Cat unveils MH3040 Material Handler: New 40-tonner is faster, boasts next-gen cab, new controls

Updated Jan 11, 2021

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In 2015 Caterpillar discontinued its largest material handler, the M325D L MH. Since then customers have been asking Cat for a model to fill the gap left by that machine’s removal from the lineup. That’s where the brand new 40-metric-ton MH3040 comes in.

The MH3040 is a significant upgrade over its predecessor in more ways than one—a machine that has the potential to make you more money while costing you less to do it.

Our video on the MH3040 has all the details on this new machine. Or if you prefer text, read on after the break.

Cat didn’t necessarily start from scratch when developing the MH3040. While this machine benefits greatly from the architecture of Cat’s next-generation excavator lineup, due to how much customers loved the M325D L MH, the foundation of the new machine is pretty familiar.

The undercarriage, front structures and cab risers are all the same as those found on the M325D L MH. Cat carried these components over to the new machine because they are crucial to the basic functionality of these machines and they’ve proven themselves in terms of durability and reliability over the course of about two decades.

However, Cat also took these established components and made a few upgrades for their placement in the MH3040.

First off, Cat made some tweaks and improvements to the undercarriage because of this new machine’s added weight and its improved hydraulic power. The MH3040 weighs in at 84,940 pounds, about a 3 or 4 ton—or 9 percent—increase over the M325D L MH.

On the boom and stick, Cat made some improvements to the geometry of these front structures to make the MH3040 easier to transport. You can actually load and haul this machine without taking the stick off by folding it underneath, and while you’ll still need to remove the grapple, being able to keep the stick on when trailering will save you a lot of time.

Speaking of the front structures, Cat will offer one material handler boom on the MH3040 and two drop nose stick options. The long drop nose stick is aimed primarily at scrap applications and it will give you a reach of 50 feet, 10 inches. For mill yards and log loading applications there’s a short stick that will give you a reach of 47 feet.

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Standard on the stick, boom and cab of this machine are 1,800-lumen LED lights that provide great lighting for nighttime work. And if you need to power a magnet, Cat offers an optional 20kW generator.

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Another note on the front structures, Cat has reinforced the stick, boom and other high-stress areas of the machine with multi-plate fabrications, castings and forgings.

Apart from the boom, stick and cab risers, the rest of the upper portion of the MH3040 is built on Cat’s next-gen excavator platform.

One of the things Cat heard from material handler customers is that while they loved the power and durability of the M325D L MH, they wished it were a little more fuel efficient. So, in the MH3040, Cat has dropped in a new Tier 4 Final Cat C7.1 engine. And while the 202 horsepower it delivers is a couple fewer than what the Tier 3 C7 managed on the M325D L MH, the new engine’s aftertreatment requires no maintenance or downtime and uses up to 25 percent less fuel. The engine is also capable of running up to B20 biodiesel.

The cooling package on the MH3040 is also new with electro-hydraulic, auto-reversing fans standard. You’ll be able to manually activate these fans as well, or set them to toggle by a timer.

Thanks to the improved hydraulic system on the MH3040, swing speed is now 12 percent faster than it was on the M325D L MH. Plus, operators can toggle between two optimized hydraulic modes: if fuel consumption is your priority, you can toggle on Smart Mode which automatically matches engine and hydraulic power to your working conditions. But if you need to maximize productivity, you can switch on Power Mode to squeeze the maximum amount of power possible from the machine.


Next-gen cab

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Because this machine is largely derived from the Cat next-gen excavator platform, the cab is all new and very similar to what you’ll find on new excavators like the 395.

It’s a larger, more spacious and quieter cab that also offers increased visibility. Entry is made easier thanks to a tilt up left console. Cat has redone the layout of the controls to make sure everything is in front of you so you’re not reaching behind you for the radio or to adjust the air. There’s also an air suspension seat with headrest, that is both heated and ventilated.

With this cab design, Cat has managed to reduce the size of the pillars for larger windows. And for even more visibility, Cat includes a rearview and a right hand side camera standard.

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Those camera feeds and machine diagnostics are fed into a new 10-inch touchscreen display. This new display also lets you dial in your preferred control settings for the MH3040’s joystick-based electro-hydraulic control system. And those settings can be saved to your personal operator ID which you can quickly call up via the monitor as well.

Speaking of controls, you’ll notice that there is no steering wheel in the cab. This machine is solely controlled via the joysticks. Cat says it got rid of the steering wheel to provide more visibility, to make it easier to get into and out of the cab and to provide more legroom for operators who are spending huge chunks of time operaitng this machine.



A significant piece to the MH3040’s story is the improvements to the maintenance of this machine. Right off the top, Cat says if you’re coming from a M325D L MH, your maintenance costs could be cut by up to 20 percent.

All of the fuel filters on this machine are on a synchronized 1,000-hour interval. The new air intake filter with precleaner also has a 1,000-hour change interval, and the change interval on the new hydraulic oil filter has increased by 50 percent to every 3,000 hours. Cat has also implemented new anti-drain valves that keep the hydraulic oil clean during filter replacement.

You can track filter life and maintenance intervals through the in-cab display and for your daily checks, the MH3040 has a new right-hand-side service access point for easy refueling and engine oil checks.