Supplementing the announcement of new mini excavators earlier this year, Caterpillar has expanded its range further with hydraulic machinery in the four and five-tonne classes.

The new 304 and 305 CR models are the final machines to be reengineered to the Cat next generation mini hydraulic excavator line concept. From the 1.5 to 10tonne models, all Cat mini excavators in the range (depending on region) offer common features and consistent controls layout to simplify training and operator adaptation.

The 304 features a narrow, 1700mm track width, which is 254 mm slimmer than the 304 E2 for more versatility and access to confined spaces. The new 304 design increases performance, balance and stability of the 4-tonne class model. Its reduced radius allows for greater stability, both 360-degree and when traveling with loads, while its extra counterweight option takes the model to an even higher level of stability.

The efficient Stage V engine on the 305 CR delivers nearly 9% greater power. Hydraulic system improvements provide higher breakout forces – 49.2 kN, bucket, 28.3 kN standard stick and 25.2 kN long stick – to improve digging efficiency. It also offers 140mm deeper dig depths than the 305 E2, while its compact radius swing reduces overhang when working to the side. The 1980mm track width and new extra counterweight option help to optimise stability and lift performance in confined spaces.

Interchangeable counterweight packages offer the balance between low ground pressure and lifting performance. The exclusive 'Cat Stick Steer' system simplifies machine controls by allowing the operator to switch from conventional lever/foot-pedal steering controls to low-effort joystick operation. Two travel speed ranges and standard cruise control facilitate moving around the jobsite with minimum operator interaction.

The sealed and pressurised cab enclosure is available with heating and/or air conditioning for all-weather climate control. The cab’s large glass areas plus skylight afford all-around visibility. The large display with advanced touchscreen option provides intuitive machine function control and easy monitoring of critical operating parameters. A canopy option is available in some regions.

Lastly, maintenance checks for the 304 and 305 CR are quickly made from ground level through side doors. Expanded use of common parts throughout the line plus their damage-resistant exterior construction help to reduce parts inventory investment and lower repair costs. Increased service intervals mean these excavators spend more time on the job and less time in the shop.