Attendees at CONEXPO/CON-AGG were treated to a number of exciting new product introductions in various equipment categories. Yet, the biggest buzz tended to center around those presented in the earthmoving sector.
Here are some of the most significant new models featured at the show. To learn more about any of these units, turn to the reader service card following page 8. And to see even more new product introductions, turn to our further show coverage starting on page 16.
John Deere exhibits new form
John Deere created quite a stir with the unveiling of its 764 High-Speed Dozer (HSD), a rubber-tracked unit that combines the speed capabilities of a grader with the flotation capabilities of a crawler dozer.
Touted as the "first new machine form in decades," the 764 HSD has the ability to perform finish grading and moderate dozing at roughly twice the speed of a similarly sized crawler.
"The finish grading speed lets operators do precise work faster," says Dan Drescher, product marketing manager for crawler dozers and crawler loaders. "That means higher production and more profits."
The unit's 24-in.-wide tracks offer 4,989 sq. in. of track on the ground for greater flotation. This enables it to travel at up to 18 mph across a jobsite without damaging pavement.
The 32,000-lb. 764 HSD is powered by a 200-hp John Deere PowerTech 6.8L Tier III-certified engine. The entire powertrain works to distribute power to the tracks for maximum push while avoiding spin. When the machine articulates, the inside and outside track speeds automatically change to improve turning. The hydrostatic transmission also adjusts to deliver the maximum power and speed to the tracks under varying load conditions.
Additional features include an articulation joint for added maneuverability, a 12-ft. six-way dozer blade, a fore-mounted operator's station and "plug-and-play" Integrated Grade Control to allow the addition of your favorite laser/GPS system.
Cat electrifies with track-type tractor
As part of its commitment to "sustainable innovation" that benefits both customers and the environment, Caterpillar introduced what it terms the "first electric drive track-type tractor using modern technology."
"From an environmental sustainability perspective, the D7E uses substantially less fuel per hour - dramatically reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emissions," says Stu Levenick, Caterpillar Group President. In addition, all major components are engineered to be rebuilt or reused in the future.
The 60,000-lb. D7E incorporates variable-speed electric motors that serve the function of a continuously variable transmission. This electric drivetrain has 60% fewer moving parts compared to previous D7 models. It also provides power for auxiliary components so that no engine belts are needed.
Power is provided by a 235-hp Cat C9 engine with ACERT Technology that meets Tier III emissions standards and is designed with Tier IVa in mind. The engine drives a generator to produce electricity to power the two AC electric drive motors, which are connected to a differential steering system.
Compared to the D7R Series II, the D7E has been shown to deliver 25% more material moved per gallon of fuel, 10% greater productivity and 10% lower lifetime operating costs. The electric drive train also makes operator training easier, since there are no gears to shift.
Additional features of the new machine include a center-post cab; a single, larger blade lift cylinder with less than half the parts of a dual-cylinder system; the SystemOne undercarriage; and optional AccuGrade grade control system.
The D7E will be commercially introduced in select markets in 2009.
Volvo highlights hybrid loader
Not to be outdone, Volvo Construction Equipment has also introduced a first - a pre-production prototype of its L220F Hybrid wheel loader. The unit is said to offer more power, better performance and a 10% reduction in fuel consumption.