Recently Caterpillar had a press conference to give the industry an update on the D7E the first-of-its-kind electric drive track-type tractor that had been introduced at the 2008 ConExpo. The revolutionary electric drive system developed for track-type tractors gives the D7E an unmatched balance of power, efficiency, control and maneuverability. The machine was on display at ConExpo and was also demonstrated at an off-site facility for potential customers and industry editors.
The recent press conference gave editors an opportunity to not only see the D7E in action again, it gave us an opportunity to talk to people who were using them – managers and operators. The machine meets and exceeds end-user expectations.
Crossfire Construction headquartered in Ignacio, CO was interested in the D7E because most of the work the do is for major oil companies and they have acquired the “green” reputations for their work on alternative- energy projects as well as energy-saving solutions to every day problems. The D7E looked like the answer to their needs. Curtis Valencia, a key operator for Crossfire, said, “The D7E seems to fit well into the scope of what we’re working towards. We believe the hybrid generation of machines is the way of the future and we wanted a closed look at the technology.”
Ezra Lee, who also attended the press event along with Valencia, started Crossfire. He told attendees that the D7E far exceeded the fuel savings that Caterpillar had claimed.
Valencia made the comment that, “The machine is more maneuverable than a small machine and still has the power to out perform a larger machine.” When asked what he liked about the machine he commented, “It’s the most responsive piece of equipment I’ve operated. There is no lag time when want it to move it does, there is no hesitation or lag time.”
Dolet Hills Lignite Co., headquartered in Mansfield, LA, sent V. J. Roppollo and Marvin Rambin who has 24 years with the company, the last six as a supervisor. Roppollo said, “The D7E out performs any machine in in this size class. It handles like a smaller machine but performs like a bigger one. Visibility is great. The way they’ve designed the cab you have clear view of the blade.”
Dale Hill, director of mine operations at Dolet, says, “Our operators seem very pleased with the performance and operation of the D7E.” The two people Dolet sent to Peoria substantiate this statement and embellish it with nothing but positive comments.
The third company participating in this event was Plote Construction Inc., from Hoffman Estates, IL. Dan Plote, president participated in the discussion of the D7E. The company is engaged in virtually all phases of construction including highway, airport, earthmoving, utility, commercial, well you name it; they’re in it.
According to Plote, the D7E’s design, which allows it to deliver 10 to 30 percent greater fuel-efficiency fits into the company’s efforts to conserve resources—both by recycling asphalt and concrete roadway materials into reusable aggregate and by processing construction debris into reusable material to conserve landfill space. Plote said that he had only one complaint about the D7E and that was once an operator got on it, you couldn’t get him off of it.
“The D7E offers a quantum leap in customer value through significant productivity increases and reduced owning and operating costs,” said Mark Pflederer, vice president of Caterpillar’s Heavy Construction & Mining Division. “This is another example of Caterpillar’s global technology leadership and commitment to sustainable innovation which is not only good for our customer’s economics, but the environment as well.”
From a performance standpoint, this new product demonstrates Caterpillar’s commitment to the industry with a machine that does more work and consumes less fuel and parts while providing customers with lower operating costs.
Cat® D7E Maneuverability
“From an environmental sustainability perspective, the D7E uses substantially less fuel per hour – dramatically reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emissions,” said Caterpillar group president Stu Levenick. “This revolutionary design consumes fewer resources over its working life than any other track-type tractor in its class. All major components are engineered to be rebuilt or reused in the future.”
The D7E is in the 60,000-pound weight range and is powered by a Cat C9 engine producing 235 horsepower. A traditional mechanical transmission is not needed, because the variable speed electric motors serve the function of a continuously variable transmission. The electric drive train has 60 percent fewer moving parts compared to previous D7s. The electric system also provides power to auxiliary components so that no engine belts are needed. The C9 engine, complete with ACERT Technology, meets U.S. Tier III emissions standards, and the tractor has been designed with Tier IV in mind. The new D7E has other innovative new features including an exclusive center-post cab, beltless engine and SystemOneTM undercarriage.