Caterpillar recently announced the 2017 product updates for Cat M Series medium wheel loaders (950M, 962M, 966M, 972M, 966M XE, 972M XE, 980M, and 982M). According to the company, periodically bringing new features and product improvements to market allows machine designs to be refined more frequently, compared with conventional machine-development cycles. The 2017 product updates, says the company, include new Cat Connect Technologies, additional operator comfort and safety features, and features that help reduce operating costs.
Cat Payload Technologies are designed, says Caterpillar, to significantly increase production and job-site efficiency by ensuring haul vehicles are loaded to exact specifications. For 2017, the capabilities of the Cat Production Measurement system have been expanded to include the Advanced Productivity Application (APA), an optional, web-based tool available through company’s telematics interface, VisionLink.
With an APA subscription, says the company, customers receive a user-customizable graphical dashboard, “making it easy to quickly understand loader production output.” The virtual dashboard is available via the VisionLink portal, and the user also can wirelessly import detailed data, including fuel consumption, transactional payload information, machine application, and cycle-segmentation data into specific databases. The APA, says the company, leverages the loader’s on-board Cat Product Link Elite PLE641 cellular data radio, standard on most M Series loaders, to facilitate hourly updates without the need for additional telematics hardware.
The Cat Production Measurement (CPM) 2.0 system also incorporates numerous updates, including increased data storage (up to 3,500 payloads in on-board memory). Owners can continue to access all historical payload data off-board in the APA, says Caterpillar, and for customers using the list-management function for tracking material and truck identification, both lists have expanded memory capability—up to 250 entries each, and operators can add or delete entries “on the fly.”
A new deluxe seat option includes leather headrests and inserts, dual-level heated and ventilated seat bottoms, and back cushions with lumbar support. An optional breathable, removable, washable seat cover is now available through Caterpillar dealers.
For added safety, says Caterpillar, the MSHA-approved tie-off point for use when cleaning the front window is complemented by cab-mounted rear safety lighting and optional egress lighting, which features a dedicated LED light focused on the cab-access ladder.
The 966M XE and 972M XE, which, according to Caterpillar, deliver a fuel-consumption advantage of up to 25 to 35 percent (compared with a conventional power-shift machine), have a new XE Economy Mode 2.0 feature designed to enhance fuel efficiency by an average 6 percent, depending on the application.
Reduced fuel consumption is achieved, says the company, via a power-management strategy that reduces maximum engine speed to 1200- to 1400-rpm thresholds, based on performance needs. An updated Autoshift system for the 950M and 962M uses new logic to improve performance and fuel efficiency, says the company, by allowing earlier up-shifts during truck loading.