Heavy Equipment Guide Logo

Cat's 3-tonne mini excavators upgraded with Stick Steer, simplified maintenance, boost in performance

A Cat mini hydraulic excavator digs a trench on a job site
A Cat 303.5 CR mini hydraulic excavator.

Caterpillar has updated its 2.7- to 3.5-tonne mini excavators, expanding the company's Next Generation lineup. This is the first major update to Cat's machines in this size class in more than a decade. The new 302.7 CR, 303 CR and 303.5 CR hydraulic mini excavators feature stick steer, cruise control, operator adjustable settings, and tilt-up canopy or cab as standard.

According to Caterpillar, design changes to the machines in this size class deliver up to 10 percent more performance in travel and trenching over previous models. Hydraulic system upgrades improve lifting performance and cycle times, while customizable operator settings improve efficiency.

The turbocharged Cat C1.1 Turbo engine powers the 302.7 CR and 303 CR models, while the Cat C1.7 powers the 303.5 CR. Both engines meet U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final emissions standards and offer 23.6 hp (17.6 kW) net power. Standard auto idle and auto engine shutdown help to conserve fuel.

A Cat 303 CR mini hydraulic excavator.

Compact radius and interchangeable counterweight

These Next Generation mini hydraulic excavators feature a compact radius swing; fixed undercarriage widths for the 302.7 CR, 303 CR and 303.5 CR are 59.1, 61.0 and 70.1 inches (1,500, 1,550 and 1,780 mm) respectively. An expandable undercarriage option for the 302.7 CR allows the operator to hydraulically retract track width to 53.3 inches (1,355 mm) for fitting into confined spaces and then expand width to 70.1 inches (1,780 mm) for digging and lifting stability.

Interchangeable counterweight packages enable customers to tailor machine weight to job requirements, offering the balance between low ground pressure and lifting performance. The "light" counterweight option adds 221 pounds (100 kg) to machine weight, while the "extra" adds 551 pounds (250 kg).

All three Next Gen models offer both standard- and long-stick configurations to increase machine versatility. Standard digging depths range from 96.5 to 110.6 inches (2,450 to 2,810 mm), while the long stick configuration allows the machines to reach from 104.3- to 122.4-inch (2,650- to 3,110-mm) depths. The standard dozer blade further increases machine flexibility to handle backfilling and grading tasks. It features ample above- and below-grade travel and has a standard float function for easy clean-up. An angle blade option on the 303.5 CR gives further flexibility in backfilling applications.

Efficient load-sensing hydraulics with variable displacement pump provides oil flow reaching 26 gal/min (100 L/min) while saving fuel. High main-relief pressures, coupled with flow rates, generates the hydraulic capacity for high digging and lifting forces and more efficient use of a range of attachments. Complete with quick-disconnect lines, the standard auxiliary system provides the choice of one-way, two-way or continuous flow.

A Cat 302.7 CR mini hydraulic excavator.

Stick Steer simplifies machine control

The Cat Stick Steer System simplifies machine control, and, at the touch of a button, the operator switches from conventional lever/foot-pedal steering controls to low-effort joystick operation. Two travel ranges with speeds reaching 2.8 mph (4.5 km/h) help to facilitate moving around the job site, and standard cruise control minimizes operator interaction when travelling longer distances between work locations.

Optional passcode and Bluetooth key start is available for these mini excavators. Offering an advanced touchscreen option, the large Next Generation display provides intuitive machine function control and easy monitoring of critical operating parameters, such as fuel level, coolant temperature and maintenance records.

A choice between canopy or cab enclosure is available; the sealed and pressurized cab offers a clean and quiet environment for the operator and can be equipped with heating and/or air conditioning. Offering a front window that slides upward to store overhead, the cab's large glass areas plus skylight afford all-around visibility.

Daily maintenance checks done easily at ground level

Common parts are used throughout the line and the damage-resistant exterior construction can reduce parts inventory investment and lower repair costs. Daily maintenance checks are quickly made from ground level through side doors, while the tilt-up cab design offers access to components for servicing. Service intervals have also been increased. Combined, Caterpillar says that these features lower total ownership costs up to 5 percent compared to previous models.

Company info

100 North East Adams Street
Peoria, IL
US, 61629


Read more

Related Articles