Caterpillar Load & Haul event

By: Randall Johnston

Presented by
  • Earthmovers & Excavators

Hundreds gathered for the national Caterpillar Load & Haul Event at Quarry Farm, south of Perth, to see the new Cat 988K XE electric drive large wheel loader in action recently, writes Randall Johnston

The Cat 988K XE wheel loader in action at the launch event

Dealers and key clients from across Australia and New Zealand were treated to the special showcase event when Caterpillar put its latest wheel loaders, articulated trucks and a range of other equipment on show recently.

The 2019 national Load and Haul Event was centred around Caterpillar’s new XE range, including the Cat 988K XE and 972M XE wheel loaders.

The XE range is proving incredibly popular for a broad range of applications across construction, earthmoving and smaller mining operations, and is closely based on the popular predecessor models with additional features providing greater productivity, efficiency and even better all-round performance, says Caterpillar.

World-wide product manager of large wheel loaders, wheel dozers and compactors at Caterpillar Mike Berr


The new Cat 988K XE is the first large wheel loader offered by Caterpillar with a high-efficiency electric drive system, delivering 25 per cent greater overall efficiency and up to 10 per cent more productivity in load-and-carry applications, it says.

Delivering high-production in all loading applications, the 988K XE is recommended for demanding job sites where fuel efficiency makes a difference in the machine’s total cost of operation.

The new loader features switched reluctance (SR) technology and leverages more than 15 years of Cat electric drive experience as well as more than four years of stringent testing in a range of applications.

The Cat C18 ACERT engine, mechanical dropbox, driveline and axles from the legacy of the 988K remain in this electric drive machine, providing a consistent, trouble-free operation.

The Cat 6015B hydraulic shovel was also on show


Cat’s 972M XE wheel loader features a continuous variable transmission that results in smooth shifts, fast acceleration, and speed on grade, whilst also delivering on fuel economy, says Caterpillar.

While designed with the construction sector demands in mind, these characteristics will make the 972M XE a popular choice in quarry and mining operations with the need to deal with steeper grades, tighter loading areas and greater pressure on cost per tonne, it adds.

Hundreds gathered from all around the world for the event


A range of Cat’s other recent additions was also on display at the event including the 986K wheel loader, 6015B hydraulic shovel, and the 745 and 740 GC articulated trucks.

There was a special cameo appearance by the Piacentini Panther low loader, designed by Bunbury-based contractor Piacentini & Son, which has been developed to improve safety and efficiency when loading and transporting heavy equipment around mine sites.

WesTrac hosted the event and is the Caterpillar dealer for WA and NSW. WesTrac CEO Jarvas Croome took time out after the event to speak with Earthmovers & Excavators magazine, saying that the industry would welcome the further refinement of this popular range of construction and earthmoving equipment.

"We are delighted to be able to host such an important event on behalf of Caterpillar and welcome the interest and input of industry," he says

"Activity is increasing across Australia with a large number of infrastructure and major construction projects underway, while there’s also a lot of movement in mining.

"The highly versatile Cat XE range is going to be a popular choice for fast, efficient operations across all sectors, not to mention providing improved environmental performance for operators."

We also spoke with Caterpillar ANZP sales & service manager global construction Ranil Tennakoon, who is similarly excited about the capabilities of the new XE range.

"The machines you saw today are designed to be more efficient, more productive and easier to maintain that their predecessors," he says.

The new 988K XE wheel loader takes centre stage at WA Bluemetal Quarry

"Caterpillar is committed to innovation and the technology in this new XE range is proof of that.

"A lot of feedback from mining customers in Western Australia has gone into the design of these machines.

"The 988K XE and the 972M XE wheel loaders are our premium range with the latest, most advanced technology built in.  

"With these latest models we’ve removed in effect the transmission and torque converter and added a generator and a motor, so now we’ve got electricity driving the rest of the machine and that’s what saves you 25 to 35 per cent of the fuel.

"You also saw today the 745 and 740 GC articulated trucks. In the first quarter of next year we will be launching the 966GC [wheel loader].

"Over the next 2 years, Cat will be releasing 23 GC machines here in Australia and New Zealand, which will give customers a huge range of new machines to choose from."


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