Cat launches 966L and 972L medium wheeled loaders in South America and South Africa


The new Cat L Series 966L and 972L medium wheeled loaders apply proven technologies systematically and strategically to meet expectations for reliability, productivity, fuel efficiency and long service life.

The new L Series models are more powerful and fuel-efficient, featuring significant drivetrain and hydraulic system refinement, operator safety and convenience enhancements, proven Z-bar linkage, Cat Performance Series buckets, and options such as automatic traction control, enhanced ride control system, and Cat Connect Technologies.

Optional Aggregate Handler configurations offer higher payload capability for loose aggregate rehandling. These configurations enable efficient bucket size and payload pass matches to common truck payload targets and enhanced efficiency in load and carry applications.

Utilizing rigorous design and machine validation processes has delivered unmatched reliability, durability and high uptime for generations. Heavy-duty components, such as the Caterpillar designed ACERT engines, transmissions and axles, reduce the risk of premature wear, resulting in increased uptime and reduced operating costs over the lifetime of the machine.

The 966L and 972L use the Cat C9.3 ACERT engine with maximum gross power ratings ranging from 227kW to 242kW (309hp to 330hp) and approximate operating weights from 23,000-25,000kg. These power-dense engines use a combination of proven electronic, fuel-injection and air-systems, and offer 10% increased engine power in the 966L and 5% in the 972L (compared with the H series) to greatly improve machine performance and response.

They also feature up to 15% less fuel consumption. The power-dense ACERT engines burn less fuel by providing power and torque when needed. Cat’s innovative powertrain, hydraulic, cooling and electronic systems intelligently lower average working engine speeds and reduce overall system heat loads resulting in significantly improved performance and fuel efficiency. Furthermore, the productive Economy Mode provides maximum fuel savings with minimal productivity impact.

The 966L and 972L use a 4F/4R planetary power-shift. A high-capacity torque converter in both models uses a lock-up clutch for efficient grade and high-speed performance, and the Caterpillar Advanced Productivity Electronically Controlled (APEC) control system maintains torque flow during range shifts for faster acceleration on ramps and smoother shifts in the transmission’s direct-drive mode.

In addition, the Integrated Braking System (IBS) regulates downshifting in proportion to the required braking force, resulting in smoother downshifts and increased deceleration control. The IBS prolongs service brake life, lengthens axle-oil change intervals, reduces axle-oil temperatures, and improves transmission-neutralizer performance – resulting in faster cycles.

Axles for the L Series models feature modifications that reduce parasitic loads and enhance positive lubrication. Available as an option, the automatic traction control system is fully automatic and requires no operator input which improves traction and reduces tire wear.

The efficient load-sensing hydraulic system features proportional flow for fast, smooth hydraulic response with optimum controllability. The system is designed to deliver more engine power to the wheels at partial hydraulic flow, allowing faster cycle times in load-and-carry and ramp operations, as well as higher rimpull when digging.

An on-demand fan further enhances fuel efficiency and lowers sound levels. In addition, the engine-idle-management and the engine-idle-shutdown systems that reduce or stop the engine after a pre-set idling interval, not only save fuel and reduce sound levels, but also reduce hour accumulation, which helps extend service intervals and warranty.

The new best-in-class operator environment features a four-post ROPS cab providing unmatched comfort, visibility, and efficiency. Seat-mounted, electrohydraulic implement controls and programmable (in-cab) kick-outs provide optimum work-tool control, complemented by automatic cylinder snubbing that protects the machine structures and enhances performance.

New, streamlined control panel includes easy to reach highly utilized machine controls to increase operator efficiency. Powerful heating and air-conditioning systems keep operators comfortable in any climate. Viscous mounts reduce vibration and cabin sound levels.

For added safety, stair-like steps along with a large entry door to the cab reduce the angle of entry, and grab bars provide safe access to machine platforms. Floor-to-ceiling glass in the windshield, large mirrors with spot mirrors, and a standard rear-vision camera combine to provide all-around visibility. An available new ride-control system with dual accumulators allows faster cycles, improved material retention, and a smooth ride for the operator.

The front and rear frames of the new L Series models are fabricated from high-strength materials for long-term durability, robotically welded to ensure reliable performance, and designed to dissipate forces associated with aggressive loading and digging. The articulating hitch system, joining front and rear frames, provides exceptional bearing-force capacity.

The one-piece tilting hood with side and rear access doors provides easy access to daily fluid level checks and fueling points and full engine compartment access when required. Electrical and hydraulic service centers provide grouped, ground-level access to such items as SOS (scheduled oil sampling) ports that facilitate collecting fluid samples at optimum points in a circulating system.

The new external calliper disc parking brakes are easily accessible for inspection and service. The updated cooling system is readily accessible for clean out and maintenance; the hydraulic-oil cooler and air-conditioner cores swing out, providing easy access to both sides for cleaning.

August 19, 2016

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About Author


Tom Stone is Editor of the iVT brand – which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and the Advanced Lift-truck supplement, as well as, which is updated daily. Tom has met and interviewed some of the world's leading industrial vehicle OEM presidents, CEOs and MDs, and takes great pride in cementing iVT's place as the leading forum for debate within the industry, a reputation that his been built up over the brand's 25-year history.

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