Tool changes made simple with Auto-Connect

By Lindsay Gale12 April 2012

Caterpillar Work Tools’ Auto-Connect provides reliable, safe and rapid tool changing on site

Caterpillar Work Tools’ Auto-Connect provides reliable, safe and rapid tool changing on site

The need for speedy and efficient attachment changes is a major driver for the industry as contractors look for the maximum productivity from their equipment. In response, Cat Work Tools has launched a fully automatic coupler system, based around its well-established Quick-Connect, that allows attachment changes to be carried out in seconds rather than the minutes normally taken using most, if not all, the currently available systems.

Called Auto-Connect, the new system fully automates the change-over process, with the operator able to stay seated in the cab throughout, and can be used with any hydraulic or non-hydraulic tool.

Most existing quick couplers require the operator to manually make the various hydraulic connections required for the tool, a process that can take 10-15 minutes depending on the type of tool. Auto-Connect eliminates this. Special hydraulic connection 'cartridges' fit inside the coupling on the excavator and the top bracket on the tool, which allow for a maximum of five separate hydraulic lines (two high pressure, two medium pressure and an optional drain).

A sliding cover on both the coupler and the top bracket of the tool protects the hydraulic system from contamination from dust and other debris, with seals ensuring a tight fit between the two hydraulic cartridges when the attachment is mounted. A check valve is included to prevent the tool from disconnecting in the event of a hydraulics failure. When non-hydraulic trools are mounted, the cover on the coupler remains closed and the tool does not require conversion to be used with the system

A further advantage offered by the system is the elimination of hydraulic hoses running externally from the carrier to the attachment that can be damaged or caught when the tool is in use.

Auto-Connect is controlled through the Quick coupler actuation circuit and, when combined with Cat Tool Control, is simple to use and provides extremely rapid tool changeovers, says the company.

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