Equipment focus: Cat 299D compact track loader and Box Blade attachment

By: Greg Keane, Photography by: Nathan Duff

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  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

Cat 299D compact track loader and Box Blade attachment The Cat 299D compact track loader with Box Blade and Trimble system is a powerful combo Cat 299D compact track loader and Box Blade attachment

Carsburg Earthmoving has bought the first Cat 299D compact track loader and Cat Box Blade grading and levelling attachment sold by Queensland dealer Hastings Deering.

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"There has been a lot of interest in the Cat Box Blade since the announcement of its release," says Hastings Deering sales representative Ian Gunton, who sold the equipment to Carsburg. "High productivity can be achieved, with its front and rear moldboards allowing work to be done in both directions.

"Dual parabolic mirrors provide full visibility of the front edge, and reversible blades with wear indicators complete the package," Ian adds. "When combined with the Cat loader and Trimble system, they are a very productive and accurate team for producing 2D and 3D designs in a range of applications."

Rodney Carsburg, a director of Carsburg Earthmoving with brother Neil, credits concrete contractor Bess Concrete with pointing them in the direction of the technology.

"They are using 3D technology with laser screeds to produce accurate finished concrete surfaces without stringlines and with reduced labour," he says. "They were looking for someone to take the same approach to the slab earthworks to control material and labour costs".

The Cat 299D has a suspended undercarriage system and sealed, pressurised cab with air ride seat, which Rodney describes as the most comfortable ride he has experienced in a compact loader.

With an operating weight close to 6 tonnes with the box blade, a powerful 73kW Cat engine and the traction of tracks with independent suspension, the Cat 299D has more than enough power to the ground to comfortably handle a full blade.

While creep control is a feature of the Cat 299D, Rodney notes that he and operator Ash Turnbull are still learning how to get the best out of the machine and, for now, prefer to use manual throttle control, at around 70 percent.

They find that a smooth finish is achieved at this setting, whereas higher power can cause blade chatter and leave a finish that needs further work.

The Cat Box Blade has masts on both sides and can be set up to work in 3D with a Universal Total Station, allowing it to work inside buildings. It can also work in 2D with dual laser, or use 3D GPS when there is a line of sight to the sky.

There is a third mast on the loader arm for boxing out house sites with a bucket.

On the job pictured, the Universal Total Station was used. Carsburg Earthmoving was working for builder Spaceframe on a large commercial project, doing site preparation for Bess Concrete, who supplied drawings of finished levels for the slabs.

The set-up process took about 20 minutes. Levels were set on the rear blade as the final pass was to be done in reverse to remove track marks.

In good material such as the fine, loamy sand used to top the subgrade, Rodney has found that tolerances of 2-3mm can be achieved – less than Cat’s advertised 6mm. Work that would have taken two days with string line methods now takes a little over half a day, with fewer people and greater accuracy. 


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