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2020 / 2021 Edition

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New skid-steer loaders from Caterpillar

Cat’s skid-steer loaders (SSL) and multi-terrain loaders (MTL) are said to be tough, reliable machines that perform a variety of tasks competently. The new B-series 3 loaders - SSL models 216B3, 226B3, 236B3, 242B3, 252B3 and MTL models 247B3 and 257B3 - incorporate design refinements that the company say make them even more capable, more reliable, safer and easier to operate. In addition, a larger engine and more powerful hydraulics for the 242B3 and 257B3 make these models ‘power-dense’ machines that maintain a nimble size and excellent manoeuvrability.

Specific design refinements for all B-Series 3 models include a redesigned dead-engine lower valve, single electronic control module (ECM), which is relocated for improved access and reliability, plus new ECM-enabled features. A heavy-duty battery (880 CCA) is now standard equipment on larger models, and a headliner is added to the optional comfort package.

The redesigned dead-engine lower valve further promotes safe operation by providing an easier-to-use, more positive means of lowering the lift arms - allowing safe exit for the operator - if the machine should run out of fuel or the engine stall with the lift arms raised. The long cable and pull-type knob used to activate this system on B-series 2 models has been replaced in B-series 3 models with a low-effort, low-maintenance lever-action handle that acts directly on the hydraulic relief valve.

The new single ECM, relocated to the back of the cab (from the lower frame on the B-series 2 models), provides easier access to fuses, relays and the Cat electronic technician port. The new ECM and its relocation also simplify wiring and reduce the number of connections.

New features provided by the ECM include automatic glow-plug activation, expanded diagnostic capability and use of an optional on-demand cooling fan that spins the fan only as fast as required by the machine.  The optional fan improves fuel-efficiency, reduces sound levels and provides faster warm-up. For the model 226B3, the new ECM also allows automatic activation of the optional high-flow auxiliary-hydraulic system when a high-flow work tool is connected.

Expanded capability for 242B3 and 257B3

The basic redesign of the 242B3 SSL and 257B3 MTL involved adding power - both engine and hydraulic - to allow the small-frame machines to perform as larger machines in confined spaces. Installing the Cat C3.4 DIT diesel engine, rated at 53kW (71hp), gives the two models a 25 percent increase in net power, compared to their B-series 2 counterparts, and a 28 percent boost in peak torque. The C3.4 DIT also runs at a lower, more-fuel-efficient speed, 2,500 rev/min, which is 500 rev/min less than the B-series 2 engine.

Complementing the more powerful engine in the 242B3 and 257B3 is a more capable hydraulic system, having a 24.2 litre/min (6.4 gal/min) increase in standard flow, 59-83.3 litres/min (15.6-22 gal/min). Calculated hydraulic horsepower is up by nearly 40 percent for the two new B-series 3 models. This increase improves the capability and efficiency of the 242B3 and 257B3 when handling standard-flow work tools, such as brush cutters, power box rakes and trenchers.

In addition, larger lift and tilt cylinders give the two new models a substantial gain in boom and bucket breakout force, from 13 to 19 percent, depending on model and circuit. Increased breakout forces provide enhanced performance in all basic functions.

Rated operating capacity also has been increased for the 242B3 and 257B3. The 242B3 is rated at 975kg  (2,150 lbs) at 50 percent of tipping load, or at 1,000kg (2,200 lbs) when using an optional counterweight. The 257B3, when rated at 50 percent tipping load, has an operating capacity of 1,213kg (2,675 lbs), which increases to 1,236kg (2,725 lbs) with an optional counterweight. Standard rated operating capacity for the 257B3 is 848kg (1,870 lbs) at 35 percent of tipping load.

The 242B3 and 257B3 also feature an engine-mounted air-conditioner compressor, which eliminates the hydraulic motor and plumbing required to drive the compressor on their B-series 2 counterparts. The new configuration is a simpler design that uses fewer parts, reduces the number of hydraulic connections and lowers sound levels in the cab.  

A new optional two-speed travel system gives the 242B3 top speeds of 7.1 miles/h and 10.6 miles/h (11.4km/h and 17.0km/h) with 10 x 16.5 tires, and 7.7 miles/h and 11.4 miles/h (12.4km/h and 18.4km/h) with 12 x 16.5 tires. Top speeds for the two-speed-equipped 257B3 are 6.9 miles/h and 10.0 miles/h (11.1km/h and 16.1km/h).

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