From a visual perspective, the new Cat D-Series skid steer line-up is distinctive, featuring a larger, robust frame design and square back that underlines its purpose as a versatile multitask unit, which, when equipped with an extensive range of work tool options, provides a broad spectrum of applications across all industries.
There are four models in the D-Series range, comprising the Cat 236D, Cat 242D, Cat 246D, and Cat 262D. The first models launched into the local market by southern African Cat dealer, Barloworld Equipment, are the Cat 236D and Cat 246D models. All D-Series units come standard with an open cab configuration, with the option of fitting a sealed and pressurised air-conditioned cab.
Especially beneficial when working in high dust environments, Caterpillar’s ‘Cab One’ design is unique since this is truly a one-piece module. Operating weights and rated operating capacities on the Cat 236D, Cat 242D, Cat 246D and Cat 262D are 2,975kg / 818kg, 3,166kg / 975kg, 3,368kg / 975kg and 3,634kg / 1,225kg respectively. Cat 242D and 262D skid steers feature a vertical lift design, which provides extended reach and lift height for materials handling or quick and easy truck loading. High Flow (236D/242D) and High Flow XPS (246D/262D) hydraulic systems are available for applications that demand maximum work tool performance, with all units driven by a Cat C3.3B DIT turbo engine delivering a gross power (SAE J1995) of 55,4kW.
Ease of maintenance is achieved thanks to ground level access to all routine service points; and a wide opening rear door for easy access to both sides of the engine. An electric priming pump with automatic air bleed for the fuel system eliminates the need to pre-fill filters, reducing the risk of contaminants. “Compared to previous generation models, a 50% reduction in pilot lever control effort provides increased operator comfort and decreases operator fatigue,” explains Barloworld Equipment product marketing manager, Desigen Naicker.
Work tools can be changed quickly and easily with the standard or optional quick coupler system. The standard quick coupler features manual engagement and disengagement of work tools using two high leverage handles, whilst the optional electric quick coupler allows the operator to quickly change tools without leaving the cab. For added piece of mind, D Series machines feature a new anti-theft security system with pass code protection (single code) as standard equipment. This system can accommodate up to 50 operator / user codes with the optional Advanced Display panel installed on the machine. This 127mm Advanced Display LCD panel enables users to make on-screen adjustments to working parameters, and preset operator preferences.
Examples include implement response adjustment, drive response adjustment, creep setting, ride control activation speed, top speed limit setting, and background colour and gauge display style (including a low light, night-time / indoor format.) For added safety and functionality, the Advanced Display can also be linked to a rear-view camera. Further performance gains are achieved on the DSeries with the new electronic dial-type throttle. When the dial is in the highidle position, the foot throttle functions as a decelerator pedal. This provides the operator with greater control, allowing quick adjustment of the travel speed during precise manoeuvres or to regulate engine speed when using hydro-mechanical work tools.
A new throttle smoothing feature monitors the accelerator pedal’s movement under the operator’s foot when travelling over rough terrain and adjusts to provide a steadier, more even travel speed. Where greater mobility is required, DSeries units can be equipped with an optional two-speed travel system. This enables faster speeds when moving between job site locations and in load and carry applications. On the Cat 236D, for example, the standard speed is around 11,2 km/h. Two Speed boosts this to 17,1 km/h. “Another major feature on the D-Series is the introduction of the optional Cat Intelligent Levelling(ILEV)system,” adds Naicker.
ILEV takes machine performance to a new standard and provides features such as electronic snubbing, which automatically cushions the descent of the lift arms, slowing the downward motion just before the arms reach their stops; return-todig, which allows the operator to preset the digging angle of the bucket and then automatically lowers the lift arms and recalls the bucket angle; and Work Tool Positioner, which allows the angle of the work tool (e.g. bucket, box rake, cold planer, forks, trencher, etc.) to be preset and then automatically recalled if the machine is repositioned, increasing productivity.