The M Series medium wheel loaders (950M, 962M, 966M, 972M, 966M XE, 972M XE, 980M and 982M) have been upgraded with Cat Connect Technologies, additional safety features, and features aimed at reducing operating costs.
The new Product Link Elite (telematics) system is now offered as standard equipment and provides faster cellular and satellite connection capabilities. In addition, the standard machine is shipped from the factory ready to accept the Cat Production Measurement system. Version 1.2 of the system now indicates when the linkage is in the weighing range, says Caterpillar, allowing operators to confirm that an accurate scaled weight is being determined. The system also allows operators to manually activate the tip-off feature for those applications in which “auto” tip-off detection is not ideal.
The updated Cat Production Measurement system helps the operator to more easily navigate truck and material identification lists via the monitor, says the company. The system allows the use of multiple buckets by “zeroing” up to 66.5 percent of the original calibration weight (previously less than 15 percent). Also, the standard third-party payload interface enables third-party scale systems to be shown on the cab touch screen as well as Cat VisionLink (telematics interface).. If the system is installed with a payload printer, the printer can be mounted using pre-drilled/tapped holes on the right front ROPS tube.
The Cat Object Detection system is integrated into the standard display. This radar system increases the operator’s awareness of obstacles up to 52 feet behind the machine. The system utilizes speed-based zones and provides five proximity-warning levels, which increase in intensity and frequency as the “Stop Zone” warning area approaches.
New cab steps are designed to increase step durability and improve boot contact when entering and exiting the cab. Longer-lasting LED lights that consume less power replace the auxiliary halogen-type light option, providing four or eight LED work lights at the front and rear of the machine and two in the rear hood. A new roof-mounted seat belt indicator LED light illuminates green when the seat belt is buckled. Additional mounting provisions in the cab allow operators to customize machines and mount items such as a fire extinguisher or a radio.
Other enhancements include a newly designed right-hand window that serves as a faster emergency exit, additional storage in the base of the cab door, and repositioned grab rails. A new grab handle below the membrane switch pad allows operatrors to steady themselves while driving over rough terrain or getting in and out of the seat.
The XE models, 966M XE and 972M XE, feature a new Economy Mode that provides up to 4 percent improved fuel economy during general machine operation and up to 8 percent improved fuel economy in aggressive truck-loading applications with essentially no loss in production capability, says Caterpillar. According to the company, the XE models already offer a basic reduction in fuel consumption of up to 25 percent, compared with comparable torque-converter-equipped models. The Economy Mode, enabled and disabled via the LCD touch display, automatically lowers engine speed to 1,400 rpm when full power is not required and is transparent to the operator.
The Variable Ground-Speed Limiter, previously available for only XE models, is now available for all conventional M Series medium wheel loaders. This feature allows site managers to set machine speed limits from 9 to 25 mph with independent adjustments for forward and reverse. The settings are protected with the machine service-mode password.
An updated touch-screen display now allows operators to select information displayed on the “quad screen,” which can simultaneously display, for example, axle oil temperatures, instant fuel rate, electrical system voltage, and temperatures for fluid in the torque converter and hydraulic system.
A new engine hood is designed to allow easier routine service and features a new actuator that speeds opening to less than 35 seconds. The new impact-resistant hood is more durable, says Caterpillar, and promotes improved cooling airflow and enhanced rearward visibility. Optional impact- and corrosion-resistant, hood-mounted rear fenders are now available on all models. Also, impact- and corrosion-resistant front fenders provide increased coverage to protect the cab from wheel spray.