The machines are being built at Cat's Peterlee factory in the north east of England and tested in the nearby West Cornford Quarry, which Cat bought 16 years ago as a proving ground after all consented reserves were extracted from the site.
ADTs have been built at the Peterlee factory since 1972 when it was owned by PJB, but Cat-badged trucks have been built there since 1986 when the company was renamed Artix. The facility became a wholly Cat owned operation in 1996.
Operator comfort and performance has been a major focus of the new design with improved air conditioning and better cab sealing to create a dust-free and comfortable working environment. The trucks feature a floor-mounted foot throttle, which came about through consultation with customers and concerns over fatigue from the previous suspended throttle position. This process also resulted in the addition of a grab handle to make the operator more comfortable when operating on rough ground and a relocated radio in the head lining as the previous position in the doorway put it at risk of damage.
The parking brake lever has also been replaced with an easier to use rocker switch operated brake and information supplied to the operator has been improved with addition of a new colour display panel featuring rear view camera visuals.
Externally, the front end of the machine has been radically restyled to make room for the after-treatment processes needed for the Stage IIIB engines - although the new models are also available with Stage II engines for markets outside Europe. Cat said that the front hood has been designed to offer the operator a better view and the headlights are more wide-set than on the previous models to improve visibility. Electrically operated mirrors are also now available as an option.
One of the major changes in the new model is the addition of automatic diff locks, which Cat product specialist Rob MacIntyre said would help improve functionality for both experienced and new operators. "Applying a foot pedal to activate the diff locks can be tiring but inexperienced drivers can also forget to apply the locks when necessary and put the machine at risk of damage through improper use," he said. "The automated system ensures selection only when necessary." The trucks feature the same transmission, which MacIntyre described as "proved technology", but the company has improved the shift control, throttle shifting and shift torque management. According to MacIntyre, this delivers a faster cycle time and greater fuel efficiency.