Caterpillar (Cat) has introduced external control kit options that allow contractors who still use Cat D or D2 series skid steers and compact track loaders (CTLs) to employ various Smart blade attachments. The GB120 and GB124 smart grader blades can now be operated with an external joystick kit, allowing more contractors using 289 or 299D3 models access to the cutting-edge technology.
Smart Attachment Technology
The Cat smart attachment line made its premiere at Conexpo-Con/Agg 2020. The technology has a handshake with the machine when plugged in. The machine modifies joystick actions in accordance with the sort of attachment it recognizes.
Third Joystick Mount
A new external control kit includes a third joystick mount for the cab, making it compatible with all D-series skid steer and CTL versions as well as some older Cat machines. Contractors can install a brand-new smart grader blade on an older model machine by adding simply the joystick and that blade.
Compatibility with Older Machines
The GB120 and GB124 blades are capable of automatically determining whether they are attached to a D3 series machine or one that has an external controller. The backward-compatible joystick kit opens up the market to potential 40,000+ machines that customers already have running that are dependable and can be upgraded with a simple joystick.
Grade Control Technology
Contractors may go one step further and integrate grade control on their ten-year-old machinery by adding Cat Grade and Earthworks GO! systems. The grade control system features standard cross-slope assistance, fully proportional control of all operations, selectable modes for left, right, and tandem control, as well as these additional features.
Smart Dozer Blade
Cat’s smart dozer blade uses plug-and-play technology, similar to the smart grader blade. Contractors can invest in 3D GPS/GNSS grade control for smart dozer blades on Cat CTLs. Cat and Trimble collaborated on this technology. It directs the user to precisely grade complex curves, planes, slopes, and contours. It offers direction for blade positioning both vertically and horizontally, or the system manages the blade in relation to a design loaded into the grade control system.
Hardware and Software Updates
All the necessary connectors are included with the basic Cat smart dozer blade to install 3D-grade control components. Additionally, all hardware and software updates are accessible for smart dozer blades and existing machinery to operate grade control.
Opportunities for Contractors
Britton, Cat’s worldwide marketing manager for attachments, pointed out that contractors can cut a golf course with a small 289, 299 CTL using the 3D GPS/GNSS grade control technology. The backward-compatible joystick kit and the plug-and-play technology for smart grader blades and smart dozer blades respectively create significant opportunities for contractors who may be considering upgrading their equipment with the latest technology.