Revolutionary new seat-suspension technology for Cat® D Series wheel skidders is delivering unmatched comfort for operators and an improved bottom line for logging contractors.
The Cat Advanced Ride Management (Cat ARM) seat-suspension system features semi-active suspension that dampens vibration and minimizes end stop events, significantly improving operator comfort. “Semi-active” means the suspension senses motion and adjusts its rate of damping in real time to respond to changing ground conditions.
Cat ARM automatically applies higher damping in rough ground conditions like those found in clear-cut applications and lower damping under smoother conditions, such as well-kept skid trails.
A traditional air ride suspension system has limitations. When a skidder hits a stump or dips into a hole, for example, the seat moves fast enough that a traditional air ride suspension system may not fully dampen the movement, allowing the seat to hit a physical end stop. These end stop events cause fatigue, and operators often point to them as the cause of a poor or uncomfortable ride.
An analysis by Caterpillar comparing Cat ARM and a traditional air ride seat suspension showed that Cat ARM virtually eliminated end stop events, reducing vertical acceleration (g-force) by up to 80%. It does a better job of stabilizing the operator and providing a smoother ride.
Casey Bowman of Bowman & Sons Logging in Danville, Ga., is one of the first loggers to have a Cat D Series wheel skidder retrofitted with Cat ARM. “I never feel the seat hit the stops anymore, which helps my back feel a good deal better at the end of the day,” he says.
Besides greatly improving operator comfort, Cat ARM also delivers bottom-line value for logging contractors. By improving comfort and reducing fatigue, it allows operators to work productively for longer periods of time. Increased utilization of the skidder boosts revenue and profit potential, particularly in the case of long skids, when return speed and cycle times are critical. Cat ARM may also help contractors extend skid distances, minimizing operating costs for the jobsite.
In addition, many contractors use the lowest ply-rated tire possible on wheel skidders to improve ride quality since a lower ply tire provides more cushion or “give.” High-ply tires can increase load-carrying capacity and potentially improve tire life, but typically cause a stiffer ride. With Cat ARM, however, contractors can consider high-ply tire options while keeping operators more comfortable.
All Cat D Series wheel skidders can accept the new suspension. Cat ARM comes standard on 545D and 555D wheel skidders and as an option for the 525D and 535D models.