Designed to Dig: Caterpillar’s Excavator Line


The excavator has become a staple in the utility construction industry. From digging and backfilling to moving and placing pipe, it’s the go-to machine to get the job done. To pay homage to these hard-working pieces of iron and the companies that construct them, we’ve gathered the histories, product offerings and specs for the biggest names in the marketplace.

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Over the next 11 pages, learn all about the most popular excavator manufacturers in North America from Case and Caterpillar to Komatsu and Volvo. Compare specs of different models or simply discover the beginnings of a brand you love. There are even insights and advice from industry insiders to aid in purchasing decisions and maintenance matters. So grab a drink, sit back and dig in.

Pam Kleineke is Managing Editor of Utility Contractor.

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Solid Production Meets Fuel Efficiency

As a leader in the earthmoving equipment industry, Caterpillar has been in the excavator business now for more than 40 years. Today, the company produces more than 50 models to meet a variety of needs, including both track and wheeled options suited perfectly for underground utilities. Fuel efficiency is always important to a contractor’s bottom line and Caterpillar knows just that. The company’s hybrid technology allows operators to harness the power of their machines, while maintaining production and lowering fuel consumption.

Product Spotlight: 315F and 325F

The latest models from Caterpillar include the new 315F and 325F. The machines feature a compact radius design to allow working in tight spaces. They also come equipped with Tier 4 Final engines that are miserly on fuel and multiple work tool options to help you get your work done quickly and efficiently.

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In addition to power and pipe-lifting capability, Caterpillar says the machines have a quiet and comfortable roll-over protective structure cab with climate control for year-round work, ground-level access to make routine maintenance fast and easy, heavy-duty construction for demanding work and responsive product support — all to make contractors more profitable.


“Machine control and guidance make an operator’s life much simpler,” says Brian Stellbrink, Caterpillar Product Application Specialist. “You won’t over dig or under dig, and you don’t have to be an expert to run it. For example, Cat’s new GRADE with ASSIST feature on its 323F is so simple and so accurate you’ll never want to go back to the old traditional way of digging and grade checking.”

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