Caterpillar’s Track-Type Tractor Turns 100

Tue December 07, 2004 - National Edition

Caterpillar hosted its Worldwide Press Briefing in Peoria, IL, Nov. 16-18 to celebrate 100 years of the track-type tractor.

The event included displays and presentations on the history of Benjamin Holt’s invention, credited with revolutionizing the industry, as well as demonstrations and information on new products, including the SystemOne undercarriage, ACERT Technology and the T-Series at the manufacturer’s Demonstration and Training facility.

According to Peter Holt, CEO of Holt CAT, the track-type tractor invented by his great grandfather is still as popular and practical today.

“Because the system works and because it has evolved over time,” he said. “In fact, besides the hydraulics, the elevated sprocket is one of the most dramatic technological changes in our industry.

“Caterpillar people created it, and it does what it is supposed to do, which is get the stress off the final drive components and keep them out of the dirt. Both of those lead to longer component life and easier repair, and competitors have not been able to replicate it. Cat has continued to upgrade the elevated sprocket and other tracktype components and machines. A good example is the new D8T with ACERT Technology,” he added.

T-Series Track-Type Tractors

Caterpillar’s new T-Series Track-Type Tractors –– the D8T, D9T and D10T –– are powered by Cat engines with ACERT Technology.

All three machines use an electronically controlled, heavy-duty planetary powershift transmission with three speeds forward, three speeds reverse and an electronic modulation system that allows the operator to perform fast changes in speed and direction.

Computer Aided Earthmoving Systems (CAES) and AccuGrade laser systems can be more readily installed with a dedicated mounting position in the front console and integrated electronics.

A new Advisor Monitoring System (AMS) provides on-board diagnostics to minimize downtime and maximize machine performance. It displays key machine operating information valuable to the operator and service technician. The operator can use the Advisor panel to set and adjust such features as blade response, blade float, auto blade pitch and spread rate. Just by pushing one button, the operator can use the AutoPitch feature to change the blade for each part of the dozing cycle.

The mainframes on the tractors are built to absorb the high impact shock loads and twisting forces found in many applications. The main case elevates the final drives above the ground level work area to protect them from impact loads, abrasion and contaminants.

All three machines have a pivot shaft that runs through the mainframe and connects to the roller frames. This allows for independent oscillation.

All three tractors also can be equipped with the optional Caterpillar Product Link PL300. This multi-use feature allows the customer or dealer to obtain machine diagnostics and location information from their offices. It can provide updates on service meter hours, machine condition and machine location.

Caterpillar SystemOne

Caterpillar has developed a new undercarriage system that provides improved system wear life and reduced owning and operating costs for track-type tractors and track loaders. According to the manufacturer, the SystemOne undercarriage represents years of development and extensive collaboration with machine users.

SystemOne undercarriage features positive sealing. Parts are sealed for life. No bushing turns are needed and most interim maintenance is eliminated, which reduces downtime and maintenance costs. The system also provides a smoother ride for better machine performance and greater operator comfort.

The undercarriage system is designed for use in all applications and conditions. After more than 100,500 hours of field testing in Europe and North America, SystemOne has demonstrated significant reductions in wear on track bushings, sprocket segments, links and rollers. Idler life has also increased.

Machine owners currently using the new system in a variety of applications report they expect undercarriage life to increase by 50 percent or more depending on application and site conditions. In severe applications, SystemOne undercarriage can exceed double the life of previous undercarriage designs, according to the manufacturer.

SystemOne undercarriage will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. Targeted models include D3C/G, D4C/G, D4H, D5C/G, D5H, D5M/N, D6M/N and D6H/R track-type tractors and 953 and 963 track loaders.

ACERT Engines

The new Caterpillar C15 industrial engine, with a displacement of 15.1 liters and five ratings from 440 to 595 hp (329 to 444 kW) at 1,800 to 2,100 rpm, features Caterpillar’s ACERT technology to meet Tier 3/Stage IIIa emission standards.

The essence of ACERT technology is precise control of the combustion cycle. While the concept is the same across the engine families that use ACERT technology, there are differences in how the concept is implemented.

ACERT technology components on the C15 reduce emissions with sophisticated engineering that provides other benefits, as well.

The engine has been designed for a higher compression ratio. In addition to improving emissions, the higher compression also enhances power density and improves startability. These higher peak cylinder pressures are achieved by the use of an improved block-to-head joint, stronger connecting rods and steel pistons.

Service intervals for the C15 are set at 500 hours. The engines come equipped with Cat’s new high efficiency oil filters. These new filters have better contamination control, resulting in longer intervals between overhauls.

Engines in the C15 power range are used in a broad range of construction equipment and off-road applications, including compactors, tub grinders and rock crushers.

The C18, an 18.1-liter engine, is available in five ratings from 585 to 785 hp (429 to 585 kW).

Engines in the C18 power range are flexible enough to be used in a broad range of applications, including blast hole drill rigs, 4WD agriculture tractors, forage harvesters, pavers, construction and mining equipment, irrigation, petroleum drill rigs, chippers and shredders.

With a displacement of 27 liters and five ratings from 730 to 1,100 hp at 2,100 rpm, the new C27 also features ACERT Technology.

The robust core structure of the C27 is designed specifically for off-highway applications. The new block and crankshaft are two examples of how the C27 is engineered to handle the higher loads this engine can produce.

Based on Caterpillar’s 3412E engine, the C27 also includes a MEUI fuel system, cross-flow heads with high cam position, and Caterpillar’s ADEM A4 engine control module with increased memory and a faster processor.