Skid Steer Loaders Experiencing Significant Growth

India is one of the high growth economies of the world and comes under the classification of ‘Newly Industrialized Country’ according to economists. It is the seventh largest economy and third in terms of purchasing power parity. The country has been achieving a growth rate of around 7 percent for over two decades.

It is anticipated that the growth momentum will continue given the government’s various initiatives towards ease of doing business which will spur growth in various segments of infrastructure like ports, airports, roads and highways; and projects such as Swatch Bharat (Clean India), Namami Gange (Clean Ganga) and Make in India. As the country attracts more investment, more jobs are being created in the industries and services sector. There has also been a growing awareness to improve safety in the workplace. Mechanization is also taking place at a brisk pace to keep costs in check.

Potential for Compact Machines

Caterpillar, a renowned manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, is well positioned to contribute to each initiative with its Cat® equipment and advanced technological solutions.

In recent times, demand for compact machines like skid steer loaders has been escalating due to various reasons. As a very versatile utility machine, it is being used in general construction works in residential, commercial and industrial sectors, as well as in heavy construction works such as metro rail construction where the area is confined. The skid steer loader is also very useful in city maintenance jobs like solid waste handling, and in street and road maintenance, though its full potential is yet to be tapped. With Swach Bharat as one of the flagship campaigns of the government, the industry expects to see additional demand from this sector in the years to come.

Cat® 216B3 Skid Steer Loaders

CAT 216B3 Skid Steer Loaders
Caterpillar is a market leader in the skid steer loader product range in many countries as its products are known for their superior quality, reliability, design, technology, operator comfort, and very low owning and operating cost. Cat® 216B3 Skid Steer Loaders are manufactured at Caterpillar India facility which is about 60 kms from Chennai. The facility has been operational since 2014 and is also exporting machines to various countries across the world to a widespread network of dealers.

Key Benefits and Features Versatility: The 216B3 is a compact machine, capable of counter–rotating within its own machine envelope, enabling it to work in tight spaces. Despite being an entry level model, it can handle many attachments, which can be chosen and fitted based on the application.

Operator Station and Controls: The model has a spacious cabin and a pilot operated joystick levers as standard, which makes it very easy for the operator to learn. Operation requires very little effort compared to machines with hand levers and foot pedals, resulting in less operator fatigue. The left lever controls the steering and the right lever controls the loader/bucket. Since there are no foot pedals, there is a lot of leg space and a flat, easy to clean floor. A foot throttle pedal helps the operator to accelerate the speed when needed, without having to take his hands off the lever. This allows the operator to run the machine at mid-idle, and using full engine RPM only when necessary, which means less fuel consumption. Optional door with glass or polycarbonate windscreen are available as field installation kits.

Engine: 216B3 is fitted with the Cat® C2.2 engine, producing a gross power of 51 hP. This enables the dealer to provide complete warranty and service to the machine.

Hydrostatic Transmission: The model comes with a hydro-static transmission. The pumps are mounted in-line with the engine. The variable displacement piston pumps run the piston type drive motors. The drive motors run the sprocket, which runs the wheels through chains. The model is fitted with separate left hand and right-hand chain case to which short stub axles are fixed. The chain case and axle can be adjusted to maintain the tension.

Hydraulics: The hydraulic tank is larger with a unique shape that ensures the cavitation formed in the hydraulic oil is removed before it gets into the system. The cooling fan is driven hydraulically so that the fan is not affected by the engine speed. This coupled with the ‘side by side’ cooling pack for hydraulic and engine oil compartment ensures optimum cooling.

Anti-Stall System: This system ensures that the engine does not get stalled when the load is high, and that the hydraulic power requirement does not exceed the engine power. The swash plate in the pump adjusts itself accordingly by reducing the flow but maintaining the torque to match the operator command.

Safety: There are a host of features to ensure the safety of the operator: The arm rest bar, unless pulled down, the engine cannot be started. Again, when it is raised, the machine’s parking brake automatically engages and hydraulics lock out. Spring activated hydraulically released brakes ensure effective and fail-safe braking. Operator presence seat mounted censors automatically engage the parking brake if it does not sense a minimum of 22 kg after a few seconds. Dead engine lower valve helps in bringing down the loader arm in the event of engine shutting and hydraulic system malfunction. Last but not the least, emergency exits are present in the rear.

All-round Capabilities: The key feature of 216B3 is its all-round capabilities and its ability to work in confined spaces. It comes with standard auxiliary hydraulics and mechanical quick disconnect. This makes it more versatile as it can be easily fitted with a lot of attachments and with less effort and time. A work tool can be changed in less than five minutes with a reasonably experienced operator without any additional help or tool.

CAT 216B3 Skid Steer Loaders
There are more than 20 kinds of attachments that can be fitted onto the machine depending on the application. For instance, sweepers can be used to sweep the fine and course materials off the surface, pallet fork can handle pallets, augers can drill precise holes, and grapples can grab materials.

Customers are now looking for high performance machines and solutions at the lowest cost for owning and operating, and without compromising on safety at their worksite. Caterpillar has an extensive dealer network, technical expertise, and the capability to quickly provide the required service to their customers. Its two primary dealers in India are GMMCO Ltd. for the south and west regions, and Tractors India Private Limited (TIPL) for the north and east. With eight territorial dealerships across India owned by GMMCO and TIPL, there are over 168 dealer outlets across the country.

Caterpillar has been operating in India for over 40 years; it has made significant investments to expand its product range and operations that support various sectors such as mining, construction and infrastructure, R&D, power generation, etc. To meet the changing market needs and demand, it aligns its operations and customer service according to the emerging opportunities and requirements of the particular market and give more value to its customers.

Caterpillar dealers also invest in increasing the number of their depots, sales and service outlets, workshops with repair and rebuild facilities, and in training their manpower. Along with them, the company is offering the best products and services to its customers.

NBM&CW July 2017

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