Automakers are always looking for ways to improve the design and handling of their vehicles. When it comes to a versatile piece of equipment, like a wheel loader, it can be difficult to settle on a degree of maneuverability that is suitable for all of its various uses. That's why, since the introduction of the 938K in 2012, Caterpillar Inc. has been refining the loader's computer software to allow users to easily adjust key variables on an in-cab monitor.
The 938K has a hydrostatic drive, but early last year Caterpillar introduced the option to give it the "feel" of a torque converter, which is what many operators are accustomed to in terms of the machine's response. If the operator wants to take advantage of the hydrostatic drive's unique capabilities, such as dynamic braking and changing direction on a hill, they only need to switch to that mode on the monitor, which can even be done while in motion.
More recently, Cat introduced an "ice mode," ideal for snow removal and low-traction conditions. The next step is allowing the operator to micro-manage details within each mode. For instance, it's possible to adjust the bucket's lift and tilt response rate from aggressive to slow.
"If you need absolutely finite control of that implement valve, where you really need it to be spot on, you adjust the implement response rate to standard, medium or fast," said product application specialist Scott Britton to Equipment World. "You can put that feel right back in the operator's hands where it needs to be for different types of applications."
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The ice mode for slippery conditions is one of the latest additions to the software.