Cat packs 130 hp into new next gen 317 excavator

Caterpillar’s new next generation 317 and 317 GC excavators are delivering increased performance while reducing owning and operating costs.

The new 317 excavator features an operating weight of 18,200 kg (40,200 lbs) as well as multiple standard Caterpillar technologies to boost operating efficiencies by up to 45 per cent.

“It’s really about performance. We’ve increased the performance level and maintained 40,000 lbs,” said Brian Stellbrink, product application specialist for excavators at Caterpillar.

“What we tried to do, and have delivered, is a machine with the absolute maximum power to weight ratio.”

The 317 is powered by the Cat C4.4, which delivers 130 hp. Equipped with three engine operating modes, the 317 is capable of matching performance to the job, resulting in significant fuel savings potential.

Smart mode automatically matches engine and hydraulic power to working conditions to improve efficiency, while eco mode minimizes fuel consumption on less demanding applications. Power mode (available on the 317) constantly provides maximum power and productivity for the most demanding projects.

“We’ve taken the horsepower up to 130 hp, which is really unheard of in this size range,” Stellbrink said.

Both the 317 and 317 GC models deliver a maximum digging depth of 6.4 metres, a maximum reach of 9 metres and a maximum loading height of 6.28 metres.

317 GC

The 17.3-tonne 317 GC is powered by the 119 hp Cat 3.6 engine. Compared to the 317, the GC model is available at a lower price point, btu is equipped with less tech.

“Really the idea behind those GC choices is to provide customers with solutions to work and focus on lower owning and operating costs,” Stellbrink said.

“You have a machine that’s performing at the E and F series levels that have been proving themselves in the field for six, seven or eight years now.”


The excavators’ responsive hydraulic system balances the need for power and efficiency to deliver precise digging. A new main valve control eliminates the need for pilot lines, reduces pressure losses and lowers fuel consumption.

Both the new Cat 317 and 317 GC models come standard with new Cat Advansys bucket tips, which offer increased life, excellent retention and fast changes to maximize uptime.

Next gen tech

Cat’s performance-enhancing technology increases operator efficiency by up to 45 per cent, delivering best-in-class productivity for the new Cat 317 Next Gen excavator.

Cat Grade with 2D automatically guides depth, slope and horizontal distance to grade through the touchscreen monitor, making less experienced operators more accurate. The system is also upgradable to Cat Grade with Advance 2D or Cat Grade with 3D.

Using Cat Payload, operators receive on-the-go weighing and real-time payload estimates to improve loading efficiency. As well, all critical operating data — such as payload summaries, fuel usage and fault codes — are captured by Product Link  and accessed by fleet managers and office personnel via Vision Link and the Cat App to boost fleet management efficiency.

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Cat Remote Services technologies leverage reported telematics data from the 317 to allow Cat dealers to remotely keep the excavator operating at maximum production and efficiency.

Caterpillar’s Remote Troubleshoot analyzes real-time machine operating data to allow dealer technicians to run diagnostic testing and pinpoint issues without impacting machine productivity, saving a service trip to the jobsite.

Remote Flash ensures the excavator is operating with the most current version of on-board software, while working around the machine’s production schedule, so it delivers high performance, maximum efficiency and minimum downtime.

Reduced maintenance  

The Cat 317 and 317 GC excavators feature extended and more synchronized maintenance intervals to lower maintenance costs by up to 20 per cent, compared to the previous excavator series.

A new hydraulic oil filter delivers improved filtration and a 50 per cent longer, 3,000-hour change interval. System longevity is also improved through a new anti-drain valves that keep the hydraulic oil clean during filter replacement. Filter life and maintenance intervals are easily tracked on the in-cab LCD monitor.

Facilitating daily maintenance routines, all checkpoints, including oil, are accessible from ground-level. A second engine oil dipstick offers service technicians the convenience of checking and filling the oil on top of the excavator.

All Cat S·O·S ports are accessed from ground level for quick and convenient fluid sample extraction for analysis.

New cab

Larger cab designs for the Cat 317 and 317 GC excavators make entering and exiting the cab easier and boost operator comfort and productivity.

The new spacious cabs feature a low-profile design plus large front, rear and side windows, significantly improving visibility compared to the F series models. The 317 GC comes standard with the Cat comfort cab, while the 317 offers the choice between deluxe and premium cab designs.

Both of the new next gen excavators come standard with rearview and right-hand sideview cameras to improve visibility of the operating area.

The Cat 317 may be upgraded to 360-degree visibility to see objects and personnel around the excavator in a single view. Enhanced sounds suppression lowers interior noise levels for increased operator comfort, while the new standard radio’s Bluetooth connectivity allows operators to make hands-free calls.