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Independent loading capability, high travel speeds and the ability to spread material on the move, make Caterpillar self-loading elevating wheel tractor scrapers highly productive machines. In the right conditions, the elevating scraper will consistently deliver maximum productivity and a low cost per tonne.

Polish contractor Budownictwo Drogowe Budar is an established earthmoving and construction firm with a fleet of more than 74 machines. As with most contractors in Poland, Budar has mainly relied on articulated dump trucks (ADT) and hydraulic excavators for earthmoving productivity on site.

However to meet the needs of the expected boom in infrastructure works in Poland over the coming years the contractor, run by brothers Waldemar and Dariusz Swiader, is keen to test every option. Budar has taken a Caterpillar 623G elevating scraper on a long term rental from Czech hire firm ZBA Geotech, to evaluate its performance and productivity levels before considering a possible purchase.

Based in the town of Kielce, 200km south of Warsaw, Budar has grown rapidly over the last decade, from a single backhoe loader, to a large contracting and earthmoving business. The company is heavily involved in infrastructure works and has been using the 623G on a bypass contract around Kielce. The machine was used to remove top soil along the road profile, in total carrying up to 30,000cu m over a haul distance of 700m.

The 623G is the larger of two models in Caterpillar’s self-loading elevating scraper line. With an operating weight of 37.4 tonnes (empty, the machine has a heaped capacity of 17.5cu m, offering a rated load of up to 25 tonnes.

Powered by Caterpillar’s C15 ACERT diesel engine, the machine has two horsepower settings. In gears 1-2, when the elevator is engaged and the machine is loading, the 623G has a net power rating of 246kW (330hp). However as the operator lifts the bowl and moves up into the higher travel gears, 3-8, the engine offers up to 272kW (365hp) for rapid acceleration on the haul road.

This variable output boosts productivity while reducing operating costs for the customer, keeping fuel costs to a minimum but ensuring the maximum speed can be achieved between the loading and tipping areas. Integrated electronic controls of the engine and the eight-speed planetary powershift transmission ensure maximum torque is available during cut and fill operations, with optimum drive train efficiency during haul and return.

Thanks to the machine’s self-loading elevator, there is no need for a second machine such as a dozer to assist by push loading the scraper bowl. An electronic differential lock on the tractor helps to prevent spinning and ensures full traction during loading.

The latest Caterpillar G series scrapers benefit from a simplified electronic control system, with three electronic control modules (ECM) instead of four, to improve conditions for the operator and to maximise productivity for the customer. “We are very content with the machine,” says Mr Swiader “The machine has been working on road construction projects without a pusher and has been producing up to 1,500cu m of material in an 8 hour shift.”

Where Budar would normally have a fleet of ADTs, working with hydraulic excavators to load and a machine to spread the tipped material, the self-loading scraper can work independently, loading, hauling and then spreading the material itself without the need for any other machines to be involved. This means that loading and spreading machines are not left standing idle while trucks run the length of the haul. This had led to greatly improved productivity and a reduced cost per tonne, the 623G proving to be an ideal machine for site development and infrastructure works.

Thanks to its loading elevator, the 623G can also be used to blend material, as well as simply moving it from one area to another. By blending materials operators can eliminate voids in the bowl and ensure consistent loading.

A two-stage ejector system allows the floor of the bowl to move backwards while a dozer-type ejector moves forwards, cleaning the entire bowl in a single motion. In addition the elevator can be reversed, to allow the operator to use the machine to spread topsoil, to unload cohesive materials and to blend windrowed materials.

While unfamiliar to many in the Polish market at present, the 623G has been performing well and the contractor has been delighted with the scraper’s performance. Budar is now considering adding a Cat scraper to its fleet on a permanent basis. “We are interested in buying this type of machine, we are really happy with its performance and with the reduced cost per tonne that can be achieved,” says Mr Swiader.