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Contractors World - International Vol 3 No 8
Caterpillar enters the field of hybrid excavator technology in which Komatsu, Liebherr and other companies are
already active with product machines. Some smaller Italian companies have even gone as far as developing battery
powered excavators.
Volvo has long hinted at its interest in hybrid technology and although they have yet to introduce a production
machine, Volvo Technology of America does have hybrid wheel loaders in landfill applications under evaluation in
California.
It has long been anticipated that Caterpillar would sooner or later show an interest in hybrid technology, if only to
stop competitors from getting too big a lead in the use of the technology for reduced fuel costs but more importantly, to
provide a solution to meet stricter environmental demands.
As Komatsu has shown, used in the right application, the higher cost of hybrid technology can result in significant
savings but is an expensive option when used inappropriately. At this time, most emphasis is placed on significant
fuel saving cost made possible, but as such machines become more readily available, it is only a matter of time before
contracts in sensitive areas where air pollution is already a problem, dictate use of such machine.
So far, hybrid technology has been applied to larger excavators, as with the latest Caterpillar announcement, but
the company is also evaluating electric-diesel hybrids in 4 tonne mini excavators. Volvo Technology of America also has
hybrid wheel loaders in landfill applications under evaluation in California.
And there is more to come? Why is Contractors World so certain? The first public showing of the latest Cat 336E
H will be at Bauma 2013 but if the company is announcing that 6 months ahead of the show, then they obviously have
something much grander planned.
Off highway dump trucks, articulated dump trucks, dozers and wheel loaders all have potential to benefit from
advanced fuel saving technology. Caterpillar is already involved in some of these other product areas.
Interestingly, Caterpillar seems to be adopting a different approach to storing energy. Where most people associate
hybrid technology with converting energy in to electricity use batteries, Caterpillar is storing the energy recovered in
hydraulic accumulators.
Commenting on this, Tana Utley, Caterpillar’s chief technology officer and vice president of the Product Development
Cat intensifies
the race in
hybrid technology