Cat® GRADE with 3D: Your FAQs Answered

by New member JoelFritts on ‎08-14-2017 03:51 PM

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After seeing the volume of questions and comments received during and after the recent Cat® GRADE Dozer Technology 101 Live Event on our Cat Landscaping and Construction Trades Facebook page, we wanted to take the opportunity in this month’s blog to dial-in specifically to Cat GRADE with 3D. While the Live event highlighted all available Cat grading technologies, Cat GRADE with 3D is the newest, integrated option available for select Cat® Dozers.


Q: What was the purpose of developing Cat GRADE with 3D?

A: The primary purpose behind developing this technology was to improve accuracy and reduce the amount of time it takes operators to complete grading projects—ultimately, leading to a reduction of overall costs. This system differs from other Cat grading technologies because it is fully-integrated into the machine at the factory, in order to optimize performance with other machine features and remove the need for operators to remove gear at end of day. It also uses GPS technology to create a 3D grade plan with cut/fill data to help guide the operator and automated blade movements to achieve consistent, quality grades in fewer passes.


Q: On which Cat Dozer models is this technology available?

A: Cat GRADE with 3D is available on Cat D3K2, D4K2, D5K2, D6K2, D6N, D6T, D8T and D9T Dozers.


Q: How accurate are the grading capabilities of this technology?

A: Cat GRADE with 3D is an extremely accurate technology, grading within an inch to an inch and a quarter of your target. It is also compatible with Cat GRADE with Slope Assist. When the two technologies are used together, accuracy can be enhanced even further.  


Q: How does the technology track and maintain the right blade positioning?

A: There are two GNSS antennas on top of the cab and the machine uses a system of sensors, along with chassis kinematics to calculate the position of the blade. The antennas are mounted on the cab to eliminate masts and cables traditionally located on the blade. This keeps antennas protected, and saves time by eliminating the need for daily component installation/removal. Compared with single-antenna systems, the dual antenna design adjusts for steep slope work and machine direction changes to yield accurate grades on every pass. 


Q: Why is a base station needed to operate 3D GPS systems?

A: GPS technology utilizes signals from the satellites in the sky to send to the machine. However, these signals alone do not provide the accuracy that is needed to grade to an expected target. Therefore, the base station is positioned at a known survey point on the jobsite, and sends additional correction signals to the machine in order provide the accuracy required for construction projects.


Q: Does this system replace the need for an experienced machine operator?

A: Definitely not. This system serves as an extension of a machine operator’s skills. For the advanced operator, it helps reduce fatigue and saves time by reducing manual inputs by up to 80 percent. For more novice operators, the system helps ensure grading accuracy and also notifies the operator if they are exceeding desired blade loads. This technology does eliminate the need for grade staking, which allows contractors to reduce costs and safety risks, as well as prevent cutting below the desired grade.


Q: Is it difficult to learn how to operate Cat GRADE with 3D?

A: This system was designed to be as user-friendly as possible, making the learning curve minimal for experienced, intermediate and novice operators. Additionally, Caterpillar has partnered with SITECH®, which serves as the Cat dealer support arm for all Cat GRADE technologies. They provide everything from on-site training to software support.


To learn more about the Cat GRADE with 3D and how it can benefit your business, contact your local Cat dealer.


We just answered some of the frequent questions we have received about Cat GRADE with 3D. But we’d like some additional feedback from you.


  • What are the biggest challenges you face with grading projects?
  • On average, how much time and cost do you incorporate into job bids for manual grading tasks, such as grade staking?
  • Have you ever considered equipping your machines(s) or purchasing a machine with grade control technology? If yes, what are the most important benefits to you?
  • Have you ever operated a machine with grade control technology or Cat GRADE with 3D, in particular? If so, what did you think?

by New member YBS
on ‎06-06-2018 08:51 AM

Having problems with the “Hunting” aspect of D6N MG5 Blade Lift Hunting up and down when AccuGrade or Slope Assist is Activated. Curious if anyone else is having this same problem with this series of the D6NLGP?

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  • I’m an Attachments Product Application & Sales Support Specialist for Caterpillar in North America. I have been with Caterpillar for five years including roles in the field as a dealer sales support representative and marketing support in the skid steer and small wheel loader product groups. I graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in Agricultural Business and Economics. Our goal is to provide a full portfolio of attachments for our customers to be more productive and versatile with their machines.
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  • I am a Product Application Specialist with 16 years of experience in the industry. As a Building Construction Products Global Trainer, I focus on training dealers and customers on machines, attachments and applications as it relates to the construction, agriculture and landscaping segments.
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  • I am a Product and Application Specialist with over 35 years experience at Caterpillar. I focus on helping you to determine the best Cat machines, work tool attachments, and services for you to use in the building and general construction, landscaping, specialty trades, and agricultural industries.
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  • Jeff Brown is a marketing professional for Caterpillar Skid Steer, Multi Terrain and Compact Track Loaders. Over Jeff's 12 years in the industry, he has visited with and studied the needs of customers across landscaping, construction, and agriculture segments. Delivering innovative solutions that solve customer's problems is Jeff's main focus.
  • I am a North American Product and Application Specialist for Caterpillar. In this role, I have had the opportunity to represent Caterpillar at various trade shows and train customers on new Small Wheel Loader content. I graduated from Purdue University in 2001 with a Mechanical Engineering degree and have spent the past 15 years with Caterpillar in various engineering roles. Growing up in the Mid-West, I have always loved the cold and the unique activities winter enables. Unfortunately, I had to give those up when I moved to North Carolina. I don't care what people say, you never get used to a hot climate.
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