Features, Load & Haul

Smart loaders, efficient operation


Bringing a host of standard technologies to the 8–9-tonne wheel loader line, the updated Cat 966 and 972 series increases operator efficiency, delivering consistently high bucket fill factors to increase productivity by up to 10 per cent. 

The machines’ design extends fluid and filter change intervals to reduce maintenance costs up to 15 per cent when compared to the previous models, the company said.

The Caterpillar designed and manufactured continuous variable transmission (CVT) of the Next Gen Cat 966 XE and 972 XE loaders improves fuel efficiencies up to 35 per cent compared to the previous powershift models. 

All models in the updated 966 and 972 loader series feature standard Cat Payload with Assist for accurate weighing of bucket payloads, so operators can load to target the first time, every time. Real-time data is fed to the operator display and allows manual tip-off function to improve final bucket adjustments and truck load accuracy.

The new Cat Autodig with Auto Set Tyres deliver consistently high bucket fill factors for the updated medium wheel loaders. 

Providing fully automating bucket loading, Autodig improves fill factors and decreases loading time. Working in conjunction with Autodig, Auto Set Tyres promotes proper loading techniques to significantly reduce tyre slip and wear. 

Similar to the 980 and 982 loaders, the updated 966 and 972 models allow customised profiles for customer-specific application, and new application profiles set multiple machine parameters with the press of a button to optimise settings for the job. 

Selectable on-screen job aids, along with streamlined new layout, facilitate loader operation and allow operators of all experience levels to be more productive. 

Greater productivity and fuel efficiency

Optional Cat technologies help to further increase productivity and operation profitability of the updated series. 

Cat Payload with Assist offers Tip Off Assist to automatically adjust the final bucket load to match hauling unit target, as well as enhanced list management, site integration and extended scale features. 

The Cat Productivity subscription provides detailed and comprehensive actionable information for the site on a smartphone, tablet or computer. The Tip Off Assist button helps operators remove the guesswork and accurately hit their targets every time.

Deep system integration of the CVT powertrain, engine, and hydraulic and cooling systems as part of the Next Gen Cat 966 XE and 972 XE design results in significantly increased performance and fuel efficiency. Without the torque converter of mechanical drive systems, the loaders independently control engine revs per minute and machine speed to provide efficient digging, fine control, and operation.

According to Caterpillar, operators will experience smooth, fast acceleration and high speeds on grade with the CVT design. Machine manoeuvring on grade is enhanced through speed-hold and anti-rollback features. 

Delivering optimal loading efficiency in the pile, advanced rimpull control helps to reduce tyre wear. Beyond saving fuel, the lower rated engine speed of the XE models reduces component wear and makes for quieter operation.

Significant maintenance savings

The 966 and 972 series design extends maintenance intervals to 1000 hours and eliminates the 500-hour service intervals, Caterpillar said.

This means the loaders spend more time
at work, while an integrated optional Autolube reduces daily maintenance and increases component service life. 

Access to hydraulic and electric service areas helps to make servicing the loaders fast and easy. 

“Without a doubt, all these design updates reduce maintenance costs up to 20 per cent for the Cat 966 and 972 models,” the company said.

Next generation comfort and safety

The new loaders feature Caterpillar’s next generation of ride control that works as a shock absorber to improve ride quality over rough terrain. 

Making for a quieter work environment, the cab includes sound suppression, seals and viscous mounts to decrease noise levels. A wide door that unlocks remotely from the ground, along with inclined steps, improves cab ingress and egress.

Shipped with a seat-mounted electrohydraulic joystick steering system as standard, the Next Gen 966 and 972 machines offer precise machine control with minimal arm movements, increased comfort, improved loading accuracy and more legroom for the operator. An HMU steering wheel is available as an option for the 966 and 972 powershift models. 

The loaders’ new dashboard and high-resolution touchscreen display are designed to provide intuitive and user-friendly control, and multiple air suspension seat options include heating or heating and ventilation to provide greater comfort.

The new range of wheel loaders is also built with safety in mind, with enhanced features such as standard monitored seat belts with an optional exterior beacon, and a cab windshield that extends from floor-to-ceiling to improve visibility.

In addition, a standard rear-vision camera and large mirrors with integrated spot mirrors provide all-around visibility. 

Cat Detect radar to alert operators to hazards and a 360° multi-view vision system are options that provide an extra level of monitoring around the loaders to advance safe operation. Similar to a car, Cat Detect technology’s audible and visual alarm sounds when the operator is reversing close to objects behind them.

Purpose-built efficiency

Available in capacities from 2.8–14m3 for the new 966 and 972 loader series, Cat Performance Series buckets balance shape against the machine’s linkage for higher fill factors and better material retention. 

Fusion Quick Coupler buckets permit rapid work tool changes without leaving the cab, so the loaders move quickly from task to task.

Visit cat.com/en_AU.html for more information. 

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