Cat’s 8- to 10-ton loaders are redesigned for up to 25% lower operating costs

By Jenny LescohierNovember 11, 2021

All four models in the updated 966 and 972 loader series feature standard Cat Payload with Assist for accurate weighing of bucket payloads

Caterpillar has upgraded the four models in its 8- to 10-ton 966 and 972 Wheel Loader Series with standard technologies designed to deliver higher productivity and lower maintenance costs.

According to the company, the 966 and 972 models deliver consistently high bucket fill factors to increase productivity by up to 10%. Their next generation design extends fluid and filter change intervals to lower maintenance costs up to 20% when compared to the previous models.

The Caterpillar-designed and manufactured continuous variable transmission (CVT) of the Next Gen Cat 966 XE and 972 XE loaders improve fuel efficiencies up to 35% compared to the previous powershift models. Prolonged service intervals plus efficiencies gained through the CVT powertrain result in even lower maintenance costs of up to 25%, further reducing operating costs.

All four models in the updated 966 and 972 loader series feature standard Cat Payload* with Assist for accurate weighing of bucket payloads, so operators can load to target the first time, every time. Real-time data is fed to the operator display and allows manual tip-off function to improve final bucket adjustments and truck load accuracy.

The new Cat Autodig with Auto Set Tires delivers consistently high bucket fill factors for the updated medium wheel loaders. Fully automating bucket loading, Autodig improves fill factors and decreases loading time. Working in conjunction with Autodig, Auto Set Tires promotes proper loading techniques to significantly reduce tire slip and wear.

“The highest instantaneous fuel burn of a loader’s cycle is while it’s in that dig,” said Bryan Cherry, global product marketing consultant, Caterpillar. “So we focus those efficiency assist features right where they’re burning the most fuel so we can get in and out with less fuel, less time and more material.”

Offering the ability to set customized profiles for customer-specific applications, new Application Profiles sets multiple machine parameters with the press of one button to optimize settings for the job. Selectable on-screen Job Aids, along with a streamlined new controls layout, facilitates loader operation, allowing operators of all experience levels to be more productive.

Optional Cat technologies help to further increase productivity and operation profitability of the updated series. Cat Advanced Payload* with Assist offers Tip Off Assist to automatically adjust the final bucket load to match hauling unit target, enhanced lists management, site integration and extended scale features.

The available Cat Productivity subscription provides detailed and comprehensive actionable information for the site off-board on your smartphone, tablet or computer.

XE platform uses CVT to boost performance and fuel efficiency

Deep system integration of the CVT powertrain, engine, hydraulic and cooling systems as part of the Next Gen Cat 966 XE and 972 XE design results in significantly increased performance and fuel efficiency. Without the torque converter of mechanical drive systems, these loaders independently control engine rpm and machine speed to provide efficient digging, fine control and operation.

“The CVT - continuously variable transmission - that’s in our XE platform is basically a combined hydrostatic and mechanical split power path,” Cherry explained. “We’re able to separate engine speed from ground speed, so you get the benefits of both hydrostat and mechanical. We’re running this machine at lower engine RPMs for up to 35% better fuel efficiency when you combine it with some of the productivity gains. This transmission is basically putting money in your pocket.”

Operators will experience smooth, fast accelerations and high speeds on grade with the CVT design, Caterpillar said. Machine maneuvering on grade is enhanced through speed-hold and anti-rollback features. Delivering optimal loading efficiency in the pile, advanced rimpull control helps to reduce tire wear. Beyond saving fuel, the lower rated engine speed of the XE models reduces component wear and makes for quieter operation.

The next generation 966 and 972 series design extends maintenance intervals to 1,000 hours and eliminates the 500-hour service intervals, so the loaders spend more time at work. An integrated optional Autolube reduces daily maintenance and increases component service life, while convenient access to hydraulic and electric service centers makes servicing the loaders fast and easy.

Combined, these design updates reduce maintenance costs up to 20% for the Cat 966 and 972 models and up to 25% for 966 XE and 972 XE loaders.

Technology also plays a role in improving loader servicing. Helping to manage fleet location, hours and maintenance schedules, the Cat App provides alerts for required maintenance and assists with requesting service from the local Cat dealer. Remote Troubleshoot connects the machine to the dealer’s service department via the internet to quickly diagnose fault codes without on-machine cable connection. Additionally, Remote Flash ensures the wheel loaders are operating with the most up-to-date software without impacting the production schedule.

Available in capacities ranging from 3.75 to 18.25 yd3 for the new 966 and 972 loader series, Cat Performance Series buckets balance shape against the machine’s linkage for higher fill factors and better material retention than other designs with the same rated capacity. Fusion Quick Coupler buckets permit rapid work tool changes without leaving the cab, so the loaders move quickly from task to task.

Special, purpose-built options for the loaders include an aggregate handler configuration that offers higher payload capability for loose aggregate handling applications. Industrial and waste models feature the guarding and reinforcement required for working at transfer stations, recycling facilities, scrap yards and demolition sites.

For demanding applications like steel mills and slag handling, the loaders can be ordered in the steel mill configuration that incorporates additional levels of safety.

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