K-series wheel loaders answer customer needs

According to Caterpillar, the K-series wheel loaders feature improvements on previous models that are designed to boost performance and fuel efficiency, reduce emissions and improve operator safety, comfort and productivity.
Phillip Pollock, the marketing director of Caterpillar?s Global Construction and Infrastructure division for the Asia-Pacific region, said the K-series aimed to redefine standards of productivity through technology integration and operator refinement. ?Understanding our customers? needs remains our top priority,? Pollock stated, ?and while every job is different, the goal is always the same ? a quality job, delivered on time, to specifications, at or under budget.
?We feel that the K-series will help our customers meet these challenges head on. They offer outstanding value for money across a wide range of applications. The smaller machines are excellent for utility applications and can perform a number of different tasks on any worksite.
?The larger 966K and 980K machines are the perfect ?work horse? for sites such as quarries or those with construction or industrial applications that require the lowest cost per tonne. Ultimately, the K-series is a smart decision for any business. They?re designed to be durable for consistent hard work but also to ensure owning and operating costs are kept as low as possible.?
Richard Mars, Caterpillar?s product application specialist, said it was the versatility of the K-series range that would deliver customers a competitive advantage.
?All models are designed to offer high productivity and excellent fuel efficiency, with engines certified to meet Tier 4 Interim US emissions standards,? Mars explained.
?They all feature a new operator station, improved electro-hydraulic steering with joystick (available on larger models only) or steering wheel control, Cat Performance Series Buckets and a more efficient drive train.?
Mars said the Performance Series Buckets came standard on the K-series range and ?have been developed especially for production loading, delivering faster fill times and better material retention, reducing cycle time and improving productivity and fuel efficiency?.
Other work tools include specialty buckets, pallet forks, mill yard and logging forks, materials handling arms, rakes and ploughs are also available to expand the machine?s applications, with the new Cat Fusion quick coupler as the interface.
Operator comfort is always a major factor in efficiency, and this is crucial to Caterpillar?s aim to improve products. ?It?s important for an operator to feel as good at the end of a shift as he or she did at the start,? Mars said. ?With that in mind, a priority for all K-series machines was to provide an improved level of operator comfort and productivity with a newly redesigned cab.?
New steps with a greater inclination angle provide easy access to the cab and a wider door opening, well-placed grab bars and a new front-hinged door that can be opened and closed while seated allow for easy entry and exit. Left and right sliding windows can be opened and closed with one hand while seated, making it easier to communicate with people on the ground.
A streamlined four-post ROPS design and a new operator position that has been moved slightly forward enhance visibility to the front and sides, providing 315 degrees of unimpeded vision, while a standard rear-view camera with large colour monitor enhances visibility to the back of the machines.
Further to the new cab design and Performance Series Buckets, Mars said the 980K offered a new engine, load-sensing hydraulics and optional lock-up torque converter.
?The larger models are equipped with the new low effort electro-hydraulic joystick steering system,? Mars explained. ?An added safety feature is that the joystick won?t activate until the operator is seated and the joystick armrest is locked into position.?
Joystick steering permits operators to work in the most ergonomically neutral position with both arms resting comfortably on wide, well-padded, adjustable armrests. A high-backed seat with lumbar support further enhances ergonomics. The joystick steering system has an exclusive force-feedback feature that automatically increases joystick effort as ground speed increases. This improves steering control and comfort, especially at higher speeds. As the joystick moves side to side, its angle mirrors the machine?s articulation angle. An optional electro-hydraulic steering wheel system is also available.
{{image3-a:l-w:200}}The 980K is powered by a new Cat C13 ACERT engine. It meets Tier 4 Interim US emissions standards, with a suite of technologies that includes an upgraded ADEM 4 control module and an enhanced mechanical electronic unit injector (MEUI-C) fuel system. The durable Cat Clean Emissions Module is securely mounted on its own platform above the engine and contains a diesel oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter and Cat Automated Regeneration System.
A new load-sensing hydraulic system automatically directs the right amount of flow to the implements based on operating conditions. Fuel consumption is reduced because the hydraulic pumps only produce required flow. Heat generation is also reduced, which decreases cooling requirements and average fan speed, resulting in additional fuel savings.
The 980K features a new drive train that has been optimised with the C13 ACERT engine to deliver efficient digging power, acceleration, performance and fuel efficiency. The loader can be equipped with a new optional lock-up clutch torque converter, which can boost productivity in load and carry applications and on ramps. It is automatically activated in second through fourth gear and when locked operates like a direct-drive system. This improves performance and reduces fuel consumption in applications with many load and carry and ramp duty cycles.
Mars said the 966K and the 972K share with the 980K the low effort electro-hydraulic joystick steering system. ?Joystick steering permits operators to work in the most ergonomically neutral position with both arms resting comfortably on wide, well-padded, adjustable armrests,? he explained. ?These machines also offer the same safety features as the 980K joystick control.?
The 966K and the 972K are both powered by new Cat C9.3 ACERT engines that are also designed to optimise power density and are certified to meet Tier 4 Interim US emissions standards. Like the 980K, they also feature the Cat Clean Emissions Module on the platform above the engine and a diesel oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter and Cat Automatic Regeneration System.
The drive train components on both machines have been designed as a system and are integrated to optimise productivity and fuel efficiency. The integrated drive train includes a new torque converter that increases rim-pull by up to 10 per cent, especially on grades. Both machines can be equipped with a Cat Fusion coupler and a variety of work tools, making them ideal for construction, aggregates, forestry, industrial and other material-handling applications.
{{image4-a:r-w:200}}In addition to the K-series operator station, the smaller 950K and 962K loaders feature optimised Z-bar linkage, which is designed to deliver enhanced visibility, increased tilt capacity and parallel lift capability via a switch in the cab. Development of the new Z-bar linkage was done in conjunction with the Performance Series Buckets family of work tools to ensure that all components function together to improve visibility, performance and fuel efficiency.
Visibility has been optimised by placing line routings and structural components out of the operator?s sight lines. New parallel lift capabilities and an increase of between 30 and 60 per cent in tilt force at maximum lift enhance performance and versatility.
To further enhance versatility, both machines can be equipped with the Cat Fusion coupler, a common interface for Cat small and medium wheel loaders. The coupler not only allows one machine to use a wide range of work tools, but also permits one work tool to be used by machines of different sizes. The 950K and 962K machines are fitted with the Cat C7.1 ACERT engine, which, like all other K-series models, complies with Tier 4 Interim US emissions standards.
The 950K and 962K drive train has been optimised with the new engine to improve digging power, acceleration and performance. Both models are equipped with new torque converters that have been matched with the engine power curve to save fuel while delivering power increases. The loaders have new transmission shift logic for downshifting into first gear, offering a smoother ride.
The K-series wheel loaders are available through Caterpillar?s extensive dealer network throughout Australia. Mars said it was important for customers to get the specifications right, ?given the versatility of K-series machines, such as bucket shape and construction and tyre type, to obtain the best fuel efficiency and utmost productivity from their machines?.
?Operators are encouraged to undertake a modelling exercise through their Cat dealership to ensure they are getting the best possible result for their business and taking advantage of everything K-series has to offer,? Mars added. ?
Source: Caterpillar of Australia

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