CAT launches 304 & 305 CR mini excavators, completes next-gen range

CAT's next-gen 304 mini excavator scooping material on a job site.

CAT launches the last of its next-generation mini excavators with the 4-tonne 304 and 5-tonne 305 CR. The company claims that, compared to the previous E2 models, these excavators offer a 20% increase in performance capabilities and a 10% decrease in owner and operator costs.

Now, from 1.5 to 10-tonnes, all of CAT’s mini hydraulic excavators in the range offer common features and consistent control layout. This is something that CAT believes will simplify training and operator adaptation.

304—Accessibility and stability

Built with a new, reduced-radius design, the 304 features a narrow, 1700-mm (66.9-in) track width. This, a 254 mm (10 in) reduction in width over the 304 E2, enhances versatility and accessibility.

Also, according to CAT, its reduced-radius design allows for greater stability, both 360-degree and when traveling with loads.

305 CR—Compact performance

CAT claims that the engine in its new 305 CR delivers nearly 9% greater power. Also, hydraulic system improvements provide higher breakout forces —49.2 kN (11,061 lbf) bucket, 28.3 kN (6,362 lbf) standard stick and 25.2 kN (5,665 lbf) long stick—to improve digging efficiency in hard rock applications.

Additionally, it offers 140 mm (5.6 in) deeper digging depth than the 305 E2, which CAT sees leading to an increase in application flexibility. The engineering of its compact radius swing attempts to reduce overhang. Moreover, its 1980-mm (78-in) track width and counterweight option look to offer stability optimization and lift performance in confined spaces.

CAT's next-gen 305 mini excavator lifting a cement riser on a job site.

Advanced options and a more powerful engine

With these new next-gen models, CAT offers an angle dozer blade option, which optimizes applications like backfilling and grading. This angle blade moves 45 degrees left or right of center. Control of its movement comes by way of the right-hand joystick, while the left joystick handles machine drive.

Furthermore, CAT claims that its Stick Steer System simplifies operation by allowing operators to switch from lever/pedal steering to joystick. Two travel speed ranges and standard cruise control facilitate minimum operator interaction.

Meeting U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final and EU Stage V emission standards, the CAT C1.7 Turbo engine delivers higher power than the previous C2.4 engine. Standard auto idle, auto engine shutdown and load-sensing hydraulics with variable displacement pump help to lower fuel usage at the site for more affordable operation. High main-relief pressures, coupled with flow rates, generates the hydraulic capacity for high digging and lifting forces and use of a range of attachments. The standard auxiliary system features quick-disconnect lines and provides the choice of one-way, two-way or continuous flow.

CAT's next-gen 304 mini excavator lifting a rock using bucket and thumb on a job site.

The new generation’s comfort and savings

In terms of the operator’s space, both machines feature sealed and pressurized cab enclosures, available with heating and/or A/C. Also, the cab features large windows and skylight. A touchscreen display option provides machine function control and easy monitoring. A canopy option is also available in some regions.

Maintenance checks for the 304 and 305 CR can be made from ground level through side doors. Also, CAT claims that expansion of the use of common parts will help reduce inventory investment and lower repair costs. Thus, an increase in service interval duration leads to more time on the job and less time under repair.