Attachment testing completed: 20% of fuel consumption saved

As world oil prices remain at unprecedented high levels, Caterpillar’s new fuel saving attachment for larger excavators completes its testing period with confirmed reductions of up to 20% in fuel consumption per hour, while maintaining productivity and improving reliability.

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By  Colin Foreman Published  November 13, 2004

Attachment testing completed: 20% of fuel consumption saved|~|47 Prod Body.jpg|~||~|As world oil prices remain at unprecedented high levels, Caterpillar’s new fuel saving attachment for larger excavators completes its testing period with confirmed reductions of up to 20% in fuel consumption per hour, while maintaining productivity and improving reliability. First announced during Bauma 2004, Eco-Mate is currently offered as an option on the 50 t Cat 345B Series II hydraulic excavator. The Cat 345B Series II equipped with Eco-Mate provides the same performance as the standard model, while delivering considerable improvements in fuel efficiency in typical trenching, material handling, and production truck loading applications. By using high-pressure accumulators that store the hydraulic pressure created with each lowering of the excavator’s boom, Eco-Mate is able to release the accumulated energy into the hydraulic system as soon as the operator activates the boom lift function. This reduces the amount of flow/pressure that needs to be supplied by the excavator’s main hydraulic pumps, which in turn decreases demands on the engine and diminishes fuel consumption. Overall fuel efficiency (t/l of fuel) is increased by 25-30%. Other benefits of Eco-Mate include reductions in hydraulic temperatures and pressure peaks, which help preserve the integrity of the hydraulic circuits. Experience gained during the extensive test period also allowed Cat engineers to fine-tune the electronic components of the system, providing a 5% improvement in cycle time over the standard machine. Although the option does mean an initial extra cost for new Cat 345B Series II customers, the cost of Eco-Mate can be offset in as little as 18 months of operation, depending on the application. From then on, annual fuel savings of up to 20% per year can mean considerable cost reductions for customers per machine during the entire work life of the excavator. In terms of operation, an excavator equipped with Eco-Mate requires no special training or technique. Moreover, the fuel saving attachment improves the operator’s environment by producing smoother hydraulic cycles, and lowering in-cab and spectator sound levels, all of which allow operators to better focus on the job in hand. Customer feedback has also indicated that once operators have become accustomed to the smoother hydraulics and lower noise levels, they will prefer to continue using machines equipped with the attachment. “The successful closing of Eco-Mate’s test period has allowed us to fully confirm our initial projections with regards to the potential of the technology,” said Göran Hjerpe, excavator marketing manager at Caterpillar. “We soon hope to start expanding the availability of this revolutionary fuel-saving technology to other models in our wide range of hydraulic excavators.”||**||

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