Caterpillar Rolls Out New Line of M-Series Motorgraders

Wed July 26, 2006 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Caterpillar has announced the new, seven-model lineup of M-Series motorgraders.

The new machines feature a number of new concepts in motorgrader design — a pair of joysticks replace as many as 15 levers and a steering wheel. Because of the many control inputs required and the precision work performed by motorgraders, they are regarded as the most difficult of all earthmoving machines to operate. Caterpillar designed the M-Series joystick control system to make the motorgrader easier to learn and less fatiguing.

Caterpillar’s new graders include approximately 30 percent new content. New features include styling that opens up lines of sight, easy adjustment of the drawbar, circle and moldboard (DCM), a high torque all-wheel-drive system, enhanced power management and emissions-compliant Cat C-Series engines with ACERT Technology.

The M-Series motorgraders will replace the 10 H-Series models as the new machines are released starting in the fourth quarter of this year and concluding in mid-year 2007. The new models include the 120M, 12M, 140M, 160M, 14M, 16M and 24M.

The 120M, 14M and 160M will offer an all-wheel drive option for improved traction in poor underfoot conditions for added steering and sideshift control

Joystick Control

The new M-Series joystick-operated electro-hydraulic control system simplifies motorgrader control and reduces operator arm and hand movements by as much as 78 percent. The pair of three-axis joysticks are built for comfort and low-effort operation, and they feature a logical and intuitive control pattern. The system helps operators sustain high levels of efficiency throughout the work day, and the intuitive control design makes training fast and simple — for both new and experienced operators.

The new control system opens up the interior of the cab and provides enhanced lines of sight to the DCM and snow wing area. The cab doors are angled and the floor is tapered to provide an unobstructed line of sight to the front tires, the heel and toe of the blade and the DCM.

In addition to changes inside the cab, the sloping, tapered engine enclosure opens lines of sight to the ripper. To reduce glare, the M-Series machines have black paint on the top surfaces of the front frame, blade lift cylinders and engine enclosure.

Easier DCM Maintenance

By removing the access plates located on the top of the drawbar, a mechanic can maintain the circle by adding shims for wear strip adjustment or by replacing the wear strips when they are worn out. Changes to the moldboard retention system and the slide rail wear inserts make moldboard service much easier by eliminating the need for shims. The new bi-directional slide rail shoes allow adjustment up and down as well as fore and aft. The adjustment eliminates moldboard chatter.

High Torque

The M-Series all-wheel-drive option delivers 42 percent more torque than the H-Series system. The M-Series uses dedicated left and right pumps, which allow independent control of hydraulic flow to reach each front wheel hydrostatic motor. To compensate for hydraulic power demand, the engine automatically delivers additional horsepower to provide constant new power to the ground.

Through an electronic control module, front wheel speeds can be controlled automatically. The benefit of varying the outside and inside wheel speeds, known as steering compensation, is full torque through an entire turn. In poor underfoot conditions, this system allows a shorter turning radius.

The M-Series all-wheel-drive system also features a new front-wheel-only hydrostatic mode for precision low-speed performance. This mode provides infinite front wheel speed control from zero to 5 mi. per hour for enhanced control when working in tight areas, such as cul-de-sacs.

Advanced Power Management

Variable horsepower (VHP) is now standard on all M-Series models and variable horsepower plus is optional. The M-Series power management system delivers additional horsepower in 5-hp increments as the transmission gear selection increases. The result is a smooth power curve that allows M-Series machines to carry heavy loads while downshifting.

The previous system delivered an extra 20 hp in gears four through eight and VHP Plus added another 20 hp in gears seven and eight. Smaller increments throughout the gear range provide predictable power that operators prefer. With more rim pull available in all gears, M-Series machines are more productive than their H-Series predecessors.

New Engines/Drivetrains

Cat C-Series engines with ACERT Technology enable the M-Series motorgraders to meet U.S. EPA Tier III and EU Stage IIIA emissions regulations. ACERT Technology enables Cat engines to supply more power per unit of displacement while retaining reliability and durability.

The M-Series motorgraders also have many new drivetrain features. The new machines have a bolt-on modular rear axle. The new axle module allows the axle and both tandem cases to be dropped down for servicing, which reduces service time.

All M-Series models except the 24M feature a direct-drive countershift transmission. Electronic clutch pressure control makes gear-to-gear as well as forward/reverse shifts smoother and prolongs the life of all drivetrain components.

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