New undercarriage highlights Cat C-Series multi-terrain loaders

  • 19-Jun-2008 08:05 EDT
With a simplified track-tensioning system, the C-Series loaders’ tracks can be adjusted more quickly and easily.

Caterpillar has introduced three new multi-terrain loaders—the 277C, 287C and 297C—as part of its C-Series loader line. Presented at Cat’s Demonstration & Learning Center near Edwards, IL, to a gathering of industry media, Cat’s new C-Series multi-terrain loaders feature an open, modular undercarriage designed for maximum durability, low ground pressure, and easy maintenance, along with enhanced machine controls and an electronic torque management system.

With a rated operating capacity (defined as 50% of tipping load) of 4233 lb (1920 kg), the 297C is the largest-capacity machine of its type that Cat has ever produced. The 297C and the 287C, which has an operating capacity of 3854 lb (1748 kg), are both vertical lift loaders, making them well suited for truck loading applications. The 277C, which has radial lift linkage, has a rated operating capacity of 3212 lb (1457 kg).

All three multi-terrain loaders are powered by Cat’s 3.3-L 3044C DIT turbocharged engine. At 90 net hp (67 kW), the 297C is the most powerful multi-terrain loader in the C-Series, while the 287C and 277C both deliver 82 net hp (61 kW). A demand fan provides cooling when required, and an electronic torque management system maximizes power to the ground and prevents the engine from stalling in tough digging and dozing applications.

C-Series loaders offer increased lift and tilt breakout forces as well as increased drawbar pull when compared to the equivalent B-Series models they replace. The hydrostatic drive system helps to balance power and speed for optimum machine performance when digging or dozing. The hydrostatic drive control system is electrohydraulic, which provides system feedback and helps to deliver such benefits as maximum drive torque, power-turn capability, and straight-line tracking.

High Flow XPS, Cat’s high-flow, high-pressure hydraulic system, can be installed as an option to enable C-Series machines to employ work tools requiring high flow and pressure. The High Flow XPS system uses a load sensing variable displacement pump to deliver a maximum flow of 33 gal/min (125 L/min) and a maximum pressure of 4061 psi (28,000 kPa).

C-Series multi-terrain loaders feature a new, open-style undercarriage design that reduces material buildup during operation and minimizes the need for cleaning. The positive drive system is elevated to keep the drive components away from ground debris, and tapered roller bearings and heavy-duty metal face seals on the idlers and bogies help to ensure long life. The 18 in (457 mm) wide rubber tracks, which are reinforced with high-tensile-strength steel cord, now feature three rows of lugs. The additional third row of lugs creates a larger area for the track to engage with the guide system, and enhances guiding when working on side slopes.

To ease maintenance, most undercarriage components can be replaced without removing the track, and modular components can be replaced individually as needed. The new design allows the track to be replaced—when necessary—in much less time as compared to previous models, according to Cat. The new loaders’ track-tensioning system has been simplified, which helps to facilitate quicker and easier adjustments.

A dual-level undercarriage suspension is also available as an option. By incorporating oscillating bogie wheels, the dual-level undercarriage helps to keep more track on the ground, which helps to enhance both load retention and operator comfort, even at higher travel speeds, according to Cat.

C-Series loaders can be outfitted with an enclosed cab—a sealed and pressurized unit that Cat describes as an "industry first” for this size of loader. Ventilation air for the enclosed cab is filtered to keep dust out and clean air in, and high-efficiency air conditioning and heating are also available.

Cabs feature a large doorway and low threshold for easier entry and exit, and the tilt cylinders have been relocated to a position under the lift arms where they no longer impede access. An optional air ride seat—an industry first for compact track loaders, according to Cat—can help to prevent operator fatigue. Seat-mounted, independently adjustable joystick controls allow a wide range of positions to suit the operator and allow the operator to maintain control even over very rugged terrain.

Operators can select their preferred level of loader arm and bucket responsiveness with Cat’s optional advanced machine information and control system (AMICS); this feature can be particularly helpful for fine detail work. Operators can also select from 10 work speed settings with AMICS.

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