Cat launches new ‘Ease of Use’ technologies for mini-excavators

CATERPILLAR has announced it is launching two new Mini Hydraulic Excavator (MHE) Ease of Use technologies for the Cat 306 CR, 308 CR and 309 CR next generation models.

New to Cat mini-excavators, Ease of Use E-Fence is said to constrain machine motion to within operator preset boundaries, while Ease of Use Indicate helps operators to reach grade faster.

The manufacturer explained that the technologies are ‘ideal’ for digging footings, drainage and septic systems, irrigation, electric utilities, and similar applications.

MHE Ease of Use E-Fence automatically constrains machine motion to within operator preset boundaries for ceiling, floor, wall, and swing. Cat said operators work ‘confidently and efficiently’ by avoiding structures overhead, underground, in front, or to the left or right of the machine.

Once the E-Fence range limits are established using a touchscreen monitor, no part of the boom, stick or bucket will pass the predefined limits. Setting height limits using E-Fence Ceiling can help avoid obstacles such as powerlines, ceilings or tree limbs. Fiber optic cables and underground utilities are protected by the defined depth limits established with E-Fence Floor. Structures in front of the machine are protected by E-Fence Wall, and where the mini-excavator is working next to live traffic or walkways or loading trucks, E-Fence Swing can help to avoid these areas.

MHE Ease of Use Indicate is an entry-level grade system, which provides visual and audible indications to bucket position compared to target grade to assist operators in cutting to exact specifications. Regardless of skill level, Cat revealed that operators reach target grade faster with ‘improved precision and reduced need for on-the-ground grade checking to create a safer work environment’.

With Indicate, the operator selects target depth and slope from the in-cab guidance system, and the monitor provides real-time work-in-progress and distance-to-grade feedback.

Both MHE Ease of Use E-Fence and Indicate are packaged with Swing Assist and Bucket Assist features. Swing Assist automatically stops machine swing at one or two set points, while Bucket Assist maintains last known bucket angle and is said to keep the cut accurate in sloping, levelling, fine grading, and trenching tasks.