In 1998, history was made at bauma Munich, a global trade fair for construction and mining, in Munich, Germany. It was at bauma that Caterpillar announced its entrance into the world of compact construction equipment. The announcement featured Caterpillar's first models of compact wheel loaders, mini excavators and a purpose-built complementary range of attachments.
Responding to Customers’ Changing Needs
Changing work requirements in the construction sector and increased urban expansion created strong customer demand for small, versatile, high-performing machines. Caterpillar's differentiated compact machines and attachments, built with well-established manufacturing expertise, have proven technological innovations and offer performance and reliability to an expanding customer base.
The initial introduction included three families of machines – mini excavators, compact wheel loaders and skid steer loaders – plus a comprehensive range of attachments. Caterpillar manufactured these products at sites across the world, including the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan.
Wheel Loaders Well-Suited to Urban Use
The line of Cat® compact wheel loaders consisted of three models, 902, 906 and 908, with bucket capacities from 0.6 to 1.0 cubic meters. The three models were powered by Cat four-cylinder diesel engines with direct injection. All three machines met the stringent Blue Angel standards set by the German environmental agency, making them particularly suitable for urban use.
Mini Excavators Offer Versatility
The mini excavators included four models, 301.5, 302.5, 303.5, and 304.5, ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 tons. Along with the full range of specially designed attachments, these mini excavators offered the versatility that rental companies, as well as building and landscaping contractors, needed to perform on work sites. The 301.5 was powered by the Cat 3003 water-cooled diesel engine, and the 302.5 was powered by the 3013 diesel engine.
Attachments Provide Rapid Interchangeability
The comprehensive range of attachments were made available to address varying applications. Integrated design ensured that each attachment was specifically built to operate with Cat machines, offering instant compatibility and maximum performance. Most popular were attachments for the compact wheel loader, and these included a wide range of high-quality buckets, all of which featured Caterpillar's exclusive QUICKLOCK coupler, fitted as standard on all Cat compact machinery, for rapid interchangeability.
Our Current Compact Machines
What was true in 1998 is still true today – our proven technological innovation, established manufacturing expertise and strong worldwide dealer network make Caterpillar a major player in many different fast-growing industries. Population and economic growth drive demand for these products to build infrastructure, residential and commercial construction, and for food production. Caterpillar’s line of small, versatile construction machines and attachments has grown to include seven product families and more than 70 models of equipment manufactured and supported by 12 facilities worldwide.
With this growth, it is important that all customers have a seamless experience, and we’ve worked hard to improve every aspect of the retail experience for small contractors and small businesses. We are proud to continually expand and improve our compact equipment line to help our customers build a better world.