines.

The 980K comes standard with a new low-effort electro-hydraulic joystick steering system. Joystick steering permits operators to work in the most ergonomically neutral position with both arms resting comfortably on wide, well-padded, adjustable armrests. A high-backed seat with lumbar support further enhances ergonomics. The Cat joystick steering system has an force-feedback feature that automatically increases joystick effort as ground speed increases. This improves steering control and comfort, especially at higher speeds. The joystick moves side to side; its angle mirrors the machine’s articulation angle.

An optional electro-hydraulic steering wheel system will be available from the factory several months after the 980K goes into production. It too senses ground speed and automatically adjusts steering effort to improve controllability and comfort at higher speeds. Full machine articulation can be accomplished by rotating the wheel approximately 330 degree. This compares to conventional steering wheels, which can require two-and-one-half to five or more full turns to achieve full articulation. Retrofit kits will be available for the joystick and steering wheel systems, so dealers and equipment owners can change systems as required.

The operator station also features new viscous cab mounts that reduce noise and vibration; an automatic climate control that adjusts temperature and fan speed to the operator’s preferred setting; and a new center display panel with five analog-like gauges and a large text box that displays in-language messages. A “help” button explains switch functions in-language.

Two new membrane switch panels are located on the front right ROPS post. The large switches can be easily activated when wearing gloves. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and an audible “click” let the operator know when the switches have been activated. Optional heated and powered mirrors improve operator comfort and clear condensation and ice. AM/FM radios with CD players are available along with a standard MP3 jack and three 12-volt power outlets. An optional communication radio package also is available.

Performance Series Buckets and Versatile Work Tools

Cat performance series buckets come standard on the 980K. Developed especially for production loading, these buckets deliver faster fill times and better material retention, reducing cycle time and improving productivity and fuel efficiency, according to the manufacturer.

Many other work tools including specialty buckets, pallet forks, mill yard and logging forks, material handling arms, rakes and plows also are available to expand the application range for the machine.

Tier IV Interim/Stage IIIB Engine

A new Cat C13 Acert engine powers the 980K. It meets Tier IV Interim and Stage IIIB emissions standards with a suite of technologies that includes an upgraded ADEM 4 control module and an enhanced mechanical electronic unit injector (MEUI-C) fuel system. The durable Cat clean emissions module is securely mounted on its own platform above the engine and contains a diesel oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter and Cat regeneration system. Regeneration, the process by which soot is removed from the Diesel Particulate Filter, can be set to take place automatically so that it does not interrupt the machine work cycle, and it can be initiated manually by the operator when preferred.

Load-Sensing Hydraulics

A new load-sensing hydraulic system automatically directs the right amount of flow to the implements based on operating conditions. Fuel consumption is reduced because the hydraulic pumps only produce required flow. Heat generation also is reduced, which decreases cooling requirements and average fan speed, resulting in additional fuel savings.

The new hydraulic system also allows parallel flow to lift, tilt and auxiliary hydraulics, so the functions can be performed simultaneously. In bucket loading, for example, the operator can lift and tilt at the same time for faster, smoother, more fuel efficient loading. Other applications requiring hydro mechanical work tools also benefit from simultaneous operation of hydraulic functions, according to the manufacturer.

Concurrent with the change to load-sensing hydraulics, the 980K’s lift and tilt forces have been increased by 25 and 16 percent respectively, reducing bucket loading times and increasing fill factors. Coupled with the standard performance series buckets, these changes are an example of deep systems integration; Caterpillar specializes in systems integration to drive performance and fuel efficiency benefits for customers.


Drive Train

Another example of systems integration is the drive train, which has been optimized with the new C13 Acert engine to deliver efficient digging power, acceleration, performance and fuel efficiency. To boost productivity in load-and-carry applications and on ramps, the 980K can be equipped with a new optional lock-up clutch torque converter. It is automatically activated in second through fourth gear, and when locked, operates like a direct-drive system. This improves performance and reduces fuel consumption in applications with many load-and-carry and ramp-duty cycles.

Another improvement to the drive train is new shifting logic for downshifting into first gear. The downshift now occurs based on the machine’s torque requirements instead of ground speed, thereby enabling operators to use the automatic transmission mode in first through fourth gears. This simplifies operation, reduces dig times and improves fuel efficiency. Transmission speed shifts are also significantly smoother due to this new shifting strategy that reduces torque losses while shifting. The result is faster acceleration, better ramp climbing performance and improved shift quality, according to the manufacturer.

Fast Service,

More Uptime

Cat K Series wheel loaders retain the convenient, one-piece tilting hood introduced with the G Series. However, the rear portion of the hood now incorporates a clamshell design that allows quick access to the engine oil dipstick, oil fill, fuel fill and cooler cores for cleaning. New fold-back external mirrors allow easier access to a convenient step near the top of the loader tower and a redesigned window-cleaning platform that improves visibility to work tools. The full coverage grab bar around the roof cap provides a secure hand-hold when cleaning windows, replacing wiper blades or inspecting lights. Two ground-level service centers for hydraulic and electrical components permit faster, more convenient maintenance.

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