Local testing a critical contributor in new model development

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 aluminium 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 (anti-lock) 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.

“The input and feedback of linehaul fleet operators has been hugely valuable,” Adrian Wright concludes. “It has helped us develop a truck specifically for B-doubles work and the feedback from those operators makes us extremely confident the CT630S is just what the mainstream B-double market is looking for.”

Download CT630S Specification Sheet here.
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