Caterpillar Introduces M-Series Motor Graders Featuring Joystick Controls for Easier Operation
Caterpillar® announces the new, seven-model lineup of M-Series Motor Graders. The new machines feature a number of revolutionary concepts in motor grader design-most notably a pair of joysticks replacing as many as 15 levers and a steering wheel. Because of the many control inputs required and the precision work performed by motor graders, they are widely regarded as the most difficult of all earthmoving machines to operate. Caterpillar designed the M-Series joystick control system to make the motor grader easier to learn and less fatiguing.
The M-Series design didn't stop at the operator station. Caterpillar applied for more than 100 new patents while developing the new motor graders, and the new graders include about 30 percent new content. New features include dynamic styling that opens up lines of sight, easy adjustment of the drawbar, circle and moldboard (DCM), a high torque all-wheel-drive system, enhanced power management and emissions-compliant Cat® C-Series engines with ACERT Technology.
The M-Series Motor Graders will replace the 10 H-Series models as the new machines are released starting in the fourth quarter of this year and concluding in mid year 2007.
The new M-Series joystick-operated electro-hydraulic control system simplifies motor grader control and reduces operator arm and hand movements by as much as 78 percent. The pair of three-axis joysticks are built for comfort and low-effort operation, and they feature a logical and intuitive control pattern. The system helps operators sustain high levels of efficiency throughout the work day, and the intuitive control design makes training fast and simple-for both new and experienced operators.
The new control system opens up the interior of the cab and provides excellent lines of sight to the DCM and snow wing area. The cab doors are angled and the floor is tapered to provide an unobstructed line of sight to the front tires, the heel and toe of the blade and the DCM. In addition to changes inside the cab, the sloping, tapered engine enclosure opens lines of sight to the ripper. To reduce glare, the M-Series machines have black paint on the top surfaces of the front frame, blade lift cylinders and engine enclosure.
Top-accessible drawbar wear inserts and patented, easy-to-adjust, bi-directional moldboard slide rail wear strips make DCM adjustments much faster and more convenient. Shorter service times reduce owning and operating costs.
By removing the access plates located on the top of the drawbar, a mechanic can maintain the circle by adding shims for wear strip adjustment or by replacing the wear strips when they are worn out. Changes to the moldboard retention system and the slide rail wear inserts make moldboard service much easier by eliminating the need for shims. The new bi-directional slide rail shoes allow adjustment up and down as well as fore and aft. The adjustment eliminates moldboard chatter.
The M-Series all-wheel-drive option delivers 42 percent more torque than the H-Series system. The M-Series uses dedicated left and right pumps, which allow independent control of hydraulic flow to each front wheel hydrostatic motor. To compensate for hydraulic power demand, the engine automatically delivers additional horsepower to provide constant net power to the ground.
Through an electronic control module, front wheel speeds can be controlled automatically. The benefit of varying the outside and inside wheel speeds, known as steering compensation, is full torque through an entire turn. In poor underfoot conditions, this system allows a shorter turning radius.
The M-Series all-wheel-drive system also features a new front-wheel only hydrostatic mode for precision low-speed performance. This mode provides infinite front wheel speed control from 0 to 5 miles per hour for enhanced control when working in tight areas, such as cul-de-sacs.
Variable horsepower (VHP) is now standard on all M-Series models, and Variable Horsepower Plus is optional. The M-Series power management system delivers additional horsepower in 5 horsepower increments as the transmission gear selection increases. The result is a smooth power curve that allows M-Series machines to carry heavy loads while downshifting.
The previous system delivered an extra 20 horsepower in gears 4 through 8, and VHP Plus added another 20 horsepower in gears 7 and 8. Smaller increments throughout the gear range provide predictable power that operators prefer. With more rim pull available in all gears, M-Series machines are more productive than their H-Series predecessors.
Cat C-Series engines with ACERT Technology enable the M-Series motor graders to meet U.S. EPA Tier 3 and EU Stage IIIa emissions regulations. The C-Series engines have been proven in highway truck applications and a wide range of earthmoving equipment. ACERT Technology enables Cat engines to supply more power per unit of displacement while retaining the reliability and durability that customers expect from Caterpillar.
The M-Series motor graders also have many new drive train features. The new machines have a bolt-on modular rear axle. The new axle module allows the axle and both tandem cases to be dropped down for servicing, which reduces service time.
All M-Series models except the 24M feature a direct-drive countershaft transmission. Electronic Clutch Pressure Control makes gear-to-gear as well as forward/reverse shifts smoother and prolongs the life of all drive train components.
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