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Caterpillar rolls out next generation of micro excavators

Nathan Medcalf
Caterpillar rolls out next generation of micro excavators
PHOTO COURTESY OF CATERPILLAR—The Caterpillar 302 CR is one of Caterpillar’s new Next Generation micro excavators. It is a two-ton compact radius machine with either a canopy or cab option.

Caterpillar has announced four new micro excavators that are up to three tons in capacity.

Three of the machines (301.5, 301.7 CR and 301.8) are updates while the 302 CR is a new machine and Caterpillar’s first true two-ton machine. In total, Caterpillar has seven micro models.

The new model range allows customers to better match the machine to its intended application, the company states

The range is as follows:.

-301.5 (1.5-ton class, standard tail swing, with canopy)

-301.7 CR (1.7-ton class, compact radius, with canopy)

-301.8 (1.8-ton class, standard tail swing, with either canopy or cab)

-302 CR (2.0-ton class, compact radius, with either canopy or cab)

“These machines have been released under the Next Generation banner which includes industry first features such as, stick steer, cruise control, sealed and pressurized cabs, air conditioning on micro size units and the Next Generation monitors which is the same monitor for the 1.5-ton up to the new 10-ton model,” says Greg Worley, a product application specialist with Caterpillar. “All of the models from 1.5 ton to 10 ton will become Next Generation units over the next few years.”

Caterpillar introduced the first Next Generation excavators (20-25-ton-class) in late 2017.

“We have started the process at the bottom and at the top and will then meet in the middle,” says Worley.

The machines bring power and versatility to worksites with limited space. These units can get in, on or around most jobsites.

“With manual labour becoming a challenge, customers are looking for machines that access the tight working areas to get the job done. We expect they will be very popular in landscaping, demolition, refurbishment work and utility,” says Worley.

The standard auxiliary hydraulic system on all of the new models come complete with quick disconnect lines and provide one-way, two-way and continuous flow to meet the diverse hydraulic needs of a multitude of attachments.

Manual couplers, a thumb-ready package, a certified lifting eye and front shovel operation further diversifies the machine’s performance.

The machines’ load-sensing hydraulic system with an electronically controlled variable displacement piston pump capable of oil flows to 66 litres/minute saves fuel, generates high digging and lifting forces, and provides the flow required to operate powered attachments, the company claims.

The excavators facilitate easier operation with the exclusive Stick Steer system. The new standard feature allows the operator to switch from conventional lever/foot-pedal steering controls to left-hand joystick control.

Uncommon among micro excavators is a dozer blade. The dozer blade on these machines expands, so they are better capable to complete backfilling and grading tasks, Caterpillar adds. A blade float function makes travel easier, and a “dig-to-blade” operation aids in efficient handling of loose materials.

Common among micro excavators is an expandable/retractable undercarriage. It can retract in order to manoeuvre into tight areas or go through narrow gates or doors. Then it can expand for a wider footprint when you need the extra stability.

Undercarriages for all models, except the 302 CR, retract from 1.3 metres to 0.99 metres; the 302 CR retracts from 1.4 metres to 1.09 metres.

The machines are designed for long-term durability and easy serviceability. Major structures, such as the upper and lower frames, track frames, boom and stick are modelled after their larger Cat excavator counterparts.

The machines’ exclusive tilt-up cab, which provides easy access to major hydraulic components, can be changed from operation to service or from service to operation in less than five minutes.

Under the hood of each of the new models is a three-cylinder diesel rated at 19.2 net horsepower (14.3 kW) Tier 4 Cat C1.1 engine.

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