Automatic Traction Control for Cat B-Series Trucks

By Walt Moore, Editor | April 4, 2011

Caterpillar’s new B-Series articulated trucks include the 735B (36-ton payload), 740B (43.5-ton payload) and 740B EJ Ejector Body (42-ton payload). Body capacities (heaped) are 25.8, 31.4 and 30.2 cubic yards, respectively. The new Cat trucks use engines that are Tier 4-Interim certified and feature both a new traction-control system and a redesigned transmission. Coupled with the new drive-train technology is a redesigned operator’s station that is engineered, says Caterpillar, to reduce driver effort and fatigue.

All three new models use the 15.2-liter Cat C15 ACERT engine with respective gross-horsepower ratings of 452, 489 and 489. Along with Caterpillar’s proprietary ACERT technology for electronically managing intake-air and fuel-injection systems, the C15 incorporates the Cat NOx Reduction System and Cat Clean Emissions Module (CEM), which includes a diesel particulate filter. An “on-the-go” regeneration system (for cleaning accumulated soot from the filter), says Caterpillar, allows regeneration to take place without operator intervention and without interruption of the work cycle.

Optimized drive train

The six-wheel-drive system in the new trucks splits engine power 40 percent to the front and 60 percent to the rear, and the new automatic traction-control (ATC) system ensures fully proportional torque distribution to all wheels. The ATC system also eliminates the need for the driver to manually engage  the truck’s inter-axle or cross-axle differential locks as ground conditions change.

With the new proportional ATC system, the truck automatically and constantly varies the required engagement of both the inter-axle and cross-axle differential locks as underfoot conditions vary. The system frees operators to concentrate on driving the truck, says Caterpillar, by automatically adjusting the drive system to maintain optimum traction in all operating situations. The ATC system also works in concert with the truck’s hydraulic steering system to maintain tight-turning capability.

The net results of the new ATC system, says Caterpillar, are reduced cycle times, improved productivity, less potential for drive-system abuse, and, consequently, reduced component wear and lower operating cost.

 The new articulated-truck models also incorporate significant transmission improvements, resulting in increased torque output, as well as smoother shifts that maintain torque through each gear change. The benefits, says Caterpillar, are improved acceleration, especially on grades, and automotive-like shift quality.

Enhanced operator environment

 In the cab, a redesigned instrument cluster and color monitor give the operator immediate information, including after-treatment-regeneration status, fuel level, auto-lube status, load count and component temperatures. The monitor also incorporates a live feed from the standard rear-view camera, which is automatically activated when reverse gear is selected.

The revised cab interior has a new headliner with switches for electric mirrors, regeneration operation and a heavy duty CD/radio. The driver’s seat is new, featuring added adjustment capability, and a heated seat is available. New grab handles for the driver and passenger are intended to improve stability when traveling over rough or sloping terrain.

The heating and air-conditioning system has been redesigned for greater efficiency, and the engine-hood raise switch is now positioned in the cab for ease of access and increased security. Other detailed improvements include a new external grab rail, repositioned ground-level fuel filler, and new marker and turn-signal lights. High-intensity, high-level work lights are available. All B-Series models are produced at Caterpillar’s production facility in Peterlee, UK.