Next Generation Cats

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  • Earthmovers & Excavators

[SPONSORED CONTENT] Based near Geelong, Digga Group gives an insight into its experience with one of Australia’s first Next Generation Cat 308CR excavators

Digga Group operator James Martin is rapt with his new Next Generation Cat 308CR excavator

Digga Group, a demolition and recycling company based near Geelong in Victoria, has grown to employ a workforce of more than 30 staff including operators, boilermakers, mechanics, spray painters, truck drivers, administrative staff and operation managers. It’s been a busy 19 years for Digga group owner Mark Fowkes.

"When I started, I bought one excavator and started doing some work for a local demolition guy and just grew from there. I’ve got over 100 bits of gear now, so I’ve seen and experienced a lot when it comes to machinery," Fowkes says.

"We bought our first Cat machine off William Adams about 15 years ago.

"We’ve now got eight Cat machines at the moment: two 12 tonners, a 25 tonner, two of the large track skid steers, a 5 tonner, a telehandler and we’ve just recently bought the new 308CR."

Fowkes’s most recent purchase was a brand new 308CR Next Generation Mini Excavator (one the of four new Cat Next Gen models in the 7 to 10 tonne range), which only has only become available for purchase in Australia within the last few months.

Cat has spent six years working with customers around the world to develop its new totally redesigned Next Generation Mini Excavator range covering the 1–2 tonne and now 7–10 tonne range.

The 308CR comes with swing boom, rubber or steel tracks with optional rubber inserts as well as optional factory installed boom and stick lowering check valves which is all pretty standard for machines of this size.

What makes the 308CR different is all the Next Gen technology starting with Caterpillar’s new stick steer and cruise control function. At the press of a button on the left joystick the machine switches off the traditional travel levers and activates travel through the left joystick.

Next is adjustable hydraulic response, set the boom and stick on aggressive mode and the machine gives you get maximum hydraulic flow for the power available which is great for bulking out, trenching or truck loading. Have an inexperienced operator or need to lift delicate objects? Then set fine mode and it slows everything down, so you can complete finer tasks without compromising on power.

The 308 CR Next Generation Mini Excavator brings with it a 20 per cent improvement in overall performance. This comes from increased lift capacity of up to 65 per cent; an impressive 25 per cent improvement in swing torque and advanced hydraulics that improve the machines ability to multi-function.

In addition to the 308CR is the 309CR high flow, which provides dedicated hydraulic power to the auxiliary circuit to allow use of attachments such as mulchers, mowers or augers while also allowing the machine to simultaneously travel, or multi-function.

Fowkes and his team were on the hunt for a new 8 tonner for a specific job.

"We’d won a job to cut down and remove a concrete wall, which required us to crane a machine in and run a concrete saw. When we looked into it the Cat and it had a lot to offer, option-wise.

"We did look at other machines, but yeah the Next Gen Cat had too much to offer with the 50 per cent less hydraulic hoses, being for longer-term maintenance, that was very attractive – fuel economy was good on it and then all the creature comforts the operator liked.

"Another point of the 308 was that it had great multi-function ability, which when we tried it was quite good; it tracks, slews, digs, all-in-one but with plenty of power."

While he experimented with another manufacturer for a few years, Fowkes says he’s happy with the relationship he has with William Adams.

"I think lot of the time buying a machine is a bit to do with the relationship you have with the salesman as well as with the William Adams guys, who have always had a good history with parts and service. I can get parts online now and pick them up the next day in Geelong, which helps us a lot.

"I have a lot of concreters, little one-man outfits in the area asking what I like.  They know I’ve had every different machine and that they get a tough life. I definitely recommend the Cat 8-tonner, mainly because of all the new features it’s got but also the service and local availability of parts through William Adams."


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