The design process for this Next Generation Excavator, it’s come to a question: What do we do next? What is Next Generation machine going to be like? For 93 years, our design philosophy has been start with the customer first. Understand their work, how do they make money? When you start with the customer when you bring back into manufacturing, in design, in supply chain, it’s a winning formula. It’s really about the teamwork and the collaboration to really bring a product from its very infancy from a clean sheet design approach with feedback from customers and dealers and internal to have that collaboration around the world. It’s been amazing. The Next Generation Excavator gave us a chance to look at all the machines at the same time and try to leverage common ideas across the platform. The next gen excavator is a modular excavator so you have this basic structure on which you plug-and-play. There’s lots and lots of choices. So we’ve introduced three new models in the 20-ton size class – the 320 GC, the 320 and the 323. The 320 GC is about providing customers the lowest owning and operating cost machine with performance matched to light- to moderate-duty applications. The 320 is really that standard centerline machine. It can really meet a wide range of different applications, whether it’s in basement foundation excavation, all the way up to roadwork. On the other end of the spectrum is the 323. It provides maximum performance, maximum lift for those customers that are pushing the envelope with a 20-ton size machine and really are demanding maximum performance, maximum use of technology, and overall max stability and work tool usage. Some of the key things in the design of this machine is really integrated from Caterpillar using Cat engines throughout all of the Cat components, and really designed together as one complete system to work efficiently. It helps things like robustness of the
machine, helps things like cost. So there are many, many added benefits
that come from an integrated design and using that innovation to integrate
features into different types of components. We have put a lot of effort into simplification of a product, a simplification in terms of the maintenance, filters, and the parts, though it doesn’t require any maintenance for the pilot hydraulics anymore, because now they are electronically controlled. Some of the priorities that we had for the complete redesign of the cab is operator comfort and functionality. We pretty much have moved everything that the operator needs to do if he’s sitting upright in his machine from his elbow forward, he pretty much can do everything he needs to. There’s nothing above his head he needs to reach, or nothing behind his back. Buttons, quick keys, the joysticks, everything is in front of the operator itself so the operators don’t have to do any twisting or turning around. And we made sure that we got this right, because operators spend a lot of time in the machine. During the design and development we put safety first and foremost. We want to make sure not only the operator is safe, but also the working environment is safe. And we accomplish this in many ways. One, increased visibility for the operator not only of the left side of the machine, but also the right side. We’re also driving visibility through the 360 camera availability. Standard rear camera, as well as 360 bird’s-eye cameras. We’ve added some great safety features with this machine. We have E-fence, where the machine will not be able to swing outside the parameters that you set, E-ceiling to keep the boom and the front linkage from going up too high into a power line or to a ceiling or whatnot. With nobody in the industry and excavators in the world is offering Payload and Cat Grade with Assist, the Grade, it all comes standard on our 320, 323. You don’t have to check grade stakes. You don’t have to have a guy in the trench near as often. There’s so many things that you eliminate that allow that operator to be more productive, more efficient. Your job gets done quicker, you get done quicker, you get to the next job, you get paid again. We feel that we’ve stepped up our game a lot. We’ve moved up quite a bit when you add all of those things together. No one else can play in the same park as we can. It’s really a true global platform. A platform that we haven’t revolutionized to this extent in 25 years. To make an intuitive, simple, reliable durable machine. I mean, you have choices and you have a lot of great tools at your fingertips to make you be successful in your business.