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New Cat forest machines increase profitability for loggers

Cat's new 548 and 548 LL forestry machines are designed to improve efficiency and save owners money.
Cat's new 548 and 548 LL forestry machines are designed to improve efficiency and save owners money.

Caterpillar announces the launch of two new Cat Forest Machine models, the 548 and the 548 LL. These machine platforms increase profitability for loggers by maximizing efficiency, increasing production, and reducing owning and operating costs.

The Cat 548 and 548 LL and other 500 series Forest Machine models meet U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final emission standards and feature outstanding fuel efficiency and optimized work tools while increasing horsepower, swing torque, lift capacity, and tractive effort.

Cat Forest Machines are versatile, purpose-built track machines that can be customized to perform a complete range of tasks for forestry operations and contractors. Over the last 20 years they have become the industry standard in many logging applications.

The Cat 548 forestry excavator is configured for forestry tasks ranging from road building and site preparation to processing logs roadside or at a landing. The Cat 548 LL is configured as a log loader and can perform log handling tasks, such as shovel logging, loading, power clam/butt-n-top applications, and millyard activities.

The 548 and 548 LL provide ultimate machine efficiency coupled with enhanced performance. Cat components, purpose-built upper and lower frames, and application specific linkage configurations increase machine up time and reduce machine operating costs.

An enhanced hydraulic system delivers a higher level of efficiency and power. Upsized pumps, the layout of components, and back-to-back main control valve all optimize hydraulic oil flow. The result is powerful, multi-functioning hydraulics for strong machine performance, ensuring that work tools function quickly and smoothly to complete work faster with greater fuel economy.

The hydraulic updates enable the 548 and 548 LL engine to run at a lower steady state rpm while maximizing power. Operating at a lower rpm provides significant fuel savings and lowers operating costs.

At the same time, Tier 4 Final technology and features like a variable pitch fan, variable power modes, automatic engine speed control, one-touch idle, and boom and stick regeneration valves provide excellent fuel economy. With automatic engine speed control, the machines will revert automatically to a lower idle speed when there is a lull in operation. Regeneration valves minimize oil required from the pump, which maximizes efficiency.

The 548 and 548 LL are built to perform, powered by a Cat 152 kW (204 hp) C7.1 ACERT engine with increased horsepower that maintains maximum performance under load.  Strong hydraulic horsepower allows the 548 and 548 LL to handle a variety of work tools.

An almost 20 percent boost in swing torque, depending on the model, provides more power to move trees, increasing production and efficiency. Heavy lift mode and other updates enable greater lift capacity to handle larger payloads with improved control, and tractive effort has improved by as much as 13 percent to allow efficient maneuvering when working away from the road.

With boom arrangements and hydraulic systems for specific applications, the 548 and 548 LL are more optimized and effective at road building, loading, processing, shoveling, or millyard unloading and stacking. New track options meet shovel logging and low ground pressure application requirements, and ground saw hydraulics are available for log loader applications. In addition to the standard cab, a purpose-built processor cab option is available for both machine models, and two premium rear entry cab choices are available for the 548 LL.

The Forest Machine cabs have features and technology to reduce fatigue and keep operators working comfortably and productively all day. An air ride seat, which is fully adjustable, includes heating and cooling capability, and a bi-level air conditioner, heater, and defroster keep the cab at a comfortable temperature in any weather. Other features include a satellite radio, 12-volt power supply socket for charging, a larger monitor, and LED lights. Standard tool control software enables quick, efficient selection and swapping of tools.

New rear entry cab options provide convenient access on a fully lit platform through the use of a key fob. For these rear entry cabs, a new cab forward riser and optimized window design improve visibility for shovel logging and other applications, while an innovative cab lock down system increases machine uptime by increasing cab tilt efficiency and minimizing transport time.

The Cat 548 and 548 LL are designed for serviceability. A one-piece engine hood design with two opening angles allows easy access to engine and cooling compartments. The side-by-side engine and hydraulic coolers are convenient for cleaning due to a cooler that hinges out of the way, and fewer cooling fins per inch improves debris flow-through and reduces clogging. Plentiful storage space at ground level allows ready access to tools, equipment, and supplies that operators use daily.

Like other Cat machines, the 548 and 548 LL are designed and built for reliable, durable performance in the severest of forestry applications. Cooling capability is increased 12 percent for trouble-free operation, and the variable pitch, reversing cooling fan maintains optimum fluid temperature. Validated, proven excavator technologies ensure overall machine reliability.

The purpose-built upper frame, high-wide carbody, robust linkage configurations, and heavy-duty enclosures feature thick doubler plates, extra gussets, and other weldments and reinforcements. Upsized 216 mm (8.5 inch) pitch (336 HEX) grease-lubricated tracks provide excellent life in forestry applications.

Company info

100 North East Adams Street
Peoria, IL
US, 61629


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