Cat’s upgraded backhoes
Caterpillar's new 444F backhoe loader
The new Caterpillar 434F backhoe loader is solely mechanically controlled, while its fellow new backhoe model, the Cat 444F, is equipped with pilot joystick controls and can be fitted with either a 4.27m or a 4.87m backhoe.
The upgraded machines are part of Caterpillar’s development of its equal sized tyre (EST) machine range in line with the rest of the F Series product family.
In the European Union (EU), the Cat F Series backhoe loaders feature the EU Stage IIIA emission standard Cat 4.4 engine. These are said by Cat to provide customers with the most efficient, cost effective solution to meet their operating needs. An EU Stage IIIB solution will be phased in by Cat during the second half of 2013.
For markets with less stringent emission standards than the EU, the F Series backhoe loaders will use the Cat 3054C engine, which has emission levels equivalent to EU Stage II. Engines that meet EU Stage IIIA emission standards are available in non-EU markets that require highly regulated emission levels, such as Turkey.
A full Autoshift transmission is now fitted on the Cat 434F, while the Cat 444F is equipped with a stiffer torque converter, said to provide more power in hard bank and faster acceleration when roading.
Both the Cat 434F and 444F machines are fitted with auto-align steering, said to allow a quick and easy switch of steering modes that allows the operator to continue his work without manually realigning the steering.
The new F Series backhoe models feature a new loader arm design, said to increase lift capacity at greatest height by as much as 36%. In addition, loader improvements with true parallelism when raising the bucket are said to result in better material retention. Cat says operators can also load trucks more easily without losing any material, thus improving productivity.
A new sloping engine hood design combined with improved hose routings is said to enhance operator visibility to the work tool, both over the hood and either side of the loader arms. This is said by Cat to help with work tool precision required applications such as grading or grabbing.
A new footstep, mounted on the front fender of the Cat 434F and Cat 444F models allows for a comfortable and safe stance when performing daily checks of regular service points. The engine side panels on both machines require no tools to remove, allowing technicians to access the engine with ease. A hinged cooling pack is said to further improve access for cleaning and servicing and helps reduce onsite downtime.
A non-metallic 160litre fuel tank reduces condensation and eliminates corrosion, improving Cat 434F and 444F model reliability. With the batteries located in the nose of the machines, there is a new battery isolator providing increased security. A remote engine jump-start in the event of low battery power is also available.