A new laser-based AccuGrade grading system for Cat C-Series Skid-Steer Loaders, Multi-Terrain Loaders and Compact Track Loaders combines the capability of the Level Best Grading Box with the C-Series loader’s integral electro/hydraulic controls to create an automated grading system capable of extreme accuracy. The new system establishes flat or single-slope grades to within ± 0.25 inch (± 6.5 mm) without grade stakes or the expense of grade checkers and stake-setting surveyors. Machines grade more area per hour and are more fuel-efficient in the process.
The new AccuGrade system works with the loader’s auxiliary-hydraulic system and integral controls to automatically adjust the elevation of the grading-box blade, eliminating undercuts and overfills (no reworks) and assuring that expensive base materials are spread to exact specifications (no penalties or wasted material). Plus, fewer people on site results in greater safety.
The Advanced Machine Information and Control System (AMICS) provides an in-cab display showing the blade’s position relative to finished grade. A trigger switch on the implement joystick allows the operator to choose manual or automatic operation of the grading box, and with the system in its automatic mode, the operator need only steer the machine and control its speed to achieve precise grades. Support wheels ahead of the responsive, well-designed grading box blade extend the loader’s wheel base for smooth cuts.
Easy installation, operating advantages
When the machine owner has purchased an 84-inch-wide ATI Level Best Grading Box (endorsed by Caterpillar) and a 360-degree laser transmitter, which establishes a reference plane at a set elevation and slope, the AccuGrade system is quickly assembled on AMICS-equipped units by mounting the laser receiver, installing the wiring harness, connecting auxiliary-hydraulic lines and installing operating software. (Cat dealers can install an AMICS kit on existing machines for a nominal cost.)
Unlike conventional laser grading systems, the AccuGrade system requires no additional externally mounted hydraulic valves or displays, nor any additional in-cab levers, switches, control boxes or cables. The integrated AccuGrade system allows use of the loader’s existing controls, keeping the operator securely in the seat and protected by built-in safety features.
Also, the new AccuGrade system is hydraulically efficient, activating the loader’s auxiliary-hydraulic circuit only when blade correction is required. Conventional systems, by contrast, require continuous flow in the auxiliary circuit and, subsequently, use more fuel and generate heat and noise.
The receiver in the AccuGrade system can be positioned virtually anywhere in the laser plane when establishing the benchmark, but conventional systems may require a painstaking process of centering the receiver in the plane. Also, the AccuGrade system’s elevation offset can be set easily using the AMICS display, compared with having to precisely relocate the receiver on the mast or reposition the laser transmitter at the tripod in conventional systems.