Technology improves new small Cat loaders’ operation and safety
By Larry StewartMarch 14, 2023
With little change in the iron from the M Series, a range of new technologies in the new generation of Cat 926, 930 and 938 wheel loaders simplify operation, improve safety and reduce operating costs. Much of the operating improvement comes from automated features.
Caterpillar claims an exclusive with its adaptive engine-speed feature, which automatically adjusts engine speed to optimize productivity and minimize fuel burn based on operator inputs through the machine’s controls.
Systems are optimized and sized to run at a lower standard engine speed range, what Caterpillar calls a “productive and efficient” 1,200- to 1,500-RPM working range makes the loaders more fuel efficient, while larger pumps run at slower speeds for less wear and longer service life.
Custom powertrain modes
Another industry first Cat claims is four customized powertrain operating modes:
- Utility mode – For hydraulic attachments or pick-and-place work with implement power and speed, this mode delivers fine ground speed control with engine-speed throttle lock.
- Torque mode – Cat says torque mode saves up to 5% on fuel by “freewheeling” around corners and on downhills.
- Hystat mode – Provides engine braking with aggressive deceleration, acceleration and no travel until the throttle is applied.
- Ice mode – For snow-clearing applications, ice mode softens directional shifts and extends coast-out for improved control.
New auto wheel-torque control lets the machine do the work by automatically adjusting rim pull to reduce tire slippage. The new Cat small loaders also get standard front-axle differential lock with optional limited rear slip differential. On the 926 and 930 loaders, the operator can control differential lock simply on-the-go with the joystick. The new 938 loader comes standard with automatic differential lock, as well as manual control.
These new wheel loaders come with a 250-hour demo mode to test Cat Payload before subscribing. Payload provides on-the-go weighing to help operators hit targets to avoid overloading, underloading or misloading materials.
Simple in-cab kickout settings for upper, lower and tilt allow operators to match bucket position to the task, helping speed cycle times and maximize cutting-edge life. A new bucket-shake feature, controlled by a joystick button, provides precise metering of materials in batching or spreading applications and cleans the bucket.
Automotive-style amenities in the next-gen cab elevate operator comfort and improve visibility. Smaller cab pillars and more window area, heated and electric rearview mirrors and standard rearview camera combine to improve operator visibility around the machine. New options include a multi-view camera delivering a bird’s-eye view around the loader, and rear object detection with visual and audible alarms adds awareness behind the machine.
New auto temperature control with defrost button provides consistent operating comfort. Auto lighting with daytime running lights conveniently switches the machine’s lights on and off, depending on ambient light conditions. An optional beacon mounted atop the cab visually indicates when the operator isn’t inside the cab, or is in the seat but not wearing the seatbelt.
This new generation of small wheel loaders will be available with Cat Command for Loading remote-control option for the first time. The Command for Loading console allows efficient line-of-sight machine operation through a wearable console.
The Command station offers the option to position an operator in a virtual cab with familiar controls and machine displays for long-distance or other non-line-of-sight remote loader control. One operator can control multiple machines, one at a time, at different sites from a single Command station.
Efficient operation and maintenance
Small Cat loaders now come with a joystick steering option. New forced-feedback joystick steering response stiffens for safer travel at up to 25 mph, and softens for easy precision at lower speed.
With standard parallelism, optimized Z-bar linkage digs like a Z-bar but acts like a tool carrier, increasing versatility and visibility. The design provides coupler and high lift options for all new models.
Engine oil and filters and fuel-filter service intervals increase to 1,000 hours for the next gen small loaders. Over 10,000 operating hours, this saves 45% in engine oil, 67% in fuel filters, and 45% on air filters, and substantially improves loader uptime. Full return filtration keeps the hydraulic oil cleaner and improves system reliability.
CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 attendees will be the first to preview the Next Generation Cat 930 Wheel Loader March 14 to 18 in Caterpillar’s outdoor Festival Lot exhibit F9127. Target production date for these small wheel loaders is fourth-quarter 2023.