The all new Cat® D11 is more than just a facelift and change in nomenclature from the previous "T" series. In line with the manufacturers decision to drop the alphabetic series designator from the end of the model numbers across all product groups, the update model of the D11T is now the D11, plain and simple. Serial number prefixes are now the reference point for superseding versions.
The R&D team at Caterpillar have made a lot of improvements in the new D11, some subtle and others more immediately evident. Changes in engine and transmission software and updated componentry for example, boast fuel savings of up to 8% which is huge when you're talking the volumes of fuel consumed in a bulk push application on a double shift roster.
Seasoned Operator Trainer Assessor with National Group, Roy Bamford was one of the first Operators in Australia to get in the seat and draw some comparisons to the previous models. Having spent time on the D11N, D11R and D11T models, Roy gave us his insights into the evolution of Caterpillar's largest and most imposing track type tractor.
As you'd expect, comfort is a big issue for all Operators, and Roy was not disappointed with the D11. Ergonomically, Roy believed the new D11 was an improvement on the former T series noting the cab layout, function of controls and touch screen monitor as key elements in the reduction of operator fatigue and improved productivity. With the capacity to tailor the performance of the machine and the sensitivity of functions more so than with previous variants, the operator can set up automatic functions and maintain high quality work produced with minimal effort.
Roy also noted the reduction in sound levels heard at the Operator's station as a vast improvement, although he did have an appreciation for the old 3508 engine in his previous D11R with its rhythmic V8 song and whistling turbos. One key factor in the improved fuel efficiency of the D11 is the load sensing hydraulics which improve efficiency and reduce energy loss. Variable displacement piston hydraulic pumps constantly vary their output to meet the needs of the task or operation meaning less wastage and improved sensitivity when its needed for finer operations.
An overall increase in weight also makes the new D11 more stable and improves traction. Roy noted that despite the increased mass, the new D11 seemed more nimble and manoeuvrable when working in difficult situations such as pushing shot rock. The improved geometry of the blade tip circuit also gives the new D11 increased range of motion enabling the ability to "carry" more in your blade, further improving productivity when measured by the hour, or by the litre of fuel burnt.
When backed by the Caterpillar dealer network's industry leading parts availability and after sales support, the new D11 is sure to establish itself as a stalwart in the industry. Further improvements are difficult to fathom at this time, but you can be assured the team at Caterpillar are already working on it.
National Group received the first new D11 off the production line, delivered by Hastings Deering in December 2019.