Cat’s three new small excavators cover the bases

By Jenny Lescohier08 February 2021

Cat 317 GC offers a large working envelope and expanded work tool offering help operators complete work quickly and efficiently

Caterpillar has introduced three new Next Gen excavators - models 315 GC, 317 and 317 GC - designed to offer higher productivity and lower operating costs to the 15- and 17-ton class of machines.

Models are available in Europe and North America.

The Cat 315 GC Next Gen compact radius excavator has a new, larger cab design built for operating efficiency, lowers maintenance costs by up to 25% and reduces fuel consumption by up to 15%, the company stated.

An intuitive-to-operate design allows operators of all skill levels to quickly achieve high production, making this new 15-ton excavator ideal for space-restricted rental, municipal and general all-around excavating applications.

The new 317 excavator features multiple standard Cat technologies to boost operating efficiencies by up to 45%, while the 317 GC lowers maintenance costs by up to 20%, Caterpillar reported.

Caterpillar product experts explained at a virtual press briefing on February 2 that GC models are designed to offer customers with the performance they need, but with less technology and lower acquisition and ownership costs. The company noted all machines can be retrofitted with premium features.

Cat 315 GC designed for 15% less fuel consumption

Delivering high ambient temperature operation capability reaching 125˚ F, the new fuel-efficient Cat C3.6 engine powering the 315 GC meets U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final/EU Stage V emission standards. New Smart Mode operation automatically matches engine and hydraulic power to digging conditions, optimizing fuel consumption and machine performance. Combined with ECO mode operation that saves fuel in less demanding applications, the 315 GC Next Gen excavator reduces fuel consumption by up to 15% compared to the Cat 315F excavator, according to the company.

The new cab design features a large, 8-in (203-mm) LCD monitor with touchscreen capability for easy navigation and intuitive operation, boosting productivity for operators of all experience levels. Standard rearview and right-hand sideview cameras further improve visibility.

Extended and more synchronized maintenance intervals on the new 315 GC - as well as the 317 and 317 GC mentioned below - are designed to reduce maintenance costs by up to 25% compared to the 315F. Its new hydraulic oil filter delivers improved filtration and extends filter change intervals to 3,000 operating hours, a 50% increase.

Operators can track filter life and maintenance intervals on the in-cab LCD monitor. All daily maintenance checkpoints, including oil, are accessible from ground-level, increasing machine uptime availability.

Cat 317 and 317 GC models cover the bases

These 17-ton machines cover the range of customer needs. The Cat 317 comes with an array of technological features that simplify and enhance operation, as well as design advancements that reduce maintenance costs. The 317 GC, on the other hand, offers a simpler, more traditional offering with a lower acquisition cost.

Both the 317 and 317 GC offer three engine operating modes to match performance to the job, resulting in significant fuel savings potential. Like the 315 GC, these models have both Smart mode and ECO mode. Available on the 317 Next Gen excavator, Power mode constantly provides maximum power and productivity for the most demanding projects.

The excavators’ responsive hydraulic system balances the need for power and efficiency to deliver precise digging. A new main valve control eliminates the need for pilot lines, reduces pressure losses and lowers fuel consumption. Both the Cat 317 and 317 GC models come standard with new Cat Advansys bucket tips, which offer increased life, improved retention and fast changes to maximize uptime.

Leading performance-enhancing technology increases operator efficiency by up to 45%, delivering best-in-class productivity for the new Cat 317 Next Gen excavator, according to the company. Cat Grade with 2D automatically guides depth, slope and horizontal distance to grade through the touchscreen monitor, making even less experienced operators more accurate. The system is readily upgradable to Cat Grade with Advance 2D or Cat Grade with 3D.

Operators receive on-the-go weighing and real-time payload estimates to improve loading efficiency through the Cat Payload technology standard on the Cat 317 model. All critical operating data such as payload summaries, fuel usage and fault codes are captured by standard Product Link technology and accessed by fleet managers and office personnel via Vision Link and the Cat App to boost fleet management efficiency.

Cat Remote Services technologies leverage reported telematics data from the 317 to allow Cat dealers to remotely keep the excavator operating at maximum production and efficiency. Remote Troubleshoot analyzes real-time machine operating data to allow dealer technicians to run diagnostic testing and pinpoint issues without impacting machine productivity, saving a service trip to the jobsite. Remote Flash ensures the excavator is operating with the most current version of on-board software, while working around the machine’s production schedule, so it delivers high performance, maximum efficiency and minimum downtime.

At the same press briefing, Caterpillar also introduced its Next Generator 374 excavator designed to give contractors high production, two times more structural durability, and up to 20% less maintenance costs than the model 374F which it replaces.

It was reported the 374 is capable of loading up to 33 40-ton trucks per hour.

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