Loads of choice from leading brand
Having equipment to handle materials efficiently is key to the smooth running of most farms. David Williams spent a day with Caterpillar, finding out about its latest agricultural wheeled loaders. The Cat loading shovel range has a great reputation although early agricultural users had to select from standard industrial models designed primarily for industrial use and construction sites. Agricultural demand is growing and the range has increased to nine models in three size ranges armed with features for farm use. “The seating position in a wheeled loader is a big advantage over skidsteers,” explained Caterpillar Wheel Loaders product specialist Jas Kundra. “They offer much better visibility, an advantage for confined working areas but our range starts with the 906 which is under 2.5m high and able to work in most traditional farm buildings. “Our philosophy is Task, Tool, Machine so we believe in designing the best machine for the likely application. Skilled labour shortage means simple control systems are essential, enabling users to safely and efficiently operate machines with little training.” Four application-based packages are available. ‘Basic’ is entry-level with no frills. ‘Road’ includes transmission and ride quality features while ‘Load’ includes settings to optimise handling performance. Top specification is ‘Road and Load’ with the full feature line-up included. An exclusive characteristic of Cat loaders is that transmission, loading and steering systems are always separate with independent pumps, coupled together and direct-driven from the engine. “There is no compromise in performance, whatever the operation,” explained Jas. “Most loaders share oil systems which means when the steering is activated the loader movement slows down or power is taken from the wheels, but our loaders have full hydraulic flow available for all
functions at all times. Safety is a priority and our loaders are designed so that if they can lift the load then they are safe to handle and tip it, even at maximum steering angle.”
Preferred option “In North America we have seen a big move to articulated loaders from skidsteers and the main reason has been better visibility, more ground clearance and faster and easier operation,” said Jas. “The Cat range offers the best user interface of any loader, with customisable control of functions including stop-to-shift allowing the operator to choose between maximum speed or maximum wheel torque. “Wheel torque or Rimpull control saves tyre wear by regulating the torque available at the wheels. There are four steps and the user can match the power to the grip to prevent wheelspin in situations such as pushing into a heap.” Throttle Lock logic allows constant engine speed to be set while the foot pedal or joystick controls travel speed. This is ideal for tasks such as operating a powered sweeper where constant hydraulic flow is needed. Ride control is selectable and provides boom cushioning for transport above pre-set speeds. Hydrostatic drive engagement can be adjusted for smooth or harsher take-up. All Cat wheeled loaders have optimised Z-Bar loader linkage which provides powerful lifting and breakout force, and maintains parallel tool operation throughout the height cycle. It also allows good forward visibility from ground level to maximum height, aided by hoses in line with the loader frame to prevent interference with the view. Hoses are mounted individually
p The 908M is the flagship of the small 900M-series. u Design features are shared with the Cat’s industrial range including a simple articulation pivot point and well protected hydraulic hoses, mounted singly or in pairs rather than large bundles. Cab steps are wide and offer superb grip for muddy boots and the lowest step is rubber mounted allowing it to deflect on contact with the ground.
or in small groups, rather than large clusters, to prevent dirt and dust build up.
For smaller farms The entry-level 906M is a cost-effective option for simple yard work and materials handling. The 907M has the same engine but carries more, has a slightly higher cab and extra fuel capacity. The 908M cab is higher still, and it carries a 14 per cent higher payload. Rapid cycle times are available from higher hydraulic oil flow and digging force is increased significantly making the 908M ideal for more demanding applications working longer hours away from the yard. Eco operating mode reduces the high idle speed while maintaining full wheel torque and breakout force capability to save fuel and operating noise. A diesel particulate filter ensures emissions meet regulations compliance. The Hystat transmission can be set for maximum speed or maximum continued over...
The 908M Cab is superb.
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