Caterpillar introduces next-gen 548 forest machine

Caterpillar introduces next-gen 548 forest machine

The new Cat 548 next generation forest machine features several significant design upgrades that make it a top choice for tree work.

“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.”

More production

Available in Log Loader and General Forest configurations, the new 548’s C7.1 twin turbo engine produces 30% more power than the previous series’ engine, enabling the new electrohydraulic control system to deliver 30% more swing torque. Updates to the drive system increase travel speed by 10%, helping the machine cover ground faster than ever.

Smart mode automatically matches engine and hydraulic power to working conditions to help maximize fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance. Cold-start capability of -25˚ F (-32˚ C) and high ambient temperature capability of 126˚ F (52˚ C) enable the machine to work year-round.

Improved comfort and safety

The new Certified Forestry cab with its reinforced structure and large 1.25-in (32-mm) thick polycarbonate windshield enhances operator safety. Available in a choice of rear or side entry, the cab’s interior space is 25% larger, allowing most operators to stand without hitting their head. Field of view from the standard heated and cooled seat is 50% better due to narrower cab pillars, larger panoramic windows, and a flat engine hood. A standard rearview camera enhances visibility as do three available cab risers – 22 in (558 mm), 48 in (1219 mm), and 72 in (1829 mm). 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 working in the summer heat or during subfreezing ambient winter temperatures. Its 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. Operator ID allows each operator to quickly program and store their own machine settings and attachment function preferences. A larger 10-in (254-mm) 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 200 ft (60 m), even when covered by overgrowth or debris.

Lower maintenance costs

Compared Caterpillar’s previous model, the 548 next generation forest machine will consume 50 fewer filters over the course of 12,000 hours, which contributes to lowering maintenance costs by up to 15%.

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

Modern technology

Product Link™ technology captures critical operating data, fault codes, and machine location information to boost fleet management efficiency. When within cell coverage, the machine’s new remote troubleshoot feature analyzes the data captured by Product Link and can share it with the Cat dealer to help save a service trip to the jobsite. Owners can also be sure the 548 is operating with the most current version of software with standard remote flash, which updates machine software around the production schedule.

“More production, greater comfort and safety, and lower maintenance cost is what loggers can expect from our new 548,” said Uitermarkt. “Add in 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.”