Product Report: Three smart cats

Cat is updating the D6N with a new engine, replacing the D6R Series lll with the D6T, and introducing the K Series with the D6K track-type tractor.

It runs in the family
Cat’s three medium size tractors now come with your choice of several technological options, including AccuGrade, Equipment Manager/Product Link and Machine Security System. Each tractor has a factory-installed technology platform to handle Cat’s GPS, laser and wireless communication programs. The integrated technology platform designed and built into these three tractors allows you “plug and play” any of Cat’s AccuGrade control programs.

The AccuGrade GPS control system suits construction sites with steeper contours. The GPS system collects positioning information from satellites and off-board GPS stations to calculate the position of the tractor’s blade in relation to the design plan. The system then compares the blade’s position to a three-dimensional computerized jobsite plan, providing real-time information on the in-cab display and signaling when the blade needs to be adjusted. It’s your choice whether you let the system control the blade or you manually take over the controls. Either way, you can accomplish the desired grade quickly and accurately.

For jobs that require grading a large flat area, Cat’s AccuGrade laser control system will read the machine’s blade position relative to the grade and specify cut or fill requirements. You can use a push button control to switch from manual blade control mode for rough grading to automatic blade control mode for fine grading. Caterpillar says the laser grading control program allows you to grade a large area, such as a parking lot, to within a 1/4-inch tolerance. Large GPS and laser in-cab displays can be detached and repositioned for better visibility.

The EquipmentManager/Product Link option uses a satellite monitoring system that automatically reports fuel levels and consumption, equipment location, performance, machine faults and diagnostic codes. The AccuGrade Wireless Office option lets AccuGrade Office Software communicate wirelessly with machines equipped with Cat’s AccuGrade GPS. Sending data directly to the AccuGrade Office Software eliminates the need for small data cards and provides immediate reports.

Caterpillar’s Machine Security System (MSS) deters theft and unauthorized use by managing access to your machine. MSS disables the starting system of the machine when a potential thief tries to start it using a standard Caterpillar key. The MSS key is embedded with your own unique code and can be programmed to operate any or all machines in your fleet. This system lets you can control which days or hours the equipment will start. PocketTec Software, compatible with the Palm Tungsten T3 PDA, lets you add, delete or change key settings in the field. The MSS option is integrated into the machine’s electronics and cannot be bypassed. Each machine can store up to 255 keys.

Further advances
The three new tractors each ride on Cat’s SystemOne undercarriage. The SystemOne single flange track rollers have a 40-percent increase in flange height to improve track retention. Center tread idlers also improve track guiding. The undercarriage’s secondary track straight link design does not require a master link and can be taken apart at any joint. “The SystemOne undercarriage uses rotating bushings to reduce link scalloping and eliminates the need for manual rotation,” says Derek Greving, marketing consultant for track-type tractors. Cat says the SystemOne undercarriage extends the life of the undercarriage 35 to 70 percent.

The D6N and D6T models also feature Caterpillar’s Multi Velocity Program (MVP). MVP gives you a choice of five different speed ranges in forward and five in reverse. Speed ranges can be set in 0.5 increments starting at 1.5 mph and increasing to 3.5 mph. You can also operate the machine in either the three-speed or five-speed modes.

D6T – Production dozing
The newest member of the Cat track-type tractor line is the D6T. Scheduled to begin production in Peoria, Illinois, this month, the D6T replaces the D6R Series lll.

Designed for use in heavy production, the new D6T has the Cat C9, an 8.8-liter, six-cylinder, in-line ACERT engine. The C9 uses the ADEM A4 electronic controller and features HEUI, a hydraulically actuated electronic fuel injection system. The D6T delivers between 185 and 200 horsepower, depending on the configuration, and has a two-pump hydraulic system. One pump powers the steering system; the second pump powers the independent implement operation system.

The D6T can be equipped with a drawbar to pull a compactor or chopper wheels. A new winch system and a ripper package are also available. In addition, the D6T model can handle several blades, including the Variable Pitch Power Angle and Tilt blade, which lets you hydraulically adjust the blade lift, angle and tilt simultaneously. You can also manually adjust the blade pitch for ground conditions.

D6K – Finish grading
Already in production in Grenoble, France, the D6K has a Cat C6.6 ACERT six-cylinder, inline engine that delivers 125 horsepower. The ADEM A4 Electronic Control Module (ECM) fuel injection system uses engine mounted sensors to monitor and adjust fuel requirements.

The D6K’s new hydrostatic drive system provides power and control for each track, allowing the operator to independently control the speed, direction and power of each track.

D6N – Production grading
The updated Caterpillar D6N track-type tractor now has a 150-horsepower C6.6 ACERT engine. Like its sister D6K, the D6N uses the ADEM A4 controller and a common rail fuel injection system, and is built in Grenoble.

To meet the 9.8-foot transportation width limit, the blades on the D6K and D6N will manually fold forward from the left end to between 8.5 and 10 feet. In most areas, the shorter blade does not have to be removed and the tractors can be trailered without special use permits.