In 1984, Caterpillar, Eder and Zeppelin Baumaschinen, the Cat dealer in Germany, introduced a new wheeled excavator line, offering four models under the Cat Eder brand. Eight years later, the line became a 100% Cat product with a designated wheel excavator team. Twenty-eight years later, in 2012, Caterpillar celebrated production of its 25,000th wheel excavator. This year, Caterpillar announces production of its 50,000th wheel excavator, a Cat M318 Next Gen model, adding another 25,000 units to the total in just 11 years.
Europe and South Korea were among the first adopters of this new solution. However, the combination of speed, power, versatility and ability to operate a wide range of hydraulic tools has the Cat Wheel Excavator line growing in popularity in China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, North America and other world markets. Starting with only four models, today’s expanded Cat wheel excavator line includes eight models – Cat M314 to M322 – for markets with higher emissions regulations, one model – M315 GC – for China, three models – M315 to M320D2 –for those adhering to lower emissions standards, the M323F railroad-specific model, and four materials handlers from the MH3022 to MH3040.
Commenting on the significance of Caterpillar’s 50,000th wheel excavator milestone, Brian Abbott, vice president of product management for the Excavation division said, “Offering quick movement on the job site and from site to site without damaging the ground, the wheel excavator proved to be a game changer for contractors working in congested areas and markets with mature infrastructure. The advanced hydraulic design, plumbed differently than conventional excavators, allows them to go beyond digging to operate a range of hydraulic work tools to increase application flexibility. We are pleased to present our 50,000th production wheel excavator to our longtime customer, Wolff & Müller.”
During a ceremony held on June 22, 2023, at the Caterpillar facility in Grenoble, France, representatives from Caterpillar and Zeppelin presented the 50,000th commemorative Cat M318 to representatives from Wolff & Müller Holding GmbH & Co. KG. On hand to receive the machine from the contractor were Torsten Schuckert, head of logistics service unit, and Siegfried Cammerer, manager of machine and device technology service unit logistics. Torsten Schuckert commented, “We are very pleased about our partnership with Zeppelin and Caterpillar, which has existed for almost 70 years and is constantly expanding. The reasons for the good cooperation are, in addition to the innovative machine technology, the excellent nationwide service and, above all, the appreciative, personal contact with each other.”
The flagship Cat M318 Wheel Excavator offers a well-balanced design of size and performance. It’s compact enough to work in tight spaces but delivers high performance for larger projects, making it the go-anywhere, all-around performer. Recent design advancements offer increased fuel economy, higher swing torque, improved visibility and maintenance parts savings over the previous model series and a suite of technology such as Cat Grade, Cat Payload and Cat E-Fence. Remote diagnostics tools – Remote Troubleshoot and Remote Flash – help the M318 deliver high performance and maximum efficiency with minimum downtime.