Caterpillar unveils new 2.7 to 3.5 tonne mini hydraulic excavators


Boosting operating efficiency, servicing ease and operator comfort, the new Cat 302.7 CR, 303 CR and 303.5 CR hydraulic mini excavators introduce industry-first features for the 2.7- to 3.5-ton class machines. Built on the Next Generation platform that offers consistent operator experience through the 1.5- to 10-ton range, each new model features exclusive stick steer, cruise control, operator adjustable settings, and tilt-up canopy or cab as standard equipment.

Expanded use of common parts throughout the line plus the sturdy exterior design help reduce parts inventory investment and lower repair costs. Daily maintenance checks are quickly made from ground level through side doors, while the tilt-up cab design offers unmatched access to components for servicing. Increased service intervals mean these excavators spend more time on the job and less time in the workshop. Combined, these features lower total ownership costs up to 5% compared to previous models.

At the same time, design enhancements for the new 302.7 CR, 303 CR and 303.5 CR deliver up to 10% more performance in travel and trenching. Hydraulic system upgrades improve lifting performance and cycle times, while customisable operator settings improve efficiency.

The turbocharged Cat C1.1 Turbo engine powers the 302.7 CR and 303 CR models, while the Cat C1.7 anchors the powertrain for the 303.5 CR. Both engines meet EU Stage V emissions standards and offer 17.6 kW net power. Standard auto idle and auto engine shutdown help to conserve fuel usage at the site for more affordable operation.

Flexibility increases performance

These Next Generation hydraulic mini excavators feature a compact radius swing that reduces overhang when working to the side, allowing the machines to optimize performance in confined spaces. Fixed undercarriage widths for the 302.7 CR, 303 CR and 303.5 CR of 1,500, 1550 and 1780 mm respectively, deliver the right balance of job site accessibility and stability for lifting performance. An expandable undercarriage option for the 302.7 CR allows the operator to hydraulically retract track width to 1355 mm for fitting into confined spaces and then expand width to 1780 mm for superior digging and lifting stability.

Interchangeable counterweight packages enable customers to tailor machine weight to job requirements, offering the balance between low ground pressure and lifting performance. The “light” counterweight option adds 100 kg to machine weight, while the “extra” adds 250 kg.

All three Next Gen models offer both standard- and long-stick configurations to increase machine versatility. Standard digging depths range from 2450 to 2810 mm, while the long stick configuration allows the machines to reach from 2650- to 3110-mm depths. The standard dozer blade further increases machine flexibility to handle backfilling and grading tasks. It features ample above- and below-grade travel and has a standard float function for easy clean-up. An angle blade option on the 303.5 CR gives further flexibility in backfilling applications for increased productivity.

Comfortable experience

The new 302.7 CR, 303 CR and 303.5 CR offer enhanced machine security options, with both a passcode and Bluetooth key. With advanced touchscreen available, the large Next Generation display provides intuitive machine function control and easy monitoring of critical operating parameters, such as fuel level, coolant temperature and maintenance records.

An industry-exclusive Cat Stick Steer System simplifies machine control, and, at the touch of a button, the operator switches from conventional lever/foot-pedal steering controls to low-effort joystick operation. Two travel ranges with speeds reaching 4.5 km/h help to facilitate moving around the jobsite, and standard cruise control minimizes operator interaction when traveling longer distances between work locations.

Unique to their respective classes, these new Next Generation excavators offer the choice between canopy or cab enclosure. The sealed and pressurised cab offers a clean and quiet environment for the operator and can be equipped with heating and/or air conditioning for all-weather climate control. Offering a front window that slides upward to conveniently store overhead, the cab’s large glass areas plus skylight afford all-around visibility.

ADDITIONAL MACHINE: New hydraulic mini excavator

In addition Caterpillar has released its new 308 CR Fixed Boom hydraulic mini excavator. The 308 delivers maximum power and performance to efficiently complete work in a wide range of applications. Its fixed boom and compact radius design limit overhang when working to the side, enabling this Next Generation excavator to excel in confined spaces. When compared to a swing boom design, the fixed boom delivers increased vertical wall digging depth and dump height and improves lifting performance when working at a close radius to the machine.

As part of the Caterpillar Next Generation line, the 308 CR Fixed Boom delivers more excavating solutions to ensure a perfect match for 8-tonne requirements. It offers industry leading performance, unparalleled operator experience and simplified service. Increasing stick length from 1670- to 2210-mm, the long-stick option extends dig depth from 4150- to 4690-mm and maximum reach from 6390- to 6900-mm.

The new machine is powered by the field-proven, 51.8-kW Cat C3.3B engine meeting EU Stage V emissions standards. Enhancements to the hydraulic system combine with standard auto idle and auto engine shutdown features to improve machine efficiency, reduce operating costs and increase machine affordability.

High performance simplified

Providing a 20% increase in vertical wall digging depth compared to the 308 CR Swing Boom, the 308 CR Fixed Boom requires less repositioning in a trenching application, further improving efficiency and reducing fuel consumption. Featuring a familiar control layout as other Cat mini excavators to simplify training, the machine’s new LCD monitor offers intuitive control, provides easy to understand information and features a jog dial for easy screen navigation. Its standard control-pattern changer allows operators to quickly adapt the excavator to their preferred joystick movement.

Efficient load-sensing hydraulics with variable displacement pump provides oil flow reaching 167 L/min. The machine’s electrohydraulic control system allows for easy adjustments to operator settings based on preference or application, both for the machine linkage and the operator’s choice of work tools. Complete with quick-disconnect lines, the standard auxiliary system provides the choice of one-way, two-way or continuous flow.

The new 308 CR Fixed Boom model features standard front-shovel operation to deliver increased digging precision when working around utilities. For unmatched versatility, contractors can equip the machine with the TiltRotate System, Cat TRS8 coupling that allows work tools to rotate 360 degrees and tilt 40 degrees side-to-side. This allows the excavator to efficiently reach more areas from a single position, while maneuvering tools over, under and around obstructions when completing work.

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About Author


Saul Wordsworth is deputy editor of the iVT brand - which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and Off-Highway Annual, as well as He is a keen cyclist and lives in north London.

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