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Caterpillar Delivers Keys to First D7E Track-Type Tractor

Thu January 21, 2010 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Caterpillar presented the keys of the first innovative AC electric drive track-type tractor in the industry to long-time customer, TJ Lambrecht on Dec. 22. The electric drive system developed for track-type tractors gives the D7E an unmatched combination of power, sustainability, control and maneuverability, according to the manufacturer.

“Our customers are being challenged to do their work more efficiently with less impact on the environment,” said Caterpillar Group President Doug Oberhelman. “The D7E demonstrates Caterpillar’s commitment to the industry with a machine that does more work and consumes less fuel and parts, providing customers with lower owning and operating costs.” Oberhelman was recently named Caterpillar vice chairman effective Jan. 1.

TJ Lambrecht, headquartered in Joliet, Ill., is a heavy, civil, and earthmoving contractor with one of the largest and most current fleets of Caterpillar equipment.

“Caterpillar has been a great partner over the years, and we have a solid relationship with our dealers,” said Dan Klingberg, president, TJ Lambrecht. “Case in point was the opportunity to demo the D7E at our O’Hare Modernization Project job site this past summer. We think it’s going to help us mitigate fluctuations in fuel prices, as well as address the growing scope of emissions regulations. Our whole organization is very excited about it.”

The Cat C9.3 ACERT diesel engine, rated at 235 net horsepower (175 kW) in the D7E, drives a powerful electrical generator that produces AC (alternating current). Current flows through special armored cables and military-grade connectors to a solid-state inverter, then to the propulsion module. Within the propulsion module are two heavy-duty electric motors (using AC current) that drive through common gearing into the differential steering system. Power from the steering system is transferred via axles to mechanical, double-reduction final drives to provide smooth, infinitely variable driving force to the tracks. The engine in the D7E is entirely beltless, eliminating the need for belt maintenance and replacement.

Headquartered in Elmhurst, Ill., Caterpillar dealer, Patten Industries, was instrumental in the sale of the D7E.

“This revolutionary design consumes fewer resources over its working life than any other track-type tractor in its class. All major components are engineered to be rebuilt or reused in the future,” said Patten Executive General Manager Larry O’Neill. “Our customers are looking for these kinds of solutions, and we’re pleased to provide them with a competitive edge.”

For more information on the Cat D7E with electric drive, visit

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