Caterpillar Wheel Skidders Feature Productivity Enhancing Grapples

Wed August 23, 2006 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The new Caterpillar 525C, 535C and 545C wheel skidders feature a number of changes that boost performance and reduce owning and operating costs when compared to the B-Series models that the new machines replace, according to the manufacturer.

The Cat C7 engine with ACERT Technology powers all three new models and offers power and torque that matches the B-Series skidders — while delivering emissions compliance and enhanced fuel efficiency. Redesigned grapples feature a strong box-section design and higher clamping forces for faster log loading. The Caterpillar Auto-Grab system monitors and adjusts tong pressure as needed to maintain a secure grip on grapple loads without wasting power.

The C-Series wheel skidders are designed for easier maintenance. Large engine enclosure doors provide open access to service points for quick, efficient maintenance. Daily inspection and lubrication points are accessible from ground level and ecology drains provided on all fluid compartments.

To further enhance human and machine performance, the ergonomically designed operator station helps fight fatigue through low-effort, intuitive controls. A single-lever, four-function joystick control simplifies grapple operations.

The Caterpillar Monitoring System makes more information available to the operator.

The C-Series machines also feature redesigned mainframes designed and manufactured by Caterpillar. To access new designs and help ensure reliable and durable performance of the new skidders, Caterpillar used thorough computer analysis and extensive field testing. The three machines share the high-capacity 545C hitch. The C-Series skidders maintain the Caterpillar weight-forward design for stability on grades, even with large loads.

The 545C has peak net power of 182 hp (136 kW) and handles a 9-sq.-ft. (0.83 sq m) sorting grapple or a bunching grapple of 12.5 sq. ft. (1.16 sq m) or 14.4 sq. ft. (1.34 sq m).

The 525C has peak net power of 204 hp (152 kW) and is matched with a 14.4- or a 16.6-sq. ft. (1.34- or 1.54 sq m) bunching grapple.

The 545C has peak net power of 219 hp (163 kW) and can be equipped with a 16.6- or a 19-sq.ft. (1.54- or 1.77-sq m) bunching grapple.

A new hydraulically powered winch is available for grapple configurations. The hydraulic winch provides improved application flexibility by allowing the power train to be engaged while winching.

A cable arch also is available for each of the skidders. The C-500 mechanical winch is available on cable skidders where higher line speeds and maximum drum pull are needed.

Responsive, Efficient Power Train

The Cat C7 diesel engine with ACERT Technology is an in-line 6-cylinder with 439-cu. in. (7.2 L) displacement. ACERT Technology combines incremental improvements in fuel delivery, air management and electronic control to optimize engine performance and to meet emissions regulations. The clean-burning engine allows oil change intervals to be extended to 500 hours.

A lock-up clutch torque equips each of the skidders with all of the operating advantages of torque converter operation as well as the speed and fuel efficiency of direct drive. The lock-up clutch is operator selected and automatically engages for direct drive.

The five-speed transmission matches engine power to the load size and ground conditions. Three reverse gears help boost skidder productivity.

Brakes are enclosed wet disc brakes for long life. Brake components are housed inside the axles. The inboard final drives also are protected from the harsh logging environment. The hydraulically engaged differential locks feature on-the-go engagement and disengagement.

The standard 535C and 545C axles can handle single or dual wheels. The 525C offers a choice of axle configurations that allow single or dual wheels as well as flotation tires. Duals and floatation tires increase floatation in wet, sloppy underfoot conditions and provide stability on grades when moving large loads.

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