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Similar But Very Different: Cat Expert Explains the Four 315 and 317 Excavator Models | The Dirt #24



Cat’s new 315 and 317 excavators are all-new inside and out. So much has been packed into these new models that in this episode of The Dirt we’ve asked Cat excavator expert Brian Stellbrink to break it all down.

Because there are two standard models to discuss, along with two “GC” models of these machines, there is a lot to discuss with these excavators. Brian breaks down the new electro-hydraulic controls, the redesigned next-generation cab, improved productivity and what the differences are between those standard and GC models.

Check out this week’s episode above.

As 16-metric-ton machines, the Cat 315 and 315 GC are what Cat calls “small” excavators—a step above the mini and compact models, but right below the midsize lineup and machines like the 320s and up to the 335. Within the small lineup, the 315 models slots right in the middle between the 13 metric ton 313 and the new 18 metric-ton 317 models.The 315 is also a compact radius machine with only 5.1 feet of tail swing radius.

The 317 and 317 GC replace the 316F in Cat’s small excavator lineup. Unlike the 315 models, which are both around the same weight, the 317 and 317 GC differ slightly. While the 317 GC weighs in at around 38,100 pounds or 17 metric tons, the standard 317 is heavier at 40,200 pounds, or 18 metric tons.

Episode Chapters:

0:00 Intro

1:25 How These Machines Stack Up Against Each Other and the Rest of the Lineup

5:00 What is a GC Excavator?

9:56 Key Improvements on the New Cat 315

13:30 New Electronically-Controlled Hydraulics

18:10 Improved Swing Torque

19:20 Increased Drawbar Pull

20:35 Cat C3.6 Engine + Engine Modes

26:03 Cat GRADE With 2D Productivity Increases

29:24 Explaining Excavator E-Fence

32:00 Cat Payload Standard on 315 and 317

34:15 New Cab

37:00 Maintenance Improvements

39:25 315 GC Differences

45:02 317 Key Features and Improvements over 316F

48:40 Two Different Engines on 317 and 317 GC


Video: Doosan’s Latest Wheel Loaders Are New in Every Way | The Dirt #27




From a “transparent bucket” and a new exterior design all the way down to a more spacious cab and maintenance improvements on the inside, we brought in the experts to discuss everything new on Doosan’s latest loaders.

In this episode of The Dirt we welcome in Dooan’s Aaron Kleingartner and Bill Zak to discuss the wheel loader market, development of the new Dash-7 loader lineup, and that new see-through bucket. Check out the video above for all the details.

Mentioned in this video:

How the First See-Through Loader Bucket Works. A Feature From the Future

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Komatsu’s D39i-24 is the Smallest Dozer with Intelligent Machine Control




With its new D39i-24, Komatsu is putting its Intelligent Machine Control system in a 105-horsepower machine. It is the smallest intelligent machine in the company’s dozer line up.

The D39i-24 is equipped with iMC 2.0, a GNSS-based system that allows users to program 3D design data directly into the machine. This data helps guide automatic dozing from rough cut to finish grade. Compared to aftermarket machine control systems, Komatsu says the iMC 2.0 “makes every pass count for superior construction.”

Komatsu D39PXi-24Compared to the previous generation D39, operators on the D39i-24 machines can see productivity improve by up to 60%, Komatsu says.KomatsuOperators can quickly turn the iMC 2.0 features on or off using a side switch on the right joystick. Two antennas on the cab roof support multiple GNSS. Once the satellite capture rate is improved, the machine can be used in any time zone, Komatsu says.

New intelligent features on the machine include: 

Proactive dozing control — The dozer measures the terrain it tracks over and uses that data to plan the next pass. This maximizes the blade load throughout the pass regardless of the terrain ahead. Compared to the previous generation D39, operators can see productivity improve by up to 60%, according to Komatsu.

Fatigue reduction in rough dozing — The tilt steering control automatically tilts the blade under a heavy load to maintain straight travel during rough dozing. Komatsu says this feature can reduce operator steering input by 80%.

Repeated, consistent lifts — Controlled by a button press, lift layer control puts in repeated consistent lifts using the mapped terrain as its reference point. This precise layering eliminates excess fill by automatically controlling the blade to follow the finished surface once lifts have reached finish grade. 

Quick surface creation — This feature allows operators to create a temporary design with a button press. Combined with other iMC 2.0 features, crews can begin stripping or spreading using automated input while waiting for the finish grade model.

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Asphalt Contractor to Pay $1.75M After False Claims Allegations




A Minnesota asphalt paving contractor has reached a $1.75 million settlement after being accused of using unauthorized gravel materials on three road construction projects and making false claims about them, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota.

The Attorney’s Office alleges that Mark Sand & Gravel of Fergus Falls used substandard materials on paving projects on Highways 34, 59/10 and 78 in the Detroit Lakes area. The company used waste or shale rock in the gravel mixes on the federally funded projects between 2013 and 2015, the office says. The office also alleges the company made “materially false claims and statements in connection with its use of those materials.”

“Performing road construction projects funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation comes with a set of detailed terms and specifications,” says Andrea M. Kropf, special agent-In-charge for the Midwestern Region of the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General.

“When companies fail to follow contract specifications, use unauthorized materials and make false statements concerning the quality of materials, the integrity of the work being performed is compromised.”

The contractor was cited under the U.S. and Minnesota false claims acts.

“Failing to uphold contractual obligations by agreeing to do one thing but then doing another is not acceptable,” said Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk. “We will continue to use the False Claims Act and other tools at our disposal to ensure that contractors act with transparency and do the work they promised to do.”

The projects were administered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, which also was a co-investigator in the case with the USDOT’s Office of Inspector General. The U.S. and Minnesota DOTs will split the settlement according to the projects’ original funding formulas, the Attorney’s Office says. “The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.”

A request for comment from Mark Sand & Gravel was not immediately returned.

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