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Control System Adapts Machine Response to Skill Level

Fri February 12, 2010 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Recognizing that the operating skill of workers using small loaders on typical job sites ranges from the novice to the expert, Caterpillar has developed a new control feature that allows each operator to run a Cat C-Series skid steer, multi-terrain or compact track loader safely, productively and comfortably. The new Hystat Response Control System (HRCS) uses software that permits the loader’s hydrostatic drive/steer system to be adjusted to one of three response rates — standard, intermediate or maximum — to determine how rapidly the machine accelerates/decelerates and how quickly it responds to steering commands.

Each of the new control system’s successive settings results in more aggressive response, permitting skilled operators to use the machine to its full potential, but also accommodating operators of lesser experience. The net result is that job site tasks are handled efficiently and productively — no matter who is in the seat, according to the manufacturer.

The HRCS standard setting provides acceleration/deceleration rates that feel smooth and controlled, as does steering response. In the intermediate setting, the machine will start and stop more quickly, and steering-response lag is diminished. When operated in the maximum setting, the loader will accelerate aggressively in forward, will stop abruptly and will respond instantaneously to steering commands.

C-Series loaders equipped with the Cat Advanced Machine Information and Control System (AMICS) option allow the operator to select one of the three response rates from the monitor in the cab. A visual indicator (one, two or three bars) indicates the selected setting. Non-AMICS equipped machines can be programmed with one of the three response rates via the Cat Electronic Technician system. The only cost involved for machines in service may be that of a nominal charge by the dealer for programming.

Owners of non-AMICS-equipped machines can capitalize on full HRCS potential, however, by adding an AMICS kit. The kit typically is installed in about an hour by the Cat dealer and has a list price of approximately $700. Equipping a Cat C-Series loader with the AMICS kit not only allows full use of HRCS capability, but also enhances the operator’s control of the machine by providing features such as Implement Speed Control and Work Speed Control (creep mode), as well as providing an interface for an AccuGrade system.

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