Caterpillar launches next generation excavators in Singapore

Caterpillar and its exclusive local dealer, Tractors Singapore Limited, recently celebrated the official launch of the next generation 20-t-class Cat 320 and 320 GC excavators for Singapore market. These new models are designed to increase operating efficiency, lower fuel and maintenance costs, and improve operator comfort. The Cat 320 is ideal for medium- to heavy-duty applications, while the Cat 320 GC is intended for low- to medium-duty applications.

“Our new machines already made their debut in Australia and the Philippines, and now in Singapore. We will also make official launches in other countries across Asia Pacific,” said Robert Leo, Caterpillar’s product application specialist.

“The Cat 320 and 320 GC excavators are equipped with a lot of new technologies that will make works much easier, faster and more cost effective. We expect them to be popular among customers in Asia Pacific.”

Higher efficiency

The Cat 320 is equipped with integrated Cat Connect Technology, which can increase operating efficiency by up to 45% over traditional grading operations, according to Caterpillar. Offering guidance for depth, slope and horizontal distance to grade, the Cat Grade with 2D system helps operators reach desired grade quickly and accurately. Using the system’s E-fence feature enables the machine to work safely under structures or near traffic by preventing any part of the excavator from moving outside operator-defined set points. The standard 2D system can be upgraded to Cat Grade with Advanced 2D or Cat Grade with 3D.

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Standard Grade Assist automates boom, stick and bucket movements, so operators can stay on grade simply and effortlessly with single-lever digging. Cat Payload on-board weighing, integrated on the Cat 320 at the factory, delivers precise load targets and increased loading efficiency with on-the-go weighing and real-time payload estimates without swinging to prevent truck over/under-loading. Cat Link hardware and software connect jobsites to the office and provide customers with machine-critical operating information.

“Ensuring high efficiency has always been the biggest concerns of our customers here in Singapore,” shared Alan Ow, managing director of Tractors Singapore Limited. “We are confident that these new technologies will help to increase efficiency and ease this long-term problem on jobsites.”

Fuel savings

The new excavators consume 15 to 20% less fuel than the previous, corresponding models, said Caterpillar. New Smart mode operation automatically matches engine and hydraulic power to digging conditions, optimising both fuel consumption and performance. Engine speed is automatically lowered when there is no hydraulic demand to further reduce fuel usage.

“Fuel consumption has always been an issue raised by our customers, apart from machine speed and power,” explained Mr Leo. “With our new excavators, we’ve managed to reduce the engine speed to 16-15 rpm. And because the rpm is reduced, we need to make sure that the pump flow is at the same level that customers require. So we’ve increased the size of the pump – this way, we haven’t lost any hydraulic flow while allowing the machine to run at low rpm to save fuel.”

The new cooling system employs multiple electric fans, which independently monitor hydraulic oil, radiator and air-to-air after-cooler temperatures to deliver the exact airflow required. With a new hydraulic system built for responsiveness and efficiency, the Cat 320 and 320 GC feature a new main control valve that eliminates the need for pilot lines, reduces pressure losses and lowers fuel consumption. Caterpillar said that fewer hydraulic lines on the excavators also result in 20% less oil required, lowering long-term operating costs.

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“The new electronic control sends signal to the hydraulic valve, which then activates hydraulics for the boom, stick and bucket, making it more efficient. Without the pilot system (as used in the previous models) - which requires hydraulic hoses - we can minimise the use of oil,” said Mr Leo.

Offering extended and more synchronised maintenance intervals, the new Cat excavators do more work at a lower cost and reduce maintenance costs by up to 15% over the previous series. Featuring higher dirt capacity, the new Cat hydraulic return filter boasts a 3,000-hour service life, a 50% increase over previous filters. A new Cat air filter with integrated pre-cleaner and primary and secondary filters extends service life to 1,000 hours, a 100% increase over previous designs, while a new fuel tank cap filter extends service life to 2,000 hours. The three-fuel system filters each offer a 500-hour service interval.

All daily maintenance checks for engine oil, fuel water separator, fuel tank water and sediment, and cooling system level are performed from ground level, making the routine faster, easier and safer. “We believe customers can save about 15 percent of maintenance costs on our new machines compared to the previous models,” revealed Mr Leo.

New cab

The next generation Cat excavator cabs come fitted with standard features like keyless push-button start, large 203-mm touchscreen monitor with jog dial keys for control and sound-suppressed rollover protective structures (ROPS) to offer excellent operator comfort, safety and quiet operation. Programmable joystick buttons for response and pattern allow the operator to dial in productivity settings. New advanced viscous mounts are designed to minimise cab vibration by up to 50% over previous models, thus reducing operator fatigue.

Equipped with a choice of Comfort, Deluxe or Premium cab packages, the new spacious cab has large front, rear and side windows to enhance visibility to the front and side of the excavator. Optional 360-degree visibility combines images from multiple machine-mounted cameras to enhance the operator’s sightlines in all directions. In addition, automatic climate control maintains internal cab temperature settings, regardless of external ambient temperatures.

Mr Leo further highlighted, “There has been a shift in the mindset of customers in Asia Pacific. Many of them now find machines with technologies useful, because they can help complete works easier and faster, which ultimately lead to significant time and cost savings.”

“We are thrilled to be part of an excellent team to pioneer change in Singapore. It is an exciting moment for the local construction industry,” enthused Mr. Ow.

“Technology is here to stay and we will keep incorporating updated technologies into our future machines,” concluded Mr. Leo.

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Website: Caterpillar ( or Tractors Singapore (

This article has been updated in August with quotes from Robert Leo and Alan Ow. More pictures of the machines and official launch in Singapore, check out our facebook page.

The new Cat 320 and 320 GC excavators have also been featured in the Jul/Aug 2018 issue of Southeast Asia Construction. You can read it online or download the pdf version.