Product Report: Cat backhoes graduate to the E-series

Caterpillar’s new E-Series backhoes – the 416E, 420E and 430E – offer increased hydraulic performance, operator comfort and two new options: a factory-installed thumb and AccuGrade BHL Site Reference System.

The new flow-sharing hydraulic valves on all three machines ensure proportional flow to all implements and improve multi-function performance, such as boom, stick and swing flow when coming out of a trench.

This translates into more available hydraulic power over the models’ D-Series predecessors. The 420E has a 14-percent increase in backhoe stick breakout force and the 430E has increased lifting and breakout forces. On the loader end, pump torque limiter changes and better balance of distributed power to the drivetrain and hydraulics have improved truck loading performance.

Operator focus
There will be no confusing the E-Series backhoe with previous machines – the spacious cab and contoured fenders of the E-Series ensure that. Inside, everything from the controls to the storage cubbyholes takes on a new look.

The standard pilot operated joystick controls are easy to use and auxiliary backhoe functions such as extendible sticks are controlled with thumb rollers. “We placed the backhoe auxiliary hydraulic controls on the joysticks, eliminating the need for foot pedals,” says Kevin Hershberger, backhoe loader senior project consultant, Caterpillar. “This, in turn, created more room in the cab.”

A narrowed front dash, foot-operated tilt steering and in-cab control pattern changer on the 420E and 430E round out the changes.

Direct from the factory
Taking note of the popularity of thumbs – especially for handling materials that are hard to handle with a bucket alone – Cat took the step of making them a factory option. “Our factory-installed thumb is an industry exclusive, and all our sticks are thumb-ready,” Hershberger says. Available in both hydraulic and stiff-link versions, the thumbs are compatible with all bucket and coupler combinations.

Adding machine technology, Cat now offers a factory-installed AccuGrade BHL Site Reference System, designed to reduce surveying costs. The grade and depth check system determines the bucket position relative to on-site reference points. “It’s also a base system that provides the cornerstone for future technology,” Hershberger says.