Load & Haul

Economical loader with pass match efficiency

The 980K 12T yard loader is a purpose-built solution for sales stockpile management and road transport loading applications.

{{image2-a:r-w:300}}“The 980K 12T eliminates unnecessary, partially full passes when loading on-highway trucks, which helps contribute to lowering fuel consumption and operating costs,” Hagedorn said. “That means a site’s production potential is enhanced as a result of the optimal pass matching and larger payload the 980K 12T offers.”

The loader is equipped with a lock-up clutch torque convertor that contributes up to 30 per cent fuel efficiency gains in stockpiling operations, making it an extremely versatile solution for the industry compared with an equivalent loader without this feature.

Pass match efficiency is also unrivalled, with the 12.5-tonne payload delivered via a general purpose Cat performance series bucket in either 6.4m3 or 7m3.

“That allows most truck and trailer combinations to be loaded in just two to three full passes,” Hagedorn said.

The two bucket sizes match common material densities found in the quarry and aggregate sector, ranging from 1800kg/m3 to 1650 kg/m3 respectively.

“We recommend the 6.4m3 bucket for sites predominantly handling roadbase material, while the larger 7m3 bucket is suited to sites primarily handling screened aggregates often destined for concrete, asphalt or road sealing applications,”

Hagedorn said. “Users will note that Cat performance series buckets load quickly and are capable of routinely delivering 110 per cent fill factors. This means the ISO-rated bucket volume of 6.4m3 may result in an effective loaded volume of 7m3 and the 7m3 bucket may deliver a filled 7.7m3.”

Hagedorn says the data is confirmed by the Cat integrated Payload Control System, which matches the accuracy of aftermarket systems, but also displays bucket and truck payloads on the main display, helping to reduce cabin clutter.

“Both bucket/material density combinations result in consistent 12.5-tonne payloads,” he said.

Bolt-on cutting edges typical for sales loader applications are available.

“Under typical conditions, operators will also notice reduced dig times and improved material retention – both of which can add to productivity gains and fuel efficiency improvements,” Hagedorn said. “We commonly hear operators say that performance series buckets load themselves.”


{{image3-a:r-w:300}}Hagedorn says the machine’s stability complements the bucket performance.

“A larger 2500kg counterweight delivers a stability ratio that is aligned with the higher payload carrying capacity of the 980K 12T, and this helps ensure the operator’s comfort and safety throughout the shift.

“The 980K 12T is factory-equipped with wider 875/65 tyres fitted to 29-inch, five-piece rims, to improve machine stability and eliminate tyre slippage.”

Ride control also adds to a noticeably smoother ride over rougher haul roads at higher speed than previous models.

“Accumulators dampen the linkage motion like a shock absorber, all of which can add to cycle time improvements, higher productivity and improved fuel efficiency in load and carry applications,” Hagedorn said.

“Loading on-highway trucks requires fine control to restrict overloading, and the 980K YL front linkage now features heavier duty loader arms and larger tilt cylinders for more precise control in metering material in the final pass of a truck loading or hopper filling application.

“Load sensing hydraulics deliver flow and pressure on demand and in amounts necessary for the work function, adding to improved controllability in these types of simultaneous, repeated operations.

“The improved hydraulic system on the 980K further reduces dig times. It has one of the highest fuel burn rates in a wheel loader cycle, ultimately resulting in lower fuel consumption.”

The low emission Cat C13 engine meets Tier 4 Interim/Stage IIIB emission standards. Turbocharged and after-cooled, the ACERT technology engine is optimised for quarry and aggregate industry performance.

The 980K features a rugged clean emissions module to house the diesel oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter (DPF) and Cat regeneration system.

Active regeneration of the DPF occurs automatically to remove soot, meaning there is no impact on the operator’s work cycle or production of the machine. An on-demand, electronically controlled cooling fan fitted as standard reduces engine power draw and improves fuel economy.

In addition to combining power and production capability to match site needs, Hagedorn says the 980K 12T also offers fuel economy.

“Based on Product Link data from around the world – wherever the 980K 12T yard loader has been in operation – the average fuel consumption falls under 24 litres per hour,” he said. “That’s a great result for a machine capable of moving payloads of 12.5 tonnes per day.”

Adding to the durable linkage arms and tilt cylinder design, and accounting for the increased operating weight, is a heavy-duty planetary powershift transmission fitted with a 432mm drive for enhanced machine life. 

A factory-fitted auto-lube system is also standard on all Cat K-series models, including the 980K 12T yard loader, which reduces daily machine pre-start times and helps improve component and machine reliability.


While there are a range of potential productivity gains available for quarry and aggregate businesses as a result of the technology and specification enhancements, the operator is not forgotten.

“The 980K is standard with an electro-hydraulic joystick steering system that is easy to learn, results in less fatigue and is intuitive to use at any travel speed,” Hagedorn said.

“The system uses a speed sensitive joystick control that automatically adjusts the effort required based on the loader’s ground speed.”

Additionally, the joystick angle in the cabin always matches the machine articulation angle, making it intuitive for precision movement and control.

Hagedorn says other features also enhance the cabin and operator’s experience.

“The cabin is fitted with four-post ROPS and convex glass, which, combined with a new seat position, allows clear rear, side and front views. Additionally, rear visibility is complemented by a standard seven-inch colour display linked to a reversing camera.

“The pressurised, sound-suppressed cabin rides on viscous mount points to reduce vibration levels and is fitted with a Cat Comfort air suspension seat with seat-mounted controls, to reduce fatigue.

“Other features include auto-climate control, an electro-hydraulic park brake and post-mounted sealed membrane-style switch panels – including a convenient question mark button to explain each feature and how it is set – on the main display.

“After machine demonstrations in Australia and New Zealand, owners and operators have commented that this loader practically sells itself.

“It has a great combination of power and performance ideally suited to the quarrying and extractive industries.

“One operator at a customer demonstration asked if ‘Caterpillar put the wrong sticker on the side, because it has so much tractive effort and pushing power’ – like a D8!”

Source: Caterpillar Australia

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