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Fuel Efficiency and Innovation Demonstrated at Caterpillar Event

Wed November 07, 2012 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Caterpillar introduced several new technologies to national and international media on Oct. 15 to 17 at its facilities in Peoria, Ill. These technologies included a new more fuel-efficient wheel loader, a hybrid excavator and Tier IV Final.

The event included a tour of the new Caterpillar Visitor Center. Caterpillar invested more than $52 million into the 50,000 sq. ft. facility and the new Peoria Riverfront Museum projects, which achieved LEED Gold status.

The new visitor’s center allows for self-guided journeys of Caterpillar’s products, history, achievements and opportunities through interactive displays and exhibits. Visitors have the power to unleash their inner engineer and design their very own Cat machine, or hop onto a simulator and see first-hand what it’s like to operate a Caterpillar excavator, dozer or loader. A heritage gallery displays a Caterpillar D8 tractor and informs of the company’s milestones, while the Caterpillar Jobsite Theater promotes job opportunities at the company.

The new center also features the 797F Mining Truck Theatre, which is a 62-seat theater that was converted from a working 24 ft.-tall (7.3 m), 400-ton (362.9 t) Cat 797F mining truck. The 797F is approximately the size of a two-and-a-half-story house, covering more than 4,500 sq. ft. (418 sq m). Caterpillar had to create new wheels for the truck-converted theater, since the tires on the 797F weighed too much (11,680 lbs [5,298 kg]).

The Next Generation Is Here, the title Caterpillar gave to the event, refers to the idea that Caterpillar is bringing the future to the present.

Cat 966K XE

The Cat 966K XE wheel loader is powered by a Cat C9.3 Acert diesel engine, delivering a peak net hp rating of 290 hp (220 kW) It incorporates a high-pressure common rail injection system for a clean, efficient burn. The Cat clean emissions module, which incorporates a diesel oxidation catalyst, a diesel particulate filter and the Cat regeneration system, functions automatically without interrupting the machine’s working cycle.

The engine can be controlled to operate more efficiently over a wide range of conditions. During deceleration, machine momentum can be recovered as free energy to power implements or the cooling fan, while significantly lower working engine speeds result in reduced soot build-up for longer regeneration intervals, cutting fuel use further.

The 966K XE is equipped with an advanced powertrain system, which delivers up to a 25 percent fuel efficiency, according to the company. The 966K XE has been engineered to deliver efficiency by utilizing an integrated Cat continuously variable transmission system. A hydraulic pump and motor (variator unit), allows for a smooth and continuous gear ratio change between engine speed and machine speed. The variator provides this ratio flexibility while reducing the heat load generated by the drive train when the machine is digging, pushing and climbing under heavy load. The continuously variable gear ratio of the variator also enables the engine to run at a more efficient operating range independent of machine ground speed.

Power is transmitted through the variator unit (versatile gear ratio) as well as a parallel mechanical gear path (highest efficiency). Power through the variator and mechanical paths are combined through a series of planetary gear sets in order to maximize the transmission efficiency over a wide range of operating conditions.

Media demoed this machine in Caterpillar’s two-acre indoor proving ground.

Cat 336E H

The Cat 336E H uses a new hydraulic hybrid technology developed by Caterpillar.

“A hybrid is independent of any particular technology; it doesn’t have to be electric,” said Ken Gray, global product manager of large hydraulic excavators of Caterpillar’s excavation division.

“Caterpillar has developed, built, and tested electric hybrid excavators, but, until now, we had not found a hybrid approach that would actually lower our customers’ owning and operating costs. Large excavators operate in high-production applications in which fuel is a very significant operating cost for our customers. So, the 336E H, the hybrid version of our workhorse 336E, is ideal for introducing our new hydraulic hybrid technology,” said Gray.

The 336E H has all of the same powerful advantages of the 336E with the biggest difference between the two models having even greater fuel efficiency. To achieve added fuel savings, the design of the 336E H uses three building block technologies that:

1) Conserve fuel with engine power management via the Cat electronic standardized programmable (ESP) pump, which smoothly transitions between the hydraulic hybrid power sources, engine, and accumulator.

2) Optimize performance using restriction management via the Cat adaptive control system (ACS) valve, which intelligently manages restrictions and flows to seamlessly control machine motion with no loss of power, and to ensure operators experience no difference in control, hydraulic power or lift capability.

3) Reuse energy via the hydraulic hybrid swing system, which captures the excavator’s upper structure swing brake energy in accumulators, and then releases the energy during swing acceleration.

Customers can expect the 336E H to use up to 25 percent less fuel compared to a standard 336E, and up to 33 percent less fuel than the 330/336D, said Caterpillar. All three of the technology building blocks, conserve, optimize and reuse, are integrated together to maximize fuel savings in a variety of applications.

Press demoed the 336E H, not on a proving ground, but as a 3D hologram. Testing and building Cat products includes creating 3D machines and environments, as well as a suite of other productivity-enhancing technologies. The hologram is displayed in a room, called “The Cave.” The 3D glasses even monitor head movement, and adjust the image accordingly.

Cat C9.3 Acert

Caterpillar also introduced the next generation of the Cat C9.3 Acert industrial engine, which is designed to meet U.S. EPA Tier IV Final/EU Stage IV emission standards. The new engine is a six-cylinder, 9.3-L platform that produces power density with ratings from 300 to 400 hp (224 to 298 kW). It is equipped with a fully-integrated clean emission module (CEM), which includes a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), diesel particulate filter (DPF), and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology.

“Utilizing a Cat common rail fuel system and new aftertreatment technology, the Tier IV Final/EU Stage IV C9.3 Acert improves fuel consumption by up to four percent compared to the current Tier IV Interim/Stage IIIB model,” said Mike Reinhart, industrial power systems marketing manager.

The Clean Emission Module simplifies OEM aftertreatment installation with a flexible design that allows mounting in horizontal or vertical configurations. This allows Cat’s existing customers to easily transition from Tier IV Interim/Stage IIIB to Tier IV Final/Stage IV.

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