Caterpillar Inc. recently unveiled the first model in its new line of hybrid excavators, the Cat® 336E H. The new 336E H will be sold and serviced exclusively through the global Cat dealer network in Feb. 2013, with factory shipments beginning in March 2013.
The Cat 336E H uses a new hydraulic hybrid technology developed by Caterpillar. “A hybrid is independent of any particular technology—it doesn’t have to be electric,” said Ken Gray, global product manager for large hydraulic excavators for Caterpillar’s Excavation Division. “There are many ways to store and reuse energy, including our patented hydraulic hybrid system featured on the Cat 336E H.”
“Caterpillar has developed, built, and tested electric hybrid excavators, but—until now—we had not found a hybrid approach that would actually lower our customers’ owning and operating costs,” Gray said. “Large excavators operate in high-production applications in which fuel is a very significant operating cost for our customers. So, the 336E H, the hybrid version of our workhorse 336E, is ideal for introducing our new hydraulic hybrid technology, with its more than 300 filed patents.”
The 336E H also meets stringent Tier 4 Interim/Stage IIIB emission standards and is designed to be extraordinarily quiet, too. Moreover, it has all of the same advantages of the 336E with the biggest difference between the two models being even greater fuel efficiency. To achieve added fuel savings, the design of the 336E H uses three building block technologies that:
- Conserve fuel with engine power management via the Cat Electronic Standardized Programmable (ESP) pump, which smoothly transitions between the hydraulic hybrid power sources, engine and accumulator.
- Optimize performance using restriction management via the patented Cat Adaptive Control System (ACS) valve, which intelligently manages restrictions and flows to seamlessly control machine motion with no loss of power, and to ensure operators experience no difference in control, hydraulic power or lift capability.
- Reuse energy via the hydraulic hybrid swing system, which captures the excavator’s upper structure swing brake energy in accumulators, and then releases the energy during swing acceleration.
Company officials say customers can expect the 336E H to use up to 25% less fuel compared to a standard 336E, and up to 33% less fuel than the 330/336D. Even in low-intensity swing applications, customers will still experience significant fuel savings because of the Conserve and Optimize technologies. (Additional factors, such as operator skill and jobsite conditions, also affect fuel savings.)
Because the 336E H burns less fuel and reduces regulated engine emissions, owning and operating costs will be dramatically lower compared to the standard machine, and its carbon footprint will be smaller, as well. Precisely when customers will recoup their initial investment in a 336E H depends on fuel prices and their applications. Assuming today’s fuel prices and a high-production application for a 336E H, Caterpillar estimates customers can realistically expect to see a return on their investment for the hybrid excavator model in as little as one year.
Caterpillar designed the 336E H to deliver the same durability and reliability customers expect of all Cat machines, including large excavators like the standard 336E. The design of the 336E H uses Cat hydraulic components. Also like a standard machine, 336E H components can be replaced or rebuilt to maximize the hybrid’s service life.
Customer support for the 336E H is provided exclusively by the on-the-ground support of Caterpillar’s worldwide dealer network. The 336E H can also be bundled with extended warranties and service contracts.