Caterpillar’s new 304.5E2 XTC may look like Frankenstein’s monster, but it promises unique versatility as it combines the capabilities of a mini excavator with a skid steer.
This machine is the first in the Xtra Tool Carrier (XTC) lineup, which was introduced in March. Throughout the summer, Caterpillar had four of these mini-excavators out in the field being tested. Production began in August.
“No one asked for this,” said Greg Worley, senior product engineer for Caterpillar, at GIE+EXPO last week.
The purpose of the machine is to eliminate the need for two different machines at certain jobsites. The manual coupler allows the user to switch out attachments such as forks, multi-purpose bucket, brooms and trenchers.
Productivity is improved in material carrying jobs and backfilling is also less time-consuming with the 304.5E2 XTC, the company says.
“We are here to solve their issues,” Worley said. “With this machine you can do more, be more.”
Worley went on to explain that the machine wasn’t designed for any one prescribed task; instead, operators can use it for whatever purpose makes their operation more efficient. He suggests that the XTC can become “a logistics weapon.”
Aside from versatility, the 304.5E2 XTC comes with all the standard features of the E2 lineup, including 100 percent pilot controls, automatic two-speed, blade float and safety.
A mechanical or hydraulic quick coupler is available for the excavator front linkage for tools such as augers or hydraulic hammers. According to Worley, operating the machine is pretty intuitive, but there is a learning curve.
Also at GIE+EXPO, Caterpillar featured a new straight snow push without trip, which is designed for skid steer loaders, compact track loaders, multi-terrain loaders and compact wheel loaders.
The snow push comes in 8-, 10- and 12-foot widths. The rubber cutting edge is reversible, helping extend the life of the blade and reducing operating costs. The moldboard is designed to roll and fold snow to ensure full-capacity loads. To resist twisting forces, a large box-channel torque adds rigidity.
An optional back-drag is also available for those who need to pull snow away from loading docks or doors.
For more information on these products, go to Cat’s website here.