Demolition Hub invited to Caterpillar’s European launch of of the Next Generation Demolition excavators

Chambers Media and Demolition Hub were among the invitees at Caterpillar’s online European launch of the next generation of CAT demolition excavators.

Due to the ongoing pandemic it was of course a socially distanced event, presented live from Caterpillar’s Malaga Demonstration and Learning Centre by Michael Loyer, Industry Segments and Work Tools Manager, Global Construction and Infrastructure division at Caterpillar.

Speakers joined the press conference from around the world, starting with Brian Abbott, Worldwide Product Manager for Large Excavators. 

Abbot started by expressing his delight at having won the World Demolition Summit award for Manufacturer Innovation, Plant and Equipment for the CAT 352 UHD next generation high reach demolition machine.

Brian Abbott

“I’m not sure I can put into words how excited I was when I heard the news that morning that we had won the award. It’s fantastic recognition of a lot of hard work by Caterpillar and the Caterpillar dealer team on the 352 UHD,” he said. “We are humbled to be recognised by the experts of demolition. We’re over the moon.”

Speaking of the product, he emphasised the demolition-specific improvements that had been made: “The 352 UHD now reaches 28 metres high with a 3.7 tonne work tool. That is the highest height to weight work tool ratio in the industry.”

The event also took attendees on-site, where in a previously recorded segment, Giles Ronnet, Caterpillar Product Application Specialist spoke to customer Bruno Chastagner, General Manager of Chastagner Demolition, who had the opportunity to operate the first 352 UHD on his job-site in southern France.

Chastagner emphasised the stability of the machine at height, due to its wider and longer undercarriage. He was also impressed by its ability to support heavier work tools, which was particularly important in the industrial demolition applications his company carried out. Finally, he mentioned the reduced fuel consumption of the machine. High reach operator Claude Riboulon confirmed these findings from the cab of the machine.

Michael Loyer

Giles Ronnet then joined Loyer on stage to talk about the 340 UHD Next Generation, which boasts hydraulic variable gauge as an option, ranging from three to four metres to allow easier transportation; UHD or retrofit booms; electro-hydraulic controls; stability monitoring and a whopping work tool weight of up to 3,700kg. To top this off, the new machine has up to 15 per cent lower operating costs.

The product was brought to market, Ronnet said, based on what customers told Caterpillar. “Reducing fuel consumption and maintenance cost whilst improving performance,” he said, “and this is exactly what we did.”

Highly efficient engine, controls and transmission of power result in up to 15 per cent lower fuel consumption and consequent emissions. Hydraulic oil intervals went from 2,000 hours to 3,000 hours, while engine oil intervals went from 500 hours to 1,000 hours. These lead to a five per cent maintenance cost reduction.

Summarising the UHD 340, he said: “You can tear down structures all day long with speed, precision and control. Caterpillar offers the best in class.”

The final presentation was from Bas Timmers, Global Work Tool Specialist, who spoke about the Hydraulic Coupler S-interface (HCS). “The big advantage is that you do not leave the cab to swap work tools. Operators typically swap work tools between two and 20 times a day, so this makes it a safer solution.”

Dedicated software depressurises the system automatically when the operator is exchanging and engaging the tool. “When swapping work tools, the operator does not need to leave the cab,” he said. “The coupler itself is also a very safe solution. We’ve got four features to ensure the tool remains with the coupler.” These are sensor technology; an additional flat area on the wedges; spring loaded wedges keeping the wedge in place in the case of loss of pressure; and a check valve in the cylinder. Secure lock sensor technology communicates with the operator in the cab.

Timmers concluded by saying: “Caterpillar is unique in the market as we are able to provide a total solution to our customers in demolition.”

The press conference concluded with questions from the virtual audience, including where the demolition excavators are produced (Akashi in Japan) and when the 340 UHD would be available in Europe, to which the answer was April 2021.

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