Caterpillar’s new smart creep feature for skid steers and compact track loaders is designed to take the guess work out of setting the right creep speed for operating attachments such as cold planers and wheel saws.
Smart creep, which senses the load on the attachments and automatically adjusts the drive command for the most productive speed, is expected to be commercially available later this year. At that time, Caterpillar’s full range of D3 loaders will come smart creep ready from the factory.
Smart creep works through a combination of attachment sensors and proprietary software which balances attachment load and machine speed to maximize productivity.
By continually sensing the load on the attachment, smart creep increases machine speed when encountering less resistance and automatically slows the machine when encountering higher load. Engine load remains constant, while the operator can monitor hydraulic pressure on the in-cab display panel.
Without the aid of this feature, setting creep speed too fast can lead to stalling the attachment, and too slow of speed results in productivity loss. Smart creep software smoothly and efficiently determines the optimal machine speed for cutting conditions, Caterpillar says. With smart creep, the operator needs only to activate the standard creep control system and set the maximum creep speed on the advanced display inside the cab.
Once the tool engages the cut, smart creep measures load on the attachment and adjusts the drive command automatically as cutting begins. In the event of the cutter jamming or stalling, an auto reverse feature within smart creep quickly changes machine direction to allow the tool to clear the jam.
Targeted availability for smart creep on Cat D3 SSL and CTL machines is the third quarter of 2022. A field installation kit consisting of sensors and machine software for operating the new feature will be made available for existing fleet loaders and attachments.