New Product

Caterpillar has added a new dimension to its Ultra High Demolition (UHD) excavator business by leveraging the expertise of Jewell Attachments LLC, which will design and manufacture a new range of UHD excavators, branded APEX, to be sold exclusively through North American Cat dealers. Jewell, in business since 1985, has extensive manufacturing facilities and a reputation for building high-quality machines with vertical-reach capabilities from 75 to 182 feet.

The Caterpillar OEM Solutions Group selected Jewel Attachments LLC from a number of potential partners, based on proven capability and dealer/customer acceptance. Jewell is the market leader for high-reach excavator conversions in North America, and the company's products embody an industry-leading design that incorporates features most requested by users surveyed in Caterpillar's Voice of the Customer research. The alliance with Jewell provides demolition customers with a range of machines that meets environmental and safety standards and flexible machine configurations.

The new UHD models— APEX 50, APEX 70 and APEX 100—will use a Caterpillar manufactured carrier (upper structure, lower structure and undercarriage) combined with Jewell UHD fronts, cab-guarding package and Demolition Control System (DCS). The APEX 70 is now available, to be followed by the APEX 100 and APEX 50 in the first and third quarters of 2012, respectively. Caterpillar will continue to offer the demolition customer all other product families available in the current Cat product range through its existing dealer network.

Innovative, heavy-duty design

The upper-frame design for the new UHD machines incorporates a 30-degree tilting cab and uses heavy reinforcing plates at critical stress points. The heavy-duty boom structures, using high-strength-steel plates that are plasma cut with 30-degree bevels for weld fill, are fabricated "in position," then line-bored for perfect fit.

High-carbon, hardened steel pins and bushing are used throughout the front structure, and plumbing is a combination of DOM (Drawn Over Mandrel) seamless tubing and high-pressure (5,000-6,000-psi) hoses. Boom structures provide positive protection for hydraulic cylinders, and an available dust-suppression system features dual adjustable nozzles, hydraulic pump and plumbing that conforms to standard fire-fighting components.

The full FOPS (Falling Objects Protective Structure), which is mechanically secured to the hydraulically tilting cab platform, uses thick-wall tubing and vertical bars to wrap the top, front and rear of the cab enclosure, but the protective structures are designed to allow unimpaired visibility. Glass in the cab is made of tempered inner and outer panels that are heat-vulcanized over a multi-layer polycarbonate core. Cab features include a programmable touch-screen-computer interface that allows pre-setting work parameters, an automatic climate-control system and an available attachment-observation system featuring two high-resolution cameras.

Safety, structures, transport

Machine working range is limited by the DCS computer to maintain a safe operating envelope. The DCS boom-monitoring system constantly determines boom position and keeps boom travel within safe parameters when raising, lowering or using work tools. If the boom approaches pre-established boundaries, the operator is advised via an audible warning system, and if operation continues, the system allows only boom movement that will restore the safety margin. In addition, the DCS modulates hydraulic-function speed to mitigate dynamic forces, thus contributing to a stable working platform.

The new APEX models also are equipped with pilot-assisted load-lock valves for the boom-hoist, mid-stick and working-stick cylinders, and the machines use locking anti-burst valves with a pilot-assist cartridge. These safety features are used in conjunction with a remote pilot source to provide failure protection, load control and load-holding capability.

Front structures for the APEX 70 include the three-piece 84-foot (maximum vertical pin height) boom with a maximum tool-weight capacity of 9,600 pounds; the three-piece 98-foot (maximum vertical pin height boom) with a maximum tool-weight capacity of 6,700 pounds; a straight main boom; and custom booms as customer requirements dictate. In addition, boom extensions and multiple working sticks are available.

To facilitate transport, boom configurations are designed to be within transport-height regulations when fully crowded. Also available are custom boom trailers that allow correct pin height for "walk-up" connection at the transport joint. Also, cradles can be customized to accept extensions and additional sticks.

Among the work tools available for the new APEX UHD models are multi-processors, rotating shears and hydraulic breakers—all available in a range of sizes and configurations to match customer applications.