CAT’s® new D8T dozer moves more on less fuel

by Jon M. Casey

CAT® Construction Equipment introduced its new D8T Track-Type Tractor during a media webinar presented on July 26, 2018 by Sam Meeker, Cat track-type tractor product applications specialist. With more than two dozen participants on hand, Meeker highlighted the new features and benefits that the D8T offers. Foremost is this dozer’s increased profitability due to new design features that enable the D8T to move 18 percent more material per hour using up to 11 percent less fuel in most applications.

Meeker explained that these benefits come from an improved, larger blade design, fully automatic, lock-up clutch, 4-speed transmission and additional factory integrated technology options that help maximize efficiency depending on an owner’s specific needs. For example, the new lock-up transmission combined with differential steering give a 10 percent increase in steering torque, which is especially helpful for tight turning situations like backfilling or spreading large truck dumps.

The new automatic transmission now has a new gear that is placed between the conventional first and second gears. This smoothes out the shifting and gives the operator optimum power at the speeds a they typically operate. There’s no need for up or downshifting. All speed and turning is controlled by a single hand control with a thumb wheel that allows the operator to make on-the-fly ground speed changes a breeze. The transmission’s lockup torque converter is the key element in helping to realize the 15 percent improvement in fuel efficiency.

Meeker said that the new dozer is equipped with a 19 percent larger semi-universal (SU) blade that helps move more material with each pass. Optional performance cutting edges increase blade payload by up to 25 percent as well. The new blade has a capacity of 13.4 yards while the previous model was 11.3 yards. The new performance cutting edge helps load the blade faster, especially in difficult materials like clay or rocky material.

Along with the new blade, the D8T has an automatic ripper control that features a rip-to-depth capability that keeps the ripper parallel to the dozer chassis. This reduces equipment wear and tear and gives the operator more control over consistent ripping without the variations in adjustments that are needed with a conventional ripper.

Meeker said there has been an increase in horsepower from 363 HP to 394 max HP. “We went from 312 to 354 net HP which leads this class,” he said. “The fully-suspended undercarriage is unique in the industry,” he added. “From idler to idler we are fully suspended from front to back, which gives that smooth ride and extra traction under most conditions.”

“All machines come from the factory remote-control-ready,” he said. “What that means is that all of

the necessary harnesses are already installed on the CAT, ready to install a CAT Command Remote Control Kit.” The remote kit comes in two versions. One with a remote console and the other is called the remote station, which, in effect is an operator simulator.

Meeker explained that the console is an over-the-shoulder device that an operator uses to control the dozer from a line-of-sight position. The remote station on the other hand, can be operated remotely from anywhere in the world. This remote capability gives the operator the ability to run the machine in areas where there are potential hazards to the operator. The operator safety is foremost with this technology. “All D8s are able to be equipped with this remote system,” he said.

“We like to call our technology options the “technology ladder” in terms of functionality,” he said. “First, we have the slope indicate system, which is standard on all D8s. This system gives the operator a real-time reading of what the slopes are while he is operating the dozer. This helps the operator determine where the dozer is sitting on the jobsite while he’s working doing grading work. This helps maintain the desired slope on the job.”

“Next on the ladder is the optional CAT GRADE with Slope Assist,” he said. “This system has been available on the smaller dozers for the past couple of years. This is a two-dimensional, grade control system, that allows the customer to program the slope and then drive the dozer to that grade on the slope and holds it there. Slope assist guides the blade to a target slope. The operator can use this in either the manual or the automatic mode. It does not use GPS or base stations but helps the operator as he works a slope.”

“We also have our attachment ready option (ARO),” he added. “This allows the owner to install the grade control system on the dozer at a later date. CAT Grade with 3D is our integrated grade control system. It has antennas on the cab, sensors in the blade cylinders and sensors throughout the tractor that gives us the full 3D integrated technology.”

This is installed at the factory. Sensors help compensate for pitch, roll and yaw as the machine operates. This is a revolutionary control system. The ARO kit is included in case the user would like to install a laser or a UTS kit on at a later date. This system includes the AutoCarry and/or AutoRip System, which monitors the blade or ripper and adjusts the blade or ripper to maintain a load that prevents the dozer from slipping while moving material. The AutoRip also includes a depth limit feature that maintains the ripper carriage parallel to the dozer frame. This limits the amount of wear on the ripper carriage. AutoRip 2.0 gives more consistent ripping production.

Meeker said the new D8T is easier to operate, featuring a color LCD display, optional rear view camera and Standard Product Link™ Elite (remote control troubleshooting). As mentioned previously, the thumb roller for speed control and updated joystick gives improved feedback to the operator.

“Servicability has always been a hallmark of the D8T,” said Meeker. “There is easy access to fluids and filters, coolers, battery compartments. The onboard diagnostics are improved and we’ve included a higher capacity air cleaner that improves performance by 20 percent.”

The new dozer has an optional, extended-life heavy-duty undercarriage. “The undercarriage has a brand new link that is taller, wider and deeper than previous links. It lasts longer and provides better wear with reduce idler scallop wear. Combined with a larger bushing, customers are seeing a 20 to 40 percent longer wear life, even in high abrasion conditions.”

Finally, Meeker added the new D8T comes with hydraulically powered bottom guards that open in either of two ways, the side opening for larger jobs or in a bomb bay style for cleaning and lesser maintenance applications.

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