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The 903C compact wheel loader can handle a variety of jobs around the farm
<p>The 903C compact wheel loader can handle a variety of jobs around the farm.</p>

New loader, excavator launched by Caterpillar

Two new machines are launched by Caterpillar, and agriculture will be a key market for both.

Caterpillar recently took the wraps off two new pieces of equipment in Clayton, N.C. And the company says agriculture is a key market for both machines.

The 903C compact wheel loader can handle a variety of jobs, such as hauling fertilizer, hay or seed, and the loader has both buckets and forks.

 “There’s a lot of external handling work with those tools so we’ve designed the machine to have the rated operating capacity to meet the tasks that those customers need to do,” said Jeff Brown, senior project engineer, Caterpillar. “Farmers can use buckets and forks for material handling. The operating capacity of the forks on 903C is between 2,500 to 2,700 pounds, which is the standard weight of a pallet of seed, herbicide or fertilizer. The 903C has been built to handle those type of loads,” Brown said.

The 903C is also resistant to corrosion, because the components are not exposed, which can prove to be valuable for growers working in rough environments.

Increased visibility, particularly in the rear, is an important part of the design, Brown said. “The cab design enhances visibility with an expansive front windshield, large glass areas in the doors, rear window with no pillars, and minimal engine overhang,” he said. “The rear visibility is particularly important when moving fertilizer around a warehouse or barn.”

In addition to 903C compact wheel loader, Caterpillar debuted its new E2 series of five mini hydraulic excavators. Greg Worley, senior project engineer at Caterpillar, said these new excavators have a good fit for land management on the farm, pointing out that more farmers are seeing the value of adding excavators to their equipment arsenal for such tasks as digging ditches.

The new E2 series of mini hydraulic excavators have a new cab design, along with a high definition hydraulic system.

The five excavators—303.5E2, 304E2, 305E2, 305.5E2 and 308E2—will all be produced at Caterpillar’s new 850,000 square foot facility in Athens, Ga. and will also use Caterpillar’s  new high definition hydraulic system which provides a load sensing and flow sharing capability, according to Caterpillar.

Worley said the less than 3-ton model has a good fit on the farm because Caterpillar reduced the size of the engine on the new machine to less than 25 horsepower which offers improved fuel economy. “That is a huge cost saving to an entry level machine. It also offers versatility. In excavators, everything is about versatility. Operators want to know how they can get more from their machines,” he said.

All but the 308E2 model have a redesigned operator station with new interlocking front window systems, updated operator interface controls and 100 percent pilot controls. The machines also have a high suspension set and an improved ergonomic layout with easily adjustable arm rests.

“What we’ve introduced to market is actually a whole new cab and a new hydraulics system,” said Jennifer Hooper, marketing and development engineer.

Caterpillar has moved away from sliding door to a pin back design in order to offer a wider opening. “We wanted the doors to be able to close within the confines of the cab and also there’s better visibility for the operator,” Hooper said.

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