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Customer Input Fuels Cat 318B Design

Wed March 15, 2000 - Northeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The new Caterpillar 318B L hydraulic excavator is the company’s latest entry to the B-Series line. Caterpillar maintained the successful 300 family design concept and added customer requested improvements.

The 318B L includes many of the features and improvements found on other B-Series models, including:

• Productivity in all applications;

• Controllability, simultaneous operation and fine control;

• Operator comfort; and

• Maintenance and serviceability.


The 318B L is powered by the Caterpillar turbocharged 3046T diesel engine rated at 86-kilowatts (115 hp). The 3046 incorporates automatic engine control with one-touch command. The three-stage control maximizes fuel efficiency and reduces sound levels.

The 318B L’s high hydraulic system pressure results in high productivity and lift capacity.

• The 318B L’s electronic power unit control system manages the engine and hydraulics for maximum performance, lowering emissions and sound levels and improving fuel efficiency.

• The automatic engine control (AEC) switch reduces engine speed to the second-stage AEC speed (1,300 rpm) or the first-stage AEC speed (another 100 rpm reduction).

The power mode selector changes engine power and speed at the touch of a button. When the lighted arrow on the left side of the switch is displayed, the engine is in power up mode (100 percent output). When the light is off, the engine is in economy up mode (85 percent).

The work mode selector matches hydraulic characteristics to the application.

• Boom priority mode is most effective when boom movement is high relative to swing movement. Boom priority is ideal for truck loading and deep trenching with small swing angle.

• Swing priority mode is most effective where swing movement is high relative to boom movement. Also, this mode is suitable for side wall digging because it provides a powerful and constant swing force.

• Fine control mode reduces engine output to 65 percent. During boom-up and stick-in operation, one pump is used for the boom and another for the stick. During stick-out, two pumps join to increase stick-out speed. This mode is useful for precise level/slope finishing work and lifting applications.

• User mode contains three additional submodes — tamping mode, hammer mode and customer mode — which can be chosen by repeatedly actuating the switch. For the customer submode, the operator enters the desired work mode, power mode, hydraulic output, throttle position and AEC, all available at the touch of the single switch. This mode is a time-saver and improves productivity for customers who work in a variety of conditions but routinely return to a specific application — such as trenching, truck loading or pipe laying.

An additional feature of the 318B L is the hydraulic cross-sensing system. Using this system, either of the two hydraulic pumps can utilize 100 percent of engine power in any operating conditions.


The 318B L controllability increases operator comfort and minimizes fatigue according to Caterpillar. This improves operating effectiveness and efficiency. Improved controllability is achieved by enhancing the hydraulic system and control lever layout. The 318B L uses a hydraulic full-power control to ensure faster response and smoother flow increases, which improves controllability.

Operator Comfort

Operator comfort is a key design element because it helps maintain high productivity. Now that contractors are using excavators in a growing variety of applications, they need a machine that’s both comfortable and efficient.

The 318B L offers a well-designed work environment that increases operator comfort. Low sound levels, excellent all-around viewing area and easy-to-use controls help keep operators productive over long periods of time.

Maintenance and


The ease and speed of an excavator’s maintenance and serviceability lowers cost of operation. When routine maintenance is simple, operators are more likely to do it — and that keeps a machine running well and prevents serious problems from developing. Easy access to components keeps downtime and costs to a minimum.

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