Caterpillar introduces electric-drive loader, new excavators and more

By |  November 20, 2017

Caterpillar Inc. introduced a variety of new equipment, including the 988K XE electric-drive wheel loader, next-generation excavators, Yellowmark-brand budget replacement parts and the company’s first-ever utility vehicles.

The new Cat 988K XE is the first wheel loader offered by Caterpillar with an electric-drive system. The company says it delivers 25-percent greater overall efficiency and up to 10-percent more productivity in load-and-carry applications than its standard 988K model.

The Cat 988K XE offers a range of bucket capacities from 6.2 to 17 cu. yd. Standard and high-lift payload for the loader reaches 12.5 tons when working with face material and 16 tons with loose material.

Three next-generation 20-ton size class excavators from Caterpillar – the 320 GC, 320 and 323 – are designed to increase operating efficiency, lower fuel and maintenance costs, and improve operator comfort compared to previous models. It is the first major overhaul of the company’s hydraulic excavator line in 25 years, and many of the new innovations may soon find their way to Cat’s larger models.

Caterpillar announced plans to introduce a new tier of repair and replacement parts to support small- and medium-sized equipment. Branded as Yellowmark, the parts will offer an alternative for customers looking for reliable, value-priced parts, conveniently available from their local Cat dealer.

Yellowmark parts will encompass and expand on Cat’s Classic parts line, and will be introduced throughout 2018. They will initially include repair and replacement parts, while future new parts introductions will also include maintenance and wear parts.

Caterpillar also announced plans to enter the utility vehicle market with the introduction of the CUV82 and CUV102D models. The company has entered into a manufacturing and supply agreement with Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc., and will offer UTV models sold through participating Cat dealerships starting in 2018.

Featuring a rugged steel cargo bed, the new UTVs can handle up to 1,000 lb. of material and tools, and they offer 2,000-lb. towing capacity.

Caterpillar at Tower Rock

Tower Rock’s limestone quarry in Sainte Genevieve, Missouri, south of St. Louis, operates two shifts a day, six days a week. Knowing the kind of work Tower Rock puts its equipment through, Caterpillar approached the operation in 2011 to set up a test of the 988K XE wheel loader.

The 988K XE, with its electric drive, is designed to provide a more comfortable and smooth experience for operators.

“We wanted operators to be able to go back and forth [between the 988K and the 988K XE] and have minimal training required,” says Todd Tuntland, Caterpillar product application specialist. “In general, there was very positive feedback with how smooth and how comfortable the machine is compared to the standard [988K].”

Darren Farrow, a daytime-shift wheel loader operator at Tower Rock, says the new loader is smooth and there was a seamless transition from the standard model. Farrow notes the acceleration is better, and there is more speed control when compared to the standard version of the loader. Overall, consistency of the machine is good in the 988K XE, Farrow says.

According to Tuntland, the 988K XE accelerates from 0 to 20 mph quicker than the standard model. This has contributed to an increase in production. Because of the electric drive, fuel economy and efficiency have improved on the worksite.

From the test at Tower Rock, quarry management says fuel efficiency is the largest and most important factor the wheel loader has provided. Tower Rock is currently running about 10 wheel loaders on site and hopes to add the 988K XE to its fleet.
– Joe McCarthy

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About the Author:

Darren Constantino is an editor of Pit & Quarry magazine. He can be reached at

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