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On the prowl

Cat Trucks are ramping up their model range. The latest being the CT630S. A truck they always wanted to have. The question is, Do you?

Cat Trucks is set to launch it’s entry into the B-double market with the imminent arrival of the CT630S, a truck with the specification newly installed managing director, Kevin Dennis, said the company should have had on sale in Australia from the beginning.

But all good things come to those who wait and while we weren’t able to drive the new CT630S at the reveal we were able to grille Kevin Dennis and engineer Adrian Wright as to the virtues of the new model, which, to non-Cat lovers, looks the same as other CT630 models.

Cat Trucks started the CT630S process two years ago when a prototype truck was first shown to the public in Melbourne in 2012 and again at the Brisbane truck show last year. Not wanting to take short cuts prior to the model becoming available the company said a number of early build trucks were subjected to rigorous testing around Australia since mid-2013, both in private fleets and with Cat engineers.

“This is the truck we should have had from the beginning,” said newly installed Cat Trucks Australia managing director, Kevin Dennis, at the launch of the truck last month.

Kevin Dennis confirmed that for Cat, at least, the B-Double sector is where they should be.

“The ‘S’ puts us where we want to be, right in the thick of the market, it will be a cornerstone of our business,” he said.

Chief engineer for Cat Trucks Australia and New Zealand, Adrian Wright, admitted there had been delays in the development process of the CT630S, largely driven by demands on resources in the US but he said at no time did they ever consider rushing the project.

“This is an important model and we weren’t about to cut corners just to get the CT630S here a little sooner.

“In the long run, the extra time taken to make sure we get the truck right will be miniscule and judged by our customers to be time well spent,” he said.

Cat say average fuel figures from its Cat C15 engine ranged from 1.78 km/litre (5.03 mpg) to 1.85 km/litre (5.23 mpg).

“These are real world figures supplied by the fleets, averaged over many months of operation in 34 pallet, 26 metre B-double work,” said Cat Trucks engineering chief Adrian Wright.

The CT630S carries a gross combination mass rating of 90 tonnes and relies on tried and proven componentry from Meritor for its front and rear axles, Hendrickson Primaxx suspension, an Eaton RTLO-20918 18-speed overdrive transmission with the ‘Easy Pedal’ clutch or the optional Eaton Ultrashift-Plus automated manual gearbox featuring the added advantage of a ‘Hill Start Assist’ function.

At the heart of the new CT630S is Cat’s own C15 engine rated up to 550 hp (410 kW) at 1800 rpm and 1850 lb ft (2508 Nm) of torque at 1200 rpm. However, there’s even more to the C15 than potent performance and frugal fuel efficiency.

The 15 litre Cat is, in fact, the only engine in the Australian heavy-duty sector to comply with the current ADR 80-03 emissions standard without the added complexity and cost of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) or selective catalytic reduction (SCR) emissions systems. Instead, the C15 uses dual diesel particulate filters (DPF) mounted horizontally under the chassis to satisfy the requirements of ADR 80-03.

The engine is equipped with a three-stage Jacobs engine brake and the innovative dual diesel particulate filters (DPF) mounted under the chassis which make Cat’s CT630 models the only trucks on the heavy-duty market to meet Australia’s ADR 80-03 emissions regulation without an EGR or SCR emissions system.

The radiator is a modest but effective 1545 square inches or 10,000 sq cm and is assisted by a two-stage Horton fan clutch.

In keeping with the traditional look of a big truck twin vertical exhaust stacks are mounted at the rear corners of the cab.

As a model primarily designed for B-double lift-up under-bunk storage compartment, and a scalloped rear wall to optimise clearances between the rear of the cab and the trailer.

On the options list is a fully engineered aero roof kit while internal accessories include a refrigerator, wood grain trim and a TV mounting kit with aerial.

The CT630S comes with a standard fouryear, 800,000 km driveline coverage and orders are being taken now for deliveries mid to late in Q2.

“This has been an exceptional project to be involved in,” said Adrian Wright.

“Here and in the US we have been absolutely dedicated to developing a model that not only meets the physical length and weight requirements of a conventional truck aimed squarely at modern-day B-double work, but a model which also produces performance and fuel efficiency standards which we believe are at the forefront of the B-double business when compared on equal terms with any other brand of truck.”

“It’s our opinion the Australian market has been waiting for a conventional truck like the CT630S for some time,” he said.

The CT630S will be offered alongside Cat’sexisting CT610 and CT630 range, headed by the flagship CT630LS model.

But the feature that makes the Cat CT630S such a valuable addition to the Cat Trucks range is, of course, the shortened hood which allows the model to slip comfortably into 34 pallet B-double roles.

The cab has been raised around 50 mm and moved approximately 250 mm forward to create a bumper to back-of-cab (BBC) dimension of just 2845 mm (112 inches) in non-sleeper form. Yet even with the functional integral sleeper option, BBC of the CT630S stretches to just 3505 mm (138 inches).

Additionally, the shorter BBC improves wall-to-wall manoeuvrability while the driver’s view of the road over a slanting snout from a marginally higher seating position is a significant asset. Similarly, fuel-saving aerodynamics and forward vision are further streamlined by the more conical influence of a sloping hood which has a rake angle of 18 degrees.

However, recognising the need for a spacious, well-appointed sleeper in linehaul operations, a premium stand-up sleeper has been developed to provide the CT630S with even more appeal. Critically, and despite a BBC length pushed out to 3590 mm (141 inch), the bigger sleeper still allows the CT630S to comfortably fit 34 pallets within 26 metres.

Designed and built in Australia, the 1016mm (40 inch) mid-rise sleeper provides a generous 2250 mm of internal width and a full 1985 mm of standing room, meaning that even those drivers stretching well over six feet tall can comfortably stand or lay in the latest Cat.

In standard form the sleeper comes with a 711 mm (28 inch) wide fully-sprung mattress while other important inclusions are toolbox lockers on both sides with internal access, a lift-up under-bunk storage compartment, and a scalloped rear wall to optimise clearances between the rear of the cab and the trailer.

On the options list is a fully engineered aero roof kit while internal accessories include a refrigerator, woodgrain trim and a TV mounting kit with aerial.

Testing of the new Cat® CT630S model by several leading fleets in linehaul B-double applications has been not only a major factor in the new model’s development to Australian requirements, but has also provided confirmation of the Cat C15 engine’s high standards of fuel efficiency and performance.

With pre-production evaluation units working in fleets operating right along the eastern seaboard and west to Adelaide, hauling curtain-sided and refrigerated trailers from depots in northern NSW and regional Victoria at gross weights consistently above 60 tonnes, average fuel figures are ranging from 1.78 km/litre (5.03 mpg) to 1.85 km/litre (5.23 mpg).

“These are real world figures supplied by the fleets, averaged over many months of operation in 34 pallet, 26 metre B-double work,” explained Cat Trucks engineering chief Adrian Wright.

“You hear a lot of claims about fuel consumption but unless the figures come from operators who are recording fuel use over longer terms in everyday workloads, it’s hard to put much stock in the accuracy of some claims.

“That’s why we are so happy with these figures. They’re not only real, they’re also particularly good according to the feedback we’ve received from fleets who have been running the CT630S.”

The impressive fuel figures derive from several inherent features applicable to the full Cat Trucks range, notably the fact that conventional trucks are generally sleeker through the air than a cab-over and therefore have a higher level of aerodynamic efficiency. In the case of the CT630S, the steeper slant of the hood adds to the aerodynamic benefit, with the subsequent potential for an even higher level of fuel efficiency.

Sharing much the same componentry as other CT630 models including the flagship CT630LS, evaluation versions have also shown high degrees of reliability.

“Reliability testing has been mainly concentrated on the compatibility of the new components in the CT630S,” Adrian Wright explained. “The intention of any test program is to find issues before a new model goes into production and that has certainly been the case with the ‘S’. But overall, issues have been few and minor. In fact, fleet response to the new truck has been excellent.”

Like the flagship CT630LS, the CT630S carries a gross combination mass rating of 90 tonnes founded on a proven huck-bolted chassis design supporting a 4.8 metre wheelbase, reinforced with a strong insert along the section of chassis over the drive tandem mounting points.

The rear of the chassis rails are tapered to enhance manoeuvrability and there’s also an upper frame mount to support the higher stance of the cab. At the front end there’s a stylish polished alloy bumper covering a front under-run protection (FUPS) device while access at the rear of the cab is made easy by the standard fitment of an aluminum deck across the chassis rails.

Under the front end is a wide-track Meritor I-beam front axle rated to 6.5 tonnes, equipped with steel hubs as standard and alloys available as an option. Delivering high standards of ride and handling is a front suspension of three-leaf parabolic spring packs.

At the rear is Meritor’s popular RT46-160 drive tandem rated to 20.9 tonnes, fitted with a traction control system as standard equipment and offering final drive ratios of 3.9, 4.1 or 4.3:1. Again, steel hubs are standard and alloys optional. A power divider and diff lock on the leading drive axle are also standard features, with a diff lock on the rear driving axle also available.

Rear suspension is Hendrickson’s tried and tested Primaax heavy-duty airbag assembly.

Supplying the muscle, of course, is the Cat C15 engine rated up to 550 hp (410 kW) at 1800 rpm with a gritty 1850 lb ft (2508 Nm) of torque at 1200 rpm. The engine is equipped with a three-stage Jacobs engine brake, cruise control functions mounted on the steering wheel hub, and the innovative dual diesel particulate filters (DPF) mounted under the chassis which make Cat’s CT630 models the only trucks on the heavy-duty market to meet Australia’s ADR 80-03 emissions regulation without an EGR or SCR emissions system.

Twin vertical exhaust stacks are mounted at the rear corners of the cab.

Keeping the C15 running cool is a high capacity radiator with a frontal area of almost 10,000 square centimetres (1545 sq inch) aided by a two-speed Horton fan clutch.

The C15’s outputs feed through an Eaton ‘Easy Pedal’ clutch into the industry standard of Eaton’s RTLO-20918 18-speed overdrive transmission offered in manual form or the optional Ultrashift-Plus automated version featuring the added advantage of a ‘Hill Start Assist’ function.

As a model primarily designed for B-double duties, the braking assembly of the CT630S includes a Bendix four-channel ABS (antilock) system along with Haldex automatic slack adjusters.

Keeping the latest Cat on the straight and narrow is a Sheppard power steering system operated through a two-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel with tilt and telescopic adjustment functions.

As for the cab of the CT630S, it shares many design and equipment features with the premium CT630LS model, not least a crash worthiness standard compliant with Europe’s ECE-R29 requirement.

Additionally, despite being mounted around 50 mm higher, the cab of the new model sits on a three-point mounting system with air suspension under the rear to further enhance stability and ride quality. Meantime, among a long list of driver comfort features are top quality Gramag high-back air-suspended seats for both the driver and passenger, along with electrically operated power windows and heated side mirrors with electronic adjustment.

The CT630S comes with a standard four-year, 800,000 km driveline coverage.

Source: Page 14, Transport & Trucking Today. Geoff Paradise reports.

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