Cat targets waste handling
Leading global construction equipment manufacturer, Caterpillar, has taken a new approach to its core markets, focusing on the waste industry as one of its key areas. Recently the US giant producer of materials handling plant has been introducing its new concept and unveiling new products to UK and European customers at its Demonstration and Training Centre in Malaga. Editor Alexander Catto reports from Spain on how Cat is targeting the waste handling sector
Cat lists its major market industry groups as mining, quarrying, heavy construction, light construction, waste and agriculture, including forestry.
In Malaga the company runs a "Waste University" for the benefit of customers, where Prof Phil O'Leary, of the Solid and Hazardous Waste Education Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, sets the scene with a review of current trends in the waste industry and company experts review the company's extensive waste handling equipment product line for a market that is running at $300 million a year in Europe and growing. Features of the company's approach to customers include a Waste Fleet Analysis (WFA) where a computer program has been developed to analyse options available for varying equipment fleets. Other aspects of Cat services include Caterpillar Financial and Cat Rental, which are available via the US-based giant's worldwide dealership network, represented in the UK by Finning.
Practical demonstrations of Caterpillar equipment are presented to visitors at the company's purpose-built centre at Malaga and waste handling equipment is also put through its paces within a section of the vast landfill site which takes waste from the city of Malaga and the neighbouring major tourist resort of Torremolinos.
Currently filled with waste to a depth of 35 metres, the Malaga landfill has an estimated further 12 to 15 years of void space capacity. A move to separate waste to meet recycling targets and to feed a major composting plant on the site which is awaiting commissioning, could extend the life of the facility.
Single source supply
With its extensive inventory of equipment for the waste sector, including waste handling, recycling and landfill, ranging from wheeled loaders, skid steer loaders and excavators, through telescopic handlers and dozers to purpose designed landfill compactors, Caterpillar is keen to promote the benefits of single sourcing. The company sees this as offering both the advantages of economies of scale and cost reduction through commonality of many parts and spares.
Cat underlines that customers' requirements are built into the purpose-designed equipment aimed at the waste sector. The company invests very heavily in R&D, spending $700 million per annum.
Caterpillar's involvement in waste disposal and the environmental market also extends to gas-powered generators able to run on landfill gases. Caterpillar Power Systems and Solar Turbines have engines and turbines, together with appropriate generators, that can be easily modified to run efficiently off natural landfill waste gases or a combination of methane and landfill gases.
New models launched
At the Malaga demo Caterpillar took the wraps off two new models: the Cat® 836G Landfill Compactor and the Cat 973C Track Loader in waste material configuration.
With these introductions, Caterpillar offers a range of more than 20 machines that are used extensively in all aspects of waste material handling.
The 836G complements the Caterpillar line of landfill compactors, which includes the 816F and 826G machines. With an operating weight of 49,900 kg, a 5.19 metre wide blade and a Cat 3456 engine delivering 392 kW gross power, it is the largest and most productive model in the range. The company says it has been designed for high productivity and reliability, operator comfort and easy servicing to minimise downtime.
Suitable for the most demanding landfill applications, the Cat 836G has been built to deliver consistent and dependable performance. High ground clearance and heavy-duty steel plate protects the belly and sub-assemblies to enhance durability.
The company states that the four-wheel design of all Cat Compactors results in greater compaction with fewer passes. With the compactor's wheels tracking each other, there is the added benefit of double wheel coverage in one machine pass.
Four-wheel drive and an oscillating rear axle assure stable manoeuvering on slopes and maintain effective compacting. Optimum compaction is achieved with three to four passes.
Articulation allows the machine to turn in confined spaces, and NoSPIN differentials ensure that if one wheel should momentarily lose traction, the opposite wheel continues to drive until both have sure footing.
A 49% torque rise in the Cat 3456 engine provides a high lugging force during dozing and acceleration for faster cycling times. The impeller clutch torque converter also provides improved rimpull control and extended wheel life. The operator is able to reduce rimpull while maintaining high engine speed for slower, controlled work without loss of power. A lockup clutch gives direct drive efficiency for increased productivity and improved fuel economy on long distance dozing.
The operator cab features easy-to-use, low-effort controls and floor-mounted hydraulic blade controls which can be adjustable to the operator's preferred seating position. Optional STIC control further reduces effort, allowing the operator to work the machine for long periods with minimal fatigue.
Hinged hydraulic tank guards, engine compartment and belly guards for protection are standard and the 836G also features heavy-duty bolt protection and heavy-duty steps that could otherwise be damaged by debris.
Keeping the cooling system functioning at high capacity is a challenge in any waste environment. The steel core radiator provides superior heat transfer and is fed ambient air through a suction fan for better cooling capacity than with conventional blower fans Cat says. The entire radiator fan assembly swings out for easy cleaning and inspection.
Track loader for waste
The Cat 973C is the largest in the track loader series and tailored to suit waste material handling applications. With an operating weight of 27,000 kg, 156 kW flywheel power and 5.58 m3 bucket capacity, it has all the attributes to spread and compact waste material as well as cover material. The heavy-duty tracks help shred and crush material while the oscillating undercarriage ensures maximum ground contact for improved traction, stability and even compaction.
A bucket trash rack increases bucket capacity and extensive guarding, protection and heavy-duty components prevent damage from debris in severe waste handling and demolition conditions. Additional guarding options include heavy-duty rear bumper, idler recoil guards, tilt cylinder guards, final drive abrasion guards, hinged windshield screen, third valve line guard, high ambient powertrain oil cooler and rear striker bars.
The Cat 973C retains the automatic bucket controls that let the bucket rise to pre-set dumping heights and return to pre-set digging angles for fast cycle times. The rear engine design allows the engine to serve as a natural, "working" counterweight for stability and a good weight-to-power ratio.
To maximise uptime, the 973C offers reduced maintenance and convenient access to components as well as easy diagnostic capabilities.
The Caterpillar C-Series track loaders are designed for greater operator productivity. Low-effort, adjustable pilot controls permit precise, consistent equipment control. A Caterpillar Contour Series seat improves operator comfort and large, tinted windows all round provide excellent visibility. Efficient cab insulation reduces noise levels and prevents dust and odor penetration.
The Cat 973C is powered by a Cat 3306 diesel engine stated to be proven for its fuel efficiency, power and reliability.