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Caterpillar unveil Next Generation 326 excavator

Cat 326

New Cat machine delivers increased efficiency and offers superior levels of digging and lifting

THE new high-performance Caterpillar 326 excavator, with its integrated, simple-to-use technologies, is said to boost operating efficiencies by up to 45% compared with previous Cat models.

Delivering high-production performance, the 26-tonne machine also provides reduced fuel and maintenance costs, and improved operator comfort with all-new cab designs.

One of the key features of the Cat Next Generation 326 excavator is its operating simplicity. From remote machine start-up using a Bluetooth key fob to unique operator ID recognition and the programming of power mode and joystick preferences, the machine is easier to operate than ever before. 

Powered by a Cat 7.1 engine that delivers 151kW (202hp), the 326 excavator consumes up to 15% less fuel than the F-Series range. The machine also features three selectable power modes and one-touch low idle automatic engine speed control to match operating parameters to the application.

Providing superior digging and lifting performance, the Cat 326 has a maximum digging depth of 6.8m, a maximum reach at ground level of 10m and a maximum loading height of 6.6m. The Next Generation excavator is said to offer a 12% improvement in swing torque, making it easier to swing especially on inclines with fully loaded buckets.

New Smart mode operation automatically matches engine and hydraulic power to digging conditions; potentially reducing fuel consumption by a further 5% without impacting machine productivity.

Further fuel savings can be made through the optional Smartboom feature, which allows the boom to lower freely without using pump flow. For enhanced safety, Advansys bucket tips can be quickly changed with a lug wrench instead of using a hammer or special tool.

A host of standard, simple-to-use Cat technologies have been built into the Next Generation 326 excavator, including: the use of Cat Grade (with 2D system), which helps operators reach desired grades quickly and accurately; Grade Assist, which automates boom, stick and bucket movements, so operators stay on grade with single-lever digging; and Bucket Assist, which automatically maintains the bucket angle in sloping, leveling, fine grading and trenching applications.

To help the operator to avoid under/overloading, the machine comes with Cat Payload which delivers precise load targets and increased loading efficiency with ‘on-the-go’ weighing and real-time bucket payload estimates. The Cat 326 also features VisionLink which allows fleet operators to remotely monitor the service health, location and productivity of the machine.

With operator comfort and safety in mind, the Next Gen excavator is equipped with advanced viscous mounts to reduce cab vibration by up to 50% over previous models, significantly reducing operator fatigue.

Operators also have a choice of Comfort, Deluxe or Premium cab packages. A tilt-up console is factory-fitted as standard in the Deluxe and Premium designs, improving cab entry and exit by 45%. All cab packages include an 8in touchscreen with intuitive navigation and high-resolution display for ease of operation.

Small cab pillars, large panoramic windows and a new, lower-profile, right-hand side fuel tank provide enhanced visibility for the operator. Furthermore, on-board safety equipment, including rear-view and right-view camera systems, come as standard on the Cat 326. To improve the operator’s sight lines in all directions, the excavator can be upgraded to optional 360-degree visibility.

Routine maintenance checks and points are easily accessed from ground level on the Cat Next Gen excavator. Improved hydraulic filter performance combined with anti-drain valves to keep the oil clean during filter replacement is said to result in a 3,000h filter replacement interval, 50% longer than previous designs.

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