Bracalba Quarry, Qld. - A Rock Solid Operation

The Cat® 980K Wheel Loader is the latest addition to the Cat Rental fleet utilised at Bracalba Quarry, situated west of Caboolture in the foothills of the Glasshouse Mountains. The 980K complements a notable fleet of Cat equipment onsite including 773E trucks, 972H and 990H wheel loaders, a 140M motor grader and a 740 articulated truck.

The 980K is powered by a Tier 4 interim/Stage IIIB compliant Cat C13 ACERT™ engine delivering 274kW of power. A vastly improved power train, featuring a lock up clutch (LUC) torque convertor and optimised transmission shift point strategy, provide faster acceleration, better fuel efficiency and smoother shifting. The Electro-Hydraulic Joystick steering control system is noticeably lighter and more comfortable to use than previous systems. Tallying loads, controlling inventory and the ability to weigh on-the-go to within ± 1% is now possible thanks to the Cat Payload Control System (PCS).

In the cab there’s improved sound deadening, increased visibility, climate control air conditioning, a reverse camera, MP3 connectivity, electric mirrors and a more effective ride control system.

Charlie Durham, loader operator at Bracalba Quarry, is a walking commercial for the new 980K wheel loader, and is one of the most experienced operators in the country to have spent time on a 980K.

Charlie told us, “The ride control system in the new 980K is that good, it makes you wonder if it was ever switched on in any loader I've operated before. There was never anything wrong with the steering in the H Series, but it's so much lighter in the new K. I get out of the machine at the end of the day and I don’t feel like I’ve been at work.”

When asked about the performance aspect of the loader, Charlie said, “The lock up clutch torque convertor is excellent; the machine is so fast and so smooth getting up to speed that I can do more with this machine than I could with the H Series. I can’t believe how quick this thing is for a 30 ton loader. It burns roughly the same as the 972H, but it does more work than the 980H. On average it’s burning around 200 litres per day whereas the 980H was doing about 250, or a bit more.”

Brian Smith, also from Bracalba Quarry added, “I’ve noticed that the machine is a lot quieter when you’re in or around it. But probably the biggest improvement is in the pushing power. It seems to have heaps of grunt but it doesn't spin wheels or lurch around like some loaders used to. Plus they've moved the loader frame around a bit and made it so you can see right down to the back of the bucket. The bucket is also a bit lower and it makes it really easy to see what you’re doing and where your bucket is. I don’t know if it's the extra power, the shape of the bucket or a bit of both, but it just fills the bucket so easily.”

Brian was just as impressed as Charlie with the ground speed of the machine, adding “When we hot seat over lunch and I get on Charlie’s machine, it’s like taking a break in itself.”

To find out more about Cat K Series Wheel Loaders contact your local Cat dealer.