Cat rolls out compact wheel loader

From the cab of Caterpillar’s new 903D, Josh Grimes, marketing and sales support manager, highlights the compact wheel loader features at the company’s demonstration facility at Edwards, Illinois.

PEORIA, Ill. — A new Caterpillar compact wheel loader with increased lifting capacity, speed and work tool capability was demonstrated at the company’s year-end press briefing.

“When we talk to our customers, what do they want to do with these products? Well, of course they want to move more material with a given size product, they want to do more with a single machine, and ultimately make more money,” said Joel Grimes, Cat Building Construction Product wheel loader marketing and sales support manager.

“The 903D is well suited to compete for business in a variety of applications – landscaping, snow removal, agriculture, general construction.”

Available with either an open or enclosed cab, the 903D operator’s station features a refined ergonomic design with a new multi-function joystick that provides fingertip control of the standard third-function hydraulic system.

Whether lifting light material into a hopper or loading heavy pallets onto a truck, the choice of standard-lift or high-lift boom arms increase the 903D’s ability to work efficiently in a wide range of applications, with buckets ranging in capacity from 0.8 to 1.3 cubic yards, forks, or a selection of powered and non-powered work tools.

“This little guy can take up 5,400 pounds. What’s a pallet of wet sod weight, what’s a pallet of seed weigh, what’s a big bag weigh? Somewhere in the 3,000 pound range which means this machine can now very comfortably move palletized material,” Grimes said.

“We’ve kept this product under 10,000 pounds in weight, but we boosted its payload by 25 percent (compared to its 903C2 predecessor). We’ve pulled its front axle forward about six inches which means the weight that’s already in the machine is more efficiently being used to move that payload.”

The 903D also features a standard auxiliary (third-function) hydraulic system that delivers a flow of up to 14 gallons per minute at pressures to 3,481 pounds per square inch, producing ample hydraulic horsepower to operate any number of hydraulic work tools such as brooms, power box rakes and grapple buckets.

Universal Coupler

To facilitate the use of an expanded range of work tools, the 903D is equipped with a standard universal coupler, with an optional electrically activated coupler available for switching attachments from the cab. Auxiliary hydraulic lines with quick connectors are standard, and continuous-flow allows powered tools to be easily controlled.

“We’ve also increased the work tool family that this product can carry. There’s a skid steer loader coupler on the front end allows for changing work tools without getting out of the cab,” Grimes said.

Work tools such as bale grabs, bale spears, brooms, buckets – skid steer loader, mulchers, silage defacers, snow plows and snow pushes can be used with the 903D.

The 903D’s power train uses a fuel-efficient, Tier 4 Final, Cat C2.4 engine, rated at 40 net horsepower; hydrostatic transmission that provides travel speeds to 12.4 mph; and Caterpillar-designed planetary-reduction axles that are available with optional differential locks.

The differential locks can be engaged “on-the-fly,” allowing the 903D to respond instantly to changing ground conditions.

Need For Speed

“We’ve boosted its ground speed by 25 percent (versus the 903C2). So, if you’re going farm to field, parking lot to parking lot or running across a job site this will go 12.4 miles per hour. But it’s a usable 12.4 miles per hour because we’ve complemented that with an option called ‘ride control’ that turns those lift cylinders into shock absorbers and it takes the bumps out of the road. So there’s no problem doing 12.4 miles per hour farm to field,” he said.

For the operator’s convenience, the 903D’s new multi-function joystick provides controls for directional changes, third-function hydraulics, differential locks and continuous hydraulic flow. The operator’s station has increased leg room, improved pedal positioning, easier entry/exit, and features a suspension seat and tilt steering wheel. Now available with optional ride control, the 903D offers a smooth ride, reducing the wear and tear on the operator, as well as reducing the amount of material loss out of the bucket when traveling.

The overall design results in minimal engine overhang, providing enhanced visibility to the rear and corners. Both enclosed cab as well as canopy options are available depending on climate and an optional heavy-duty 90-amp alternator can be used to support the climate-control system.

To facilitate routine maintenance, the 903D’s fully opening rear hood allows ready access to the engine compartment, which features side-by-side coolers and transparent fuel/water separator.

Options include an engine air pre-cleaner and radiator screen for use in high debris applications. New rear tie-down locations under the machine allow for easier transport, and a new engine oil-fill location allows for easier access.

Tom C. Doran can be reached at 815-780-7894 or Follow him on Twitter at: @AgNews_Doran.


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