Caterpillar launches its largest ever wheel loader

Cat has developed its largest ever wheel loader – the 994K.

The new machine has a greater payload capacity than its predecessor, the 994H, cutting down the number of passes required to load large haul trucks.

The standard 994K can carry 40.8 tonnes per pass, with the high lift version able to move 38.1 tonnes per pass, approximately 18 and 20 per cent more, respectively, than the previous models.

"The 994K loads mining trucks in the 250, 200 and 150 short ton classes in one less pass than the previous model. The high lift configuration is a six-pass match with the popular Cat 793 mining truck, and the high lift as well as the standard configuration loads the Cat 789 in five passes," Caterpillar said.

The machine has also been upgraded in terms of engine power, hydraulics, breakout force, and rimpull, as well as lateral stability.

Cat's 994K has also been designed with Australian operations in mind, with a new high ambient package allowing the loader to operate in temperatures as high as 50 degrees Celsius.

An optional fuel tank now holds enough fuel for 24 hours straight operation without refuelling.

In regards to its bucket "new high performance buckets in a wide range of capacities are optimized for the 994K linkage kinematics," Cat said. 

"The new bucket design has an extended floor, larger radius and angled side bars for fast loading, high fill factors and good material retention."

It has a bucket capacity ranging from 19.1 to 24.5 cubic metres for the standard and high lift.

"A number of efficiency improvements, such as the electronically controlled and hydraulically driven cooling system fan, also help keep operating costs down."

It is powered by a Cat 3516E engine, which produces 1297kW of power, and works through a Cat planetary powershift transmission designed specifically for mining applications.

"An integral Impeller Clutch Torque Converter and Rimpull Control System allow the operator to precisely adjust power at the wheels to specific loading conditions by modulating rimpull from 100 to 25 percent, reducing potential for tire slippage without diminishing hydraulic capacity," Cat added.

Safety has also been a focus of the new machine, with it featuring a reduced stair angle for easy access and egress, increased visibility for operators, optimised LED lighting, and improved cameras for greater site awareness, and reduced sound in the cab to help fight operator fatigue. 

For service operators the wheel loader has been designed so engine oil change intervals are 500 hours minimum, with all routine service points are conveniently located on the left side of the loader, while hydraulically driven auto lube handles linkage greasing.

The 994K wheel loader will be commercially available in the first quarter of 2016.