Real-world testing confirms system benefits: higher accuracy, lower costs

Cat® GRADE with Cross Slope is a fully integrated blade control system for M Series motor graders. It simplifies machine operation, reduces fatigue and eliminates road spec variation—while saving time, fuel and material.

Putting it to the test

To quantify the benefits of Cat GRADE with Cross Slope, we conducted an 8-month production study with real operators using the technology in the real world. Here’s the 4-1-1 on the testing process:

  • Team. Seven people participated, including folks from Spink County South Dakota Highway Department, South Dakota State University, Cat dealer Butler Machinery and Caterpillar.
  • Machines. Two 140M2 AWD motor graders were tested, one with Cat GRADE with Cross Slope and one without.
  • Operators. Two experienced guys ran the machines, performing their everyday job functions.
  • Location. Testing took place in rural South Dakota on two two-mile stretches of gravel road, each with similar elevation profiles.
  • Impartiality. Data was collected by team members from South Dakota State and Spink County.

What did the data show?

Cat GRADE with Cross Slope had a powerful impact on efficiency and costs. Here are just two benefits the technology delivered:

  • Improved accuracy. The machine equipped with Cat GRADE with Cross Slope hit the target specification for road crown (4.5%) much more consistently than the other grader. Its average deviation from target was just .10%, compared to 1.3% for the machine the grader that didn’t have the technology. With higher accuracy came higher efficiency and lower costs.
  • Better fuel economy. The higher-tech machine burned much less fuel during the 8-month test—more than 400 gallons less—at a cost of over $1,400. Projected fuel savings for the county’s five graders over a five-year period were nearly $55,000.