Caterpillar loads new features into its B-Series

  • 13-Aug-2010 04:49 EDT
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The redesign of Caterpillar's 257B3 multiterrain loader including adding more power, allowing the small-frame machine to perform like a larger machine in confined spaces.

Caterpillar says its new B-Series 3 skid-steer and multiterrain loaders—SSL models 216B3, 226B3, 236B3, 242B3, 252B3 and MTL models 247B3 and 257B3—incorporate design refinements for more capability and reliability, while being safer and easier to operate. Adding to the improvements, Cat also now offers a larger engine and more powerful hydraulics for the 242B3 and 257B3.

Specific design refinements for all B-Series 3 models include what Cat describes as a redesigned "dead-engine lower valve;" a single electronic control module (ECM), which is relocated for improved access and reliability; and new ECM-enabled features. A heavy-duty battery (880 CCA) is now standard equipment on larger models, while a headliner is now optional.

The dead-engine lower valve promotes safe operation by providing an easier-to-use, more-positive means of lowering the lift arms—allowing safe exit for the operator—if the machine should run out of fuel or the engine stall with the lift arms raised. The long cable and pull-type knob used to activate this system on B-Series 2 models has been replaced in B-Series 3 models with a low-effort, low-maintenance lever-action handle that acts directly on the hydraulic relief valve.

The new single ECM, relocated to the back of the cab (from the lower frame on the B-Series 2 models), provides easier access to fuses, relays, and the Cat Electronic Technician port. Relocating the ECM simplified wiring and reduced the number of connections.

New features enabled by the ECM include automatic glow-plug activation, expanded diagnostic capability, and use of an optional on-demand cooling fan that spins the fan only as fast as required by the machine for improved fuel-efficiency, reduced sound levels, and faster warm-up. For the model 226B3, the new ECM also allows automatic activation of the optional high-flow auxiliary-hydraulic system when a high-flow work tool is connected.

Redesigning the 242B3 SSL and 257B3 MTL involved adding substantial power—both engine and hydraulic—to allow both small-frame machines to perform as larger machines in confined spaces. Installing the Cat C3.4 DIT diesel engine, rated at 71 net hp (53 kW), gives the two models a 25% increase in net power, compared to their B-Series 2 counterparts, and a 28% boost in peak torque. The C3.4 DIT also runs at a lower, more fuel-efficient speed, 2500 rpm, which is 500 rpm less than the B-Series 2 engine.

Complementing the more powerful engine in the 242B3 and 257B3 is what Cat describes as "a more capable hydraulic system," having a 6.4-gal/min (24.2 L/min) increase in standard flow, from 15.6 to 22 gal/min (59 to 83.3 L/min). Calculated hydraulic power available to do work is up by nearly 40% for both new models. This increase significantly improves the capability and efficiency of the machines when handling standard-flow work tools, such as brush cutters, power box rakes, and trenchers.

In addition, larger lift and tilt cylinders give these two new models a substantial gain in boom and bucket breakout force, from 13 to 19%, depending on model and circuit. Increased breakout forces provide enhanced performance in all basic functions—loading, lifting, and digging.

Rated operating capacity also has been increased for the 242B3 and 257B3. The 242B3 is rated at 2150 lb (975 kg) at 50% of tipping load, or at 2200 lb (1000 kg) when using an optional counterweight. The 257B3, when rated at 50% tipping load, has an operating capacity of 2675 lb (1213 kg), which increases to 2725 lb (1236 kg) with an optional counterweight. Standard rated operating capacity for the 257B3 is 1870 lb (848 kg) at 35% of tipping load.

The 242B3 and 257B3 also feature an engine-mounted air-conditioner compressor, which eliminates the hydraulic motor and plumbing required to drive the compressor on their B-Series 2 counterparts. The new configuration is a simpler design that uses fewer parts, reduces the number of hydraulic connections, and lowers sound levels in the cab.

A new optional two-speed travel system gives the 242B3 top speeds of 7.1 and 10.6 mph (11.4 and 17.0 km/h) with 10 x 16.5 tires, and 7.7 and 11.4 mph (12.4 and 18.4 km/h) with larger 12 x 16.5 tires. Top speeds for the two-speed-equipped 257B3 are 6.9 and 10.0 mph (11.1 and 16.1 km/h).

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