Caterpillar reinvents its 980 and 982 medium wheel loaders

Caterpillar has redesigned its 980 and 982 medium-sized wheel loaders to deliver gains in performance and fuel efficiency as well as reduce maintenance costs. 

Equipped with a new powertrain, the new Cat 980 and 982 medium wheel loaders are up to 10 per cent more productive, and lower maintenance costs by up to 20 per cent, when compared to the previous 980M and 982M powershift models. 

“The next gen 980 and 982 are going to redefine the definition of fully loaded,” said Bryan Cherry, Caterpillar’s global product marketing consultant for medium wheel loaders. 

“With more technology as standard, these machines will produce more and cost less to operate than any wheel loader in Caterpillar’s 60 years history of designing and manufacturing wheel loaders.” 

The two new loader models also feature a Caterpillar designed and manufactured continuous variable transmission (CVT) that delivers increased fuel efficiencies up to 35 per cent and lower maintenance costs up to 25 per cent, when compared to the M series models. 

The new wheel loaders include an expanded technology platform to increase machine performance and improve operating efficiency. 

“For the first time ever, the 980 and 982 are available with the XE powertrain, resulting in best-in-class fuel efficiency,” said Maarten de Haas, worldwide product manager at Caterpillar.

Scott Schmidtgall, Caterpillar’s product application specialist for medium wheel loaders, explained the 980 is an ideal three-pass loader for light and medium duties, while the 982 is a “true two-pass” loader. 

“If you have higher production demands, and you want to get up above 30 trucks an hour, that’s where this 982 can really play and pay off for you,” Schmidtgall said. 

“It’s a completely different design than the 980. It’s a different frame, different transmission, different tires and different rims on that machine. It’s a ground up design coming to you from the engineers’ desk at Caterpillar.” 

New XE models

For the first time in the medium size class, Caterpillar offers a CVT powertrain option. The Cat 980 XE and 982 XE models leverages more than 10 years of production experience with the 966K XE, 966M XE and 972M XE models.

The 980 XE and 982 XE feature a high-efficiency continuously variable parallel path drive system. It combines a direct mechanical path from the engine to the wheels with a Hystat variator.

Deep system integration of the Cat CVT, engine, hydraulic and cooling system significantly improve fuel efficiency by up to 35 per cent, through lowering the rated engine speed with high rimpull. The  models feature fine rimpull modulation capability and virtual gears to allow operators a seamless switch from powershift machines. The operating noise levels of the machines is also reduced.

New Caterpillar tech

As standard, the loaders are equipped with Cat Payload with Assist, which provides an accurate weighing of bucket payloads, so operators can load to target. The new technology also includes low-lift-weigh and manual tip-off functions. 

“These machines are loaded with technology coming standard from the factory,” Cherry said. 

Cat Advanced Payload is also available as an option, which expands the system’s functionality with Lists-Management, Multitask and Manual-Add modes and Tip-off assist. Compatible with third-party scale house software, it wirelessly integrates the machine in the scale house process with Dispatch-for-Loading.

The new Cat Autodig with Auto Set Tires promotes proper loading techniques to significantly reduce tire slip and loading time. It can automate the complete bucket loading cycle to deliver consistently high bucket fill factors for up to 10 per cent more productivity.

Standard along with Autodig and Auto Set Tires, the new loaders introduce Application-Profiles, in which the press of one button sets multiple machine parameters to optimize settings for the application at hand. 

Customized profiles can be created to fit customer-specific cases. Selectable on-screen job aids, along with a streamlined new controls layout, promotes ease of operation to help operators be more productive.

In the cab

Access to the new operator’s cab is easy thanks to a wide door, stair-like steps and grabrails for additional stability. 

The new adjustable suspension seat comes in comfort, deluxe and premium levels that includes heated and heated/cooled options for improved year-round comfort. Seat belts are now monitored, and the system can be completed with an exterior beacon for supervisors to enhance jobsite safety. Taller operators will appreciate increased legroom inside the new cab, while sound suppression, seals and viscous cab mounts lower noise and vibration levels for a quiet work environment. 

Next generation ride control acts as a shock absorber to improve ride comfort over rough terrain.

The loaders’ new dashboard and high-resolution touchscreen display provide intuitive and user-friendly loader control for enhanced performance. 

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The seat-mounted electrohydraulic joystick steering system provides precise control over the new Caterpillar 980 and 982 series models with minimal arm movements to increase comfort and loading accuracy. A conventional steering wheel is also available on the 980. Automatic control of the air conditioning system keeps the cab as cool as desired.

The new loaders also feature a push-to-start system that requires a valid Operator-ID to crank the engine. Operator ID works with a passcode input on the display or with the optional Cat Bluetooth key. It can act as a machine security system with programmable operating restriction.

The floor-to-ceiling windshield improves forward visibility of the work area, while the standard rear-vision camera along with convex and spot mirrors help to enhance visibility around the machine to improve operating safety. Cat Detect radar alerts operators of hazards. 

As well, a Multi-view 360-degree vision system is available as an option to provide an extra level of monitoring around the loaders to advance safe operation.

The Cat 980 and 982 wheel loaders reduce maintenance costs up to 20 per cent and by up to 25 per cent on the 980 XE and 982 XE models, thanks to extended fluid and filter change intervals. 

All maintenance intervals are now scheduled in 1,000-hour increments, eliminating service downtime every 500 hours. As well, all models offer convenient access to hydraulic and electrical service centres and grouped lube points for fast and easy servicing.

Remote services technologies on the new Cat medium wheel loaders can save service trips to the jobsite and ensure the machine operates at peak performance. 

“We’re able to update the software on this machine remotely from the dealer with the push of a button,” Cherry said. 

“No longer do you have to schedule two or three hours for a technician to come out to update software.” 

Remote Troubleshoot connects the machine to the dealer’s service department over-the-air to quickly diagnose fault codes without on-machine cable connection.

Remote Flash ensures the wheel loaders are operating with the most up-to-date software, while working around the production schedule. Update files are pushed to the machine in the background and installation can be initiated from the Cat Remote Services Web Portal by the customer in a safe manner, reducing impact on production schedules. 

Helping to manage fleet loader location, hours and maintenance schedules, the web portal connects fleet managers to the machine and allows dealer service requests to be made from a mobile device.

Work tools

Cat Performance Series buckets balance bucket shape against the machine’s linkage for higher fill factors and better material retention that other bucket designs with the same rated capacity. Cat Work tools are an integral part of the complete machine design.

The new Caterpillar 980 can be equipped with the optional Fusion quick coupler, which delivers quick bucket changes without leaving the cab. Contractors can also choose from several purpose-built configurations to optimize loader performance and durability in tough applications, including industrial, waste, forestry, steel-mill and block-handler.