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972H Wheel Loader

Last month at Caterpillar's Aurora, Ill., plant, new additions to the H-series family of wheel loaders were introduced. This included the 972H, which

Last month at Caterpillar's Aurora, Ill., plant, new additions to the H-series family of wheel loaders were introduced. This included the 972H, which is designed for aggregate operations. It weighs 54,908 pounds, has a 5- to 6-cubic-yard bucket, and has a breakout force of 51,750 pounds.

Its Cat C13 engine is electronically configured for constant net horsepower, regardless of parasitic loads such as air conditioning. Maximum flywheel power is 307 horsepower. Electronic control of the variable-speed on-demand fan, engine coolant temperature, transmission oil, hydraulic oil and air inlet manifold are constantly monitored. This data is used to maintain an appropriate fan-speed level. The cooling system is isolated from the engine compartment by a nonmetallic shield. The fan draws clean air from the back and exhausts it out the sides and top of hood.

An electronic planetary powershift transmission with automatic shift capability was designed and built by Caterpillar. It has full-power speed and directional changes. Variable shift control allows the transmission to upshift at lower engine temperatures, the company says.

The machine's load-sensing hydraulic system automatically adjusts to operating conditions, which improves fuel efficiency, the company says. Caterpillar says to expect more rimpull into the pile and a 20% increase in lift force. Electro-hydraulic implement controls allow programmable kickouts to prevent spillage. The implement control console features an optional forward/neutral/reverse switch for faster directional change. Autodig is optional.

The H series has a non-metallic hood with reinforcing ribs and a one-piece counterweight. Its grease fittings are grouped on the right-side service platform that covers all the remote pressure ports for the steering, hydraulic and brake systems. A hydraulic service center, located in a swing-out door below the right-side access platform, allows access to transmission oil and hydraulic filters. There are ground-level sight gauges for the transmission, hydraulic oil and radiator coolant.

The cab is equipped with a standard Cat C-500 series air-suspension seat that is six-way adjustable. It also has a cast one-piece back and seat pan, an automotive-style lumbar support, and a right-hand armrest that integrated implement controls. The heated seat is optional.

Both conventional and Command Control steering are available. Conventional steering has a hand-metering unit hydraulic steering system with load-sensing to direct power to the system only when needed. Command Control steering is a load-sensing system that links the steering wheel and frame angle positions for control. Full machine articulation on Command Control steering is accomplished with ±70-degree turns, compared to 360-degree turns on the conventional steering. The main control panel on the 972H is located high on the right rollover-protection post.

The bucket is visible through distortion-free flat glass that stretches to the floor. Wet-arm wipers are on both the front and back. Roof channels direct rain from the corners of the cab, and an overhang on all sides protect against glare. An optional windshield-cleaning package offers additional steps and hand rails for cleaning front windows. Rear-vision cameras and high-intensity discharge lighting are optional.

The 972H is available with a yard loader value package. Its options include autolube, aggregate autodig, payload control and ride control. The payload control system with scales on the bucket are a factory-installed option. High-lift arrangements are available for additional dump clearance. And both two-valve and three-valve packages can be factory installed for conventional and Command Control machines. General-purpose buckets, multi-purpose buckets, side dump buckets and material-handling buckets are all available. Quick couplers can change attachments in seconds without the operator leaving the cab, the company says. A cast corner adapter may be incorporated to bucket design that allows a tooth to be placed on the extreme corner of the bucket base. Reversible bolt-on cutting edges and a bolt-on half-arrow cutting edge also is available. The bucket teeth can be installed and removed without tools.

Information provided by Caterpillar