In December of 1959, the first production Cat wheel loader was driven off the assembly line at the Caterpillar plant in Aurora, IL - the 944 Wheel Traxcavator.
The 944, fitted with a 2-cubic yard (1.5-m³) bucket and available with either a 105-horsepower (78 kW) gas or diesel engine, was the culmination of a seven-year development effort—and the beginning of Caterpillar's leadership in the worldwide market for mid-size wheel loaders. Caterpillar's 50-year dominance in this market segment has hinged, simply, on customers recognizing the inherent value of the Cat Wheel Loader—its fundamental reliability and durability, coupled with exceptionally strong parts and service support.
The 944 was joined in 1960 by two additional models, the 80-horsepower (60 kW) model 922 and the 140-horsepower (104 kW) model 966, using buckets of 1.25 and 2.75 cubic yards (0.92 and 2.1 m³), respectively. A 1960 Caterpillar press release stated "these machines are operated by conveniently located controls, have a two-speed forward/two-speed reverse power-shift transmission and attain a maximum reverse speed of 30 mph."
The release also quoted W. S. Zeigler, domestic sales manager, who summed up Caterpillar's goal for developing the new wheel-loader line: "These new Traxcavators will enable operators to perform their work quickly and well, and give them safer working conditions."
Time changes most everything, but the basic qualities Mr. Zeigler noted about the first Cat wheel loaders have remained constant through 50 years of continual refinement and through the placement of more than 100,000 Cat Medium Wheel Loaders in the hands of customers.
Although the Cat Wheel Loader line today ranges from the 55-horsepower (41-kW) 904B to the 1,577-horsepower (1 176 kW) 994F, the eight-model lineup of Medium Wheel Loaders—938H, IT38H, 950H, 962H, IT62H, 966H, 972H and 980H—remains the foundation of the line and serves the largest market segment. These models offer standard buckets from 3 to 8 cubic yards (2.3 to 6.1 m³), can be fitted with a diversity of work tools and take on the toughest jobs in applications as varied as material handling, scrap yards, quarries and forestry.
Developing new products in the 1950s was a long, laborious process, necessitating many prototype models and thousands of hours of in-the-dirt testing. Today, of course, the power of computer-aided design allows testing virtual prototypes, and today's engineers can perform more evaluation in hours than could their 1950s counterparts in months of field testing.
But the basic philosophy of Caterpillar's product development process has not changed; when designing the 944, engineers asked customers what features they wanted in wheel loaders—and Caterpillar engineers are still asking that question. The 944 engineers learned, for instance, that wheel-loader users wanted loader arms and hydraulic cylinders positioned forward of the operator's compartment. Good idea—because the side-mounted loader arms of the day's competitive designs brushed past the operator's elbows with every bucket load.
Front-mounted lift arms were included in the 944's design and became a Caterpillar exclusive. Through the decades, the design of Cat Medium Wheel Loaders has reflected customer input and the best technology to yield efficient, durable, safe machines that operate at low-costs.
The 944's pre-combustion-chamber diesel engine, for example, gave way in the early 1980s to more efficient direct-injection engines, then to electronically controlled engines, and finally to the Cat ACERT diesels that deliver a combination of fuel efficiency, emissions control and power density that 1950s engineers would have thought impossible.
Likewise, early-loader hydraulic systems, using gear-type pumps and mechanical controls, have been refined into the Cat Medium Wheel Loaders' extraordinarily efficient load-sensing systems that use variable-displacement pumps and Caterpillar-designed pressure-compensating valves to reduce horsepower draw and save fuel. In the cab, long-throw hydraulic control levers gave way to lower-effort pilot controls, then to intuitive electro-hydraulic joysticks that provide Cat machines with precise hydraulic response in all operating situations.
The list goes on: Caterpillar was an early pioneer of articulated steering, using proprietary center-hinge designs that greatly improved maneuverability—and today's optional Command Control Steering allows lock-to-lock articulation through just ± 70 degrees of wheel turn. The 944's drum brakes gave way to more efficient disc brakes, then to internal multiple-disc brakes in the Cat Four-Piece Axle, which is an exclusive component in every Medium Wheel Loader.
Power-shift transmissions, once controlled by mechanical linkage, are now electronically managed and feature Variable Shift Control to match gear-change patterns to the application. Belt-driven cooling fans have given way to fuel-saving on-demand fans; loader linkages have been strengthened and simplified; and the stark operator stations of early loaders are now the ultimate in operator comfort, convenience and safety (even allowing hands-off operation when the optional Aggregate AutoDig system automates the loading process).
And compared to the 944, today's Cat Medium Wheel Loaders really do think for themselves. The exclusive Cat Monitoring System continually checks machine health; Product Link, a satellite-based system, provides two-way information exchange between onboard machine systems and the Caterpillar Network Operations Center; and the Equipment Manager System places Product Link data on the owner's computer screen, allowing efficient management of machine utilization, maintenance/repair decisions and security risks.
W. S. Zeigler's words are still true of Cat Medium Wheel Loaders; these machines still "enable operators to perform their work quickly and well, and give them safer working conditions." Today's machines also still deliver the essential reliability and durability that has been the hallmark of Cat Wheel Loaders from the very start—and today's machines, building on the persistent refinement of their predecessors, continue to add even greater value for the operator, the owner—and the environment.
907H Rounds Out Strong Cat® Compact Wheel Loader Lineup
The new Cat® 907H, the latest addition to the Cat Compact Wheel Loader range, fits between the popular 906H and 908H models to give buyers even more choices. The new 70-net horsepower (52-kW) model features a skid steer loader style coupler, auxiliary hydraulic system, Cat C3.4 diesel engine, two-speed hydrostatic drive, standard differential locks in both axles, parallel-lift Z-bar loader linkage and high-visibility operator's station. Optional features—including high-flow hydraulics, ride control and speeder transmission—further enhance the 907H's performance and versatility in a diversity of landscaping, industrial and general-construction applications. The hydraulically actuated skid-steer-loader-type coupler, which the 907H shares with the 906H and 908H, allows use of many of the hydro-mechanical work tools that customers presently own for Cat Skid Steer, Multi-Terrain and Compact Track Loaders. This capability expands the 907H's versatility and allows the machine to be easily integrated into existing small-equipment fleets. Standard auxiliary hydraulics, proportional third-function valve and continuous-flow capability provide a complete control package for work tools such as trenchers and stump grinders. The optional 33-gpm (125-L/min) high-flow system handles the most demanding tools—cold planers and snow blowers, for example. Like its 906H and 908H counterparts, the new 907H features articulated steering for precise maneuvering and axle oscillation for positive traction in rough terrain. For added traction in poor underfoot conditions, differential locks (in both axles) can be engaged on the move to reduce wheel spin and tire wear. With parallel-lift Z-bar loader linkage, the fork-equipped 907H places loads surely and precisely, and when fitted with its 1.3-cubic yard (1.0 m³) bucket, the 907H works aggressively and has ample dump clearance. In all applications, the Tier-3-compliant Cat C3.4 engine delivers smooth power, excellent fuel economy and long life.
Operator amenities, serviceability and options
Any of the three operator stations available for the 907H—canopy, Comfort Cab or Deluxe Cab—ensures safety and comfort. An optional air ride seat combined with low-effort steering and pilot controls reduce operator fatigue and provide convenient, intuitive operation. The multi-functional joystick provides basic lift and tilt functions, as well as controls for selecting travel direction, travel speed, third-function hydraulics, continuous flow or activating the differential lock. The roomy 907H cabs are 5 inches higher than the 906H cab, providing expansive visibility to work tools and the surrounding work area. To encourage good routine maintenance, the 907H has a high-opening engine hood and side service doors that allow easy, ground-level access to all major components and service points. The articulating hydraulic-oil cooler gives ready access to the radiator, and both are easily cleaned. Vertical, spin-on filters (engine-oil, hydraulic and fuel) are replaced quickly with no spillage, and S.O.S. valves and pressure taps are conveniently located in the engine compartment. The 907H's capability to handle hydro-mechanical work tools is enhanced with an optional wiring harness that permits fourth-function control (broom angling, for instance). In addition, an available creeper feature, complete with hand throttle, allows the operator to easily maintain consistent, slow ground speed, while the work tool runs at high speed for efficient production. The optional speeder transmission, which adds a two-range gearbox to the drive train, provides travel speeds to 21.7 mph (35 km/h) and incorporates hydraulically actuated, oil-immersed disc brakes in the front axle. Available ride control cushions boom-cylinder movement during load-and-carry operations, resulting in a smoother ride for the operator and less material spillage. For more information about the Cat 907H Compact Wheel Loader, customers should contact a local Cat® dealer or visit www.cat.com.
907H Basic Specifications
- Engine power, net
- 70 hp (52 kW)
- Operating weight
- 12,809 lb (5 810 kg)
- Bucket capacity (GP)
- 1.3 yd³ (1.0 m³)
- Wheel Base
- 85 in (2 170 mm)
- Fuel tank capacity
- 20.6 gal (78 L)
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