New Zealand log­gers be­gin op­er­at­ing new Cat 538 LL For­est Ma­chine

The op­er­a­tor can choose from three power modes, de­pend­ing on the work tasks or ap­pli­ca­tion

Australian Forests and Timber - - Forest Machine -

GOOD­MAN LOG­GING in New Zealand re­cently pur­chased and be­gan op­er­at­ing the new Cat® 538 LL For­est Ma­chine, and they couldn’t be hap­pier, ac­cord­ing to ini­tial reports.

The com­pany was one of the first log­ging con­trac­tors in the re­gion to or­der the new ma­chine, which Cater­pil­lar For­est Prod­ucts launched in 2017.

The 538 For­est Ma­chine, avail­able in a log loader (LL) or forestry ex­ca­va­tor con­fig­u­ra­tion, is the sec­ond model to be re­leased in the 500 se­ries. It de­liv­ers in­creased horse­power and swing torque and fea­tures op­ti­mized ma­chine pa­ram­e­ters for out­stand­ing fuel ef­fi­ciency.

Good­man Log­ging has about a month of ex­pe­ri­ence with the new ma­chine, and owner Paul Good­man in­di­cated that its per­for­mance had ex­ceeded his ex­pec­ta­tions.

The Cat 538 is equipped with a longer boom than Good­man’s op­er­a­tor was pre­vi­ously used to work­ing with, so he had to ad­just. “Once I ex­plained how to uti­lize the power and physics of the boom, es­pe­cially when shov­el­ing, he was re­ally im­pressed,” said Good­man.

“Their op­er­a­tor loves the new ma­chine,” re­ported Shayne Kennedy, a ter­ri­tory sales man­ager for Gough Cat, which supplied the ma­chine. “He loves the reach, avail­able power, low noise sig­na­ture, and heated seat.”

Good­man, 62, has been as­so­ci­ated with the log­ging in­dus­try for 40 years and has been a log­ging con­trac­tor for more than 20. Good­man Log­ging in­cludes Paul and his son, Nick, 29, and eight em­ploy­ees. His wife, Carol, han­dles ac­count­ing and pay­roll tasks from a home of­fice, and his daugh­ter, Kelly Good­man, is tak­ing on ad­min­is­tra­tive du­ties.

The com­pany cur­rently con­tracts for Han­cock For­est Man­age­ment to harvest ra­di­ata pine in the Kin­leith For­est near Ro­torua on the North Is­land. About half the logs are bound for ex­port mar­kets and half for do­mes­tic uti­liza­tion, with low-grade logs be­ing sent to the nearby Kin­leith pulp and pa­per mill.

Good­man Log­ging is us­ing the Cat 538 LL to shovel logs into bunches for ex­pe­dited yard­ing and also for stack­ing logs at the land­ing and load­ing them onto trucks.

The Cat 538 is pow­ered by a 122kW (164 hp) Cat C7.1 ACERT™ Tier 4 Fi­nal en­gine. “The larger en­gine has the ca­pa­bil­ity to pro­vide power for strong mul­ti­func­tion­ing and im­proved im­ple­ment per­for­mance – and ul­ti­mately more pro­duc­tion,” said Jared Dunn, Cater­pil­lar For­est Ma­chine Prod­uct Ap­pli­ca­tion Spe­cial­ist.

The Cat 538 is en­gi­neered for dura­bil­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity with proven Cat com­po­nents, pur­pose-built up­per and lower frames, and in­creased cool­ing ca­pa­bil­ity to max­i­mize ma­chine up­time. The ma­chine fea­tures a wider track gauge and heavy-duty coun­ter­weight to max­i­mize sta­bil­ity and op­er­a­tor ex­pe­ri­ence in di­verse log­ging con­di­tions. Ap­pli­ca­tion ver­sa­til­ity is en­hanced with pur­pose­built boom and stick ar­range­ments and new grouser op­tions.

Uni­form en­gine speed con­trol main­tains a con­stant speed re­gard­less of load, aid­ing in un­prece­dented fuel ef­fi­ciency. Other fea­tures also con­trib­ute to fuel econ­omy. For ex­am­ple, with au­to­matic en­gine speed con­trol the ma­chines re­vert au­to­mat­i­cally to a lower idle speed when there is a lull in op­er­a­tion. And the op­er­a­tor can choose from three power modes, de­pend­ing on the work tasks or ap­pli­ca­tion.

The hy­draulic sys­tem de­liv­ers a higher level of ef­fi­ciency and power. “Pumps are up­sized to max­i­mize hy­draulic flow,” said Dunn. “The en­gine can run at a lower rpm, burn­ing less fuel, yet the Cat 538 has the needed power to per­form more work.”

Other up­dates to the hy­draulic sys­tem pro­vide an im­pres­sive boost in per­for­mance: max­i­mum flow, greater swing torque, and added lift ca­pac­ity. The in­creases mean im­proved im­ple­ment per­for­mance, lift­ing big­ger pay­loads with bet­ter con­trol -- and more pro­duc­tion.

An im­proved side-by-side cool­ing sys­tem in­creases cool­ing ca­pac­ity. The ra­di­a­tor pack­age has been up­dated, and fin spac­ing has in­creased to im­prove air­flow and cool­ing ca­pa­bil­ity. A stan­dard auto-re­vers­ing fan with the abil­ity to op­ti­mize fan blade pitch in­creases ser­vice in­ter­vals and main­tains proper en­gine op­er­at­ing tem­per­a­ture.

The spa­cious, quiet, com­fort­able cab is pres­sur­ized and fea­tures a bi-level air con­di­tioner, heater, and de­froster to keep the op­er­a­tor com­fort­able in any weather. Other fea­tures in­clude heated and cooled seat, LED lights, satel­lite ra­dio, aux­il­iary au­dio port for MP3 play­ers, and 12-volt power sup­ply sock­ets for charg­ing.

The Cat 538 was de­signed with the cus­tomer and ser­vice tech­ni­cian in mind and to be easy to main­tain. Many ser­vice lo­ca­tions are read­ily ac­ces­si­ble at ground level; crit­i­cal main­te­nance can be com­pleted quickly and ef­fi­ciently.

Op­ti­mized ef­fi­ciency and proven re­li­a­bil­ity and dura­bil­ity add up to more ma­chine up­time and lower own­er­ship and op­er­at­ing costs. The com­bi­na­tion max­i­mizes profit po­ten­tial for log­gers.

The ben­e­fits are not lost on Good­man. “At this point we are go­ing to all Cat ma­chines,” he said, “be­cause they are pur­pose-built and have an ex­cep­tional back-up and sup­ply sys­tem in place.”

“I have con­sid­ered other ma­chines,” Good­man added, “most of which I have owned or hired over the years, but at the end of the day good back-up is vi­tal, and no other seems to com­pare to Cat (brand).”

Cater­pil­lar cus­tomers are sup­ported by the in­dus­try’s largest net­work of deal­ers who will keep them run­ning with parts avail­abil­ity, field ser­vices, state-of-the art di­ag­nos­tic pro­grams, re­mote mon­i­tor­ing, and more.

Cater­pil­lar em­ploys over 1,000 peo­ple and op­er­ates two ma­jor dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tres in Mel­bourne and Bris­bane sup­port­ing nine Cater­pil­lar deal­ers across Aus­tralia, New Zealand and Pa­cific Is­lands.

The Good­mans’ new Cat 538 LL in the fore­ground. In the back­ground is a Cat 336D LL.

The new Cat 538 LL load­ing logs onto a truck.

The new Cat 538 LL at work.

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