New Equipment, Training Program Showcased in Arizona Desert

Article December 28, 2000
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Among the wind swept hills south of Tucson, Ariz.,
Caterpillar introduced its latest in new construction equipment.
The unveiling of two improved hydraulic excavators, and new M
and R series track-type tractors took place at the company's
Tinaja Hills training facility.

The 320B L and the 322B L
hydraulic excavators are designed to replace the 320 and the
322. The new models retain the design concepts of those they
replace; however, improvements were made in the areas of
operator comfort, maintenance and serviceability,
controllability, and productivity. The new designs also help the
machines meet environmental requirements.

Operator comfort
has been enhanced through a cab designed to lower sound levels,
while providing 21% more visibility then previous models. Other
cab features include automatic climate control, which enables a
constant interior temperature setting; adjustable seat and
consoles, which can be positioned together or independently of
one another; and a joystick crank that allows the stick to be
moved either up or down.

Maintenance was improved through
improved filter locations and diagnostic capabilities to aid
dealer service technicians in finding and correcting any
problems.

The M series track-type tractors consist of two
models, the D5M and the D6M, which replaces the D4H and the D5H.
The R series models, D6R and D7R replace models D6H and D7H.

The M and R series were designed to meet or surpass worldwide
emissions and sound regulations. This was accomplished by using
engines with direct unit fuel injection systems. The M models
use a six-cylinder, turbocharged Caterpillar 3116 diesel engine,
with 110 hp at 2,100 rpm. The R series is powered by a
Caterpillar 3306 diesel engine, which delivers 165 to 185 hp at
1,900 rpm on the D6R, and 230 to 240 hp at 2,100 rpm on the D7R.

Additional features of the M series include electronic power
train control, optional electronic monitoring and display system
to aid in maintenance and operation, larger fuel tank for longer
hours of operation, and variable pitch power angle tilt blades
to improve performance and increase versatility.

The R
series features also include a new cooling system, and
electronic power train and fingertip control, which allows
simultaneous one-hand steering and transmission control.

Training programs

Besides the new equipment the company also
discussed its training program for experienced operators. About
one and a half years ago Caterpillar found there was a need to
increase operator safety and training.

To solve this problem
the company set up Caterpillar Equipment Training programs.

Bill Miller, training administrator, explains, "This intense,
structured program was designed in conjunction with the
University of Illinois and uses a combination of classroom and
hands-on instruction. Student-to-faculty ratios are a maximum of
4 to 1. All instructors follow a consistent format which ensures
the ability to certify the students. Each student must score
100% against program standards. A record of completion is kept
on each participant and a registered belt buckle is awarded to
each graduating operator."

The training schedule for this
year will offer classes on track-type tractors, off-highway
trucks and large wheel loaders. There will also be a second
series on motor graders, hydraulic excavators and backhoe
loaders.

Cat prefers a five-day training program in two
complementary equipment families but two-and-a-half-day training
programs in one equipment type also is available.

Because
one of the goals of the program is to take an experienced
operator to a higher skill level, only operators with five years
of experience with their equipment type are accepted for
training. Tune-up training that does not involve the pursuit of
a certification also is available.

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