Cat enhances its 548 forest machine with Next Gen tech

The Cat 548 forestry machine at work

The new Cat 548 next generation forest machine is equipped with several significant design upgrades compared to its predecessor.

Available in log loader and general forest configurations, the new 548 is equipped with a C7.1 twin turbo engine that produces 30 per cent more power than the previous series’ engine, enabling the new electrohydraulic control system to deliver 30 per cent more swing torque. As well, updates to the drive system boost travel speed by 10 per cent, helping the machine cover ground faster than ever. 

“The 548 earned a reputation for reliable performance,” said Brent Uitermarkt, vice president for Caterpillar’s forestry products. “The next generation 548 will take it to an even higher level.”

Modern tech

The new 548 is equipped with Smart mode, which automatically matches engine and hydraulic power to working conditions to help maximize fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance. The machine has a cold-start capability of -32 C and high ambient temperature capability of 52 C that enables the machine to work year-round.

As well, Product Link technology captures operating data, fault codes and machine location information to boost fleet management efficiency. 

When within mobile network coverage, the machine’s new remote troubleshoot feature analyzes the data captured by Product Link and can share it with the owner’s Cat dealer to help save a service trip to the jobsite. The 548 will operate with the most current version of software thanks to standard remote flash, which updates machine software around the production schedule.

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“More production, greater comfort and safety, and lower maintenance cost is what loggers can expect from our new 548,” Uitermarkt said. “Add in a dealer network that’s dedicated to the forestry business and you get a winning combination of machine and support that really can’t be beat.”

New forestry cab

The new forestry cab features a reinforced structure and large 32-mm thick polycarbonate windshield to enhance operator safety. Available in a choice of rear or side entry, the cab’s interior space is 25 per cent larger, allowing most operators to stand without hitting their head. 

The field of view from the standard heated and cooled seat is improved by 50 per cent due to narrower cab pillars, larger panoramic windows and a flat engine hood. 

The new Cat 548 is also equipped with a standard rear-view camera designed to enhance visibility as do three available cab risers. The available Cat easy lock cab tilting system on the log loader configuration makes for much easier transport.

Ingress and egress are easier due to the cab’s wider and taller door and tilt-up console on the operator’s seat for the side-entry cab. 

The machine’s new dual HVAC system keeps operators comfortable regardless of temperatures. 

Furthermore, the 548’s specially insulated roof and improved window and door seals keep in-cab noise levels low.

Operators can start the 548’s engine with a simple push of a button or available Bluetooth key fob and unique Operator ID. An operator ID allows each user to quickly program and store their own machine settings and attachment function preferences. 

A larger 25 cm high-resolution touchscreen monitor delivers intuitive navigation through operating menus and includes a digital version of the operator’s manual for quick reference. An available Cat PL161 attachment locator assists in finding work tools within a range of 60 metres, even when covered by overgrowth or debris.

Reduced maintenance costs

Compared to the previous model, the 548 next generation forest machine will consume 50 fewer filters throughout the course of 12,000 hours, which contributes to lowering maintenance costs by up to 15 per cent.

“We improved our filters and our service intervals, and we improved ground-level access to service points to make daily maintenance quick and safe,” Uitermarkt said. 

“Our new electrohydraulic control system eliminates the need for a pilot filter and pilot oil altogether.”

Fuel filters feature a synchronized 1,000-hour change interval, which is double the service life of the previous model. 

A new hydraulic oil return filter improves filtration and delivers a 3,000-hour service life, which is 50 per cent longer than previous designs. The high-efficiency cooling fan runs only when necessary, and reversing intervals are programmable to enable the fan to keep the radiator cores clean without interrupting work.