With reduced noise compared to other breaking tools, rotary cutters offer a controlled and highly precise breaking capability, making them a perfect choice for operations in confined or urban environments.
The newly introduced CAT RC20 and RC30 models are versatile and compatible with various attachment types, including pin-on, S-type, CAT pin grabbers, and CW couplers. This adaptability ensures they can be easily used with a wide range of equipment configurations.
According to Tom Munch, the Caterpillar applications specialist, the numbers in the nomenclature signify the lower end of the machine size range in tons that the tools are designed to be attached to. Specifically, the RC20 model is intended for use with 320s through 330s, while the RC30 model is suitable for machines ranging from 326 up to 340 tons.
Munch mentioned that during the first quarter of 2024, CAT has plans to launch additional models tailored for excavators in the 311 to 320-ton range, as well as for those exceeding 340 tons, thus providing a comprehensive and complete range of excavator offerings.
Munch emphasized that the critical aspect of any CAT work tool being used on a CAT machine is to ensure they are matched with the appropriate machine size to ensure safety and stability of the overall configuration.
Regarding the new rotary cutters, he explained that the RC20 model is specifically designed for excavators in the 20 to 34-ton range, while the RC30 model is a perfect fit for excavators ranging from 28 to 50 tons.
The rotary cutters are designed to be compatible with CAT hydro-mechanical work tool brackets, providing operators with seamless transitions between tasks. Moreover, these tools offer the flexibility of manual rotation, allowing for adjustments of either 90 or 270 degrees. For added versatility, an optional hydraulic lines kit enables the rotary cutter to rotate up to 180 degrees, facilitating efficient cleaning of narrow trenches and enabling work away from the machine, ultimately boosting productivity levels.
In contrast to hydraulic hammers, rotary cutters can be employed underwater without requiring any modifications to the tool or the machine. This versatility allows for a wide range of applications, such as trenching, rock and cement wall profiling, tunneling, quarrying, primary demolition, and even underwater tasks.
“We have been operating in the hydraulic hammer industry for over 25 years, and undoubtedly, we have achieved great success in that domain,” Munch stated. “However, we are now introducing these rotary cutters because they offer distinct advantages and open up new possibilities.”
As an illustration, in a trenching scenario, a rotary cutter excels at creating a precise and narrow trench. In contrast, when using a hydraulic hammer, a 10-foot trench tends to be V-shaped and spans around 25 to 30 feet in width. The rotary cutter’s advantage lies in its ability to cut with rotary drums turning at approximately 85 to 95 revolutions per minute, featuring 44 picks on each side. This combination of factors contributes to the cutter’s superior trenching performance.
The implementation of a direct drive motor provides the rotary cutter with enhanced torque, production, and overall performance, enabling operators to complete tasks more efficiently. The reduced space between the drums allows for the creation of narrower trenches, while also contributing to fuel savings during operations.
Munch explained that in space-constrained applications, such as urban settings where there isn’t ample room for a 25-feet wide operation, the rotary cutter excels. He emphasized that these cutters deliver exceptional performance, particularly when used in the appropriate material conditions.
Nevertheless, it is essential to emphasize that there is no intention to replace or eliminate hydraulic hammers or multiprocessors. Based on recent visits to multiple jobsites, Munch observed that nearly every location had a combination of both hydraulic hammers and rotary cutters in use, demonstrating that each tool serves specific purposes and complements the other in various applications.
“In many cases, operators initiate a trench using a CAT hammer to create a wider opening. Then, they switch to the rotary cutter, which refines the trench profile, avoiding the pronounced V shape. It’s a highly complementary tool, particularly in applications where space is limited, and the lower noise levels of rotary cutters make them an excellent choice.”
While a hydraulic hammer of 320-size generates approximately 126 dB noise level, the equivalent-sized rotary cutter operates at around 90 dB or even lower, significantly reducing the noise emissions during its operation.
Easy to maintain
The rotary cutters offer hassle-free maintenance due to the absence of greasing tensioning points, eliminating the need for daily upkeep. Mechanical seals effectively retain grease and prevent dust ingress, enabling longer intervals between servicing. Additionally, the built-in case drain filter acts as a safeguard for the hydraulic motor and pumps, preventing impurities from entering and ensuring optimal performance.
The incorporation of double support bearings on each drum ensures that the motor shaft solely transmits motion without any load, contributing to prolonged operation of the rotary cutter. Moreover, the quick access maintenance panels facilitate easy upkeep, ensuring peak performance is consistently maintained.
Furthermore, replacing the rotary cutter picks is a straightforward process and can be done quickly using a simple tool. Beyond the maintenance of the rotary cutters, the way these attachments break up materials also plays a role in reducing wear on buckets during debris removal from work sites.
The tool efficiently mills the material as it is discharged from the trench, preventing it from getting stuck between the housing and drum.
Munch explained that the rotary cutter produces a fine product that contractors commonly use for backfilling. Unlike certain applications involving hammers or multiprocessors, where the material needs to be moved and transported separately, the rotary cutter’s fine output reduces the need for extra handling. Consequently, this minimizes fuel consumption associated with material movement and enhances overall productivity, making it a more efficient choice for many contractors.
Finally, when utilizing multiple attachments at a worksite, it becomes crucial to monitor and manage them effectively. CAT attachments equipped with asset tracking capabilities can be conveniently accessed and tracked through VisionLink, alongside Product Link subscribed equipment. By integrating asset trackers into the attachments, they can send alerts if they venture beyond a predefined site boundary, providing an added layer of security to safeguard valuable tools.