At this year’s ICUEE show in Louisville, Caterpillar unveiled the Cat 306 CR mini hydraulic excavator, which marks the company’s entry into the 6-ton class. According to Cat officials, the 306 CR mini excavator is built to exceed customer expectations with strong performance, enhanced operator experience and simplified maintenance with extended service intervals. The machine features heavy-duty main structures, a fuel-efficient engine, load-sensing hydraulics and the Cat Stick Steer system. It shares similar controls and common components with other members of the Cat mini-excavator line to simplify training, offer quick adaptation for operation and lower owning/operating costs.
The machine’s fuel-saving, load-sensing hydraulic system with an electronically controlled variable-displacement piston pump generates 46 gpm (173 l/min) hydraulic oil flow. It reportedly offers the hydraulic capacity for increased travel performance and higher digging forces than competitive units. High flow rate of 24 gpm (90 l/min) to the auxiliary circuit enables operation of even the most demanding hydromechanical attachments. Complete with quick-disconnect lines, the standard auxiliary hydraulic system provides one-way, two-way and continuous flow. Operating pressure for the travel drive, and primary and secondary auxiliary circuits, is 3,553 psi. Swing operation pressure is 3,046 psi.
The Cat C2.4 turbo diesel engine rated at 55.9 net hp (41.7 kW) powers the new 306 CR mini excavator and meets EPA Tier 4 Final/Stage V emission standards. Automatic engine idle and shutdown features help to save on fuel consumption.
With its long stick option, the 306 CR delivers a maximum dig depth of 162 in. and 15,821-lb maximum operating weight when equipped with the sealed and pressurized cab. A canopy alternative to the pressurized cab will be available for customers in 2020. Built with a swing boom, this compact-radius design provides a low, 58-in. tail swing with counterweight for working close to obstructions. And the new Cat 306 CR offers class-leading lift performance of up to 7,839 lb (3,555 kg) at a 9.8 ft (3 m) radius. Enhanced uphill swing torque and increased cycle times lead to greater productivity and efficiency.
The operator’s LCD monitor provides easy-to-read machine information, jog-dial for simple navigation and standard Bluetooth capability. The color monitor gives critical operating details such as fuel, coolant temperature, hour meter, performance and machine adjustments, and maintenance and machine monitoring.
With the touch of a button, the operator can switch from conventional lever/foot-pedal steering controls to the standard Cat exclusive Stick Steer system. Stick Steer provides improved operator control with less effort to advance operating simplicity and comfort. For convenience, the intuitive pattern changer allows operators select their preferred joystick movement for controlling the 306 CR mini excavator.
Straight blade, angled blade and extra tool carrier (XTC) configurations further expand the flexibility of the 306 CR mini excavator. Featuring ample travel, above and below grade operation, float function, and “dig-to-blade” operation, the machine’s blade efficiently handles loose material in backfilling and grading applications. Delivering the extra precision required when digging around utilities, front shovel operation can be accomplished with both pin-on and coupler-mounted buckets. Ground-level access to maintenance checkpoints offers convenient access, while enhancing worker safety. Extended filter service life means the excavator spends less time in the shop for routine maintenance.
The design of the new 306 CR reportedly emphasizes operator comfort, convenience and safety. Its sealed and pressurized cabin lowers in-cab operating noise levels to 72 dB(A) and is heated and air-conditioned to elevate operator comfort regardless of outside temperatures. The cab’s roll over protective structure (ROPS), tip over protective structure (TOPS) and top guard combine to promote a safe working environment for the operator.