Caterpillar collaborates on electrified powertrain prototype

Caterpillar Inc. has launched a prototype demonstration project for a battery-powered field elevator with global nut-harvesting equipment producer Flory Industries.

A Caterpillar 600-volt lithium-ion battery will be used as part of the powertrain for the demonstration project. (Photo: Caterpillar)

In announcing the collaboration, Steve Ferguson, Caterpillar senior vice president of the Industrial Power Systems Division, commented: “Like Caterpillar, Flory is a forward-thinking OEM leading its customers through the energy transition. Their deep roots in heavy-duty agriculture machinery and commitment to superior performance make them ideal collaborators as our electrification capabilities gain further momentum across the industry.”

The prototype will demonstrate how a 600-volt battery-powered powertrain can deliver equivalent performance, reliability and durability in the field elevator application as a conventional 74-hp diesel engine, Caterpillar said, while reducing maintenance and operating with zero tailpipe emissions. The electrified powertrain will feature Caterpillar’s new prototype battery, which uses lithium-ion technology and features a modular design to enable optimal performance while minimizing packaging. Engineers will integrate the batteries with inverters, motors, electronic controls, digital services and other critical technologies in a power-dense solution.

The project is the first presentation of a prototype machine by a third-party OEM using Caterpillar’s battery-powered solution. It will leverage the company’s experience in evaluating system requirements; optimizing system architectures; managing system controls development, calibration and verification; and performing final system validation.

Battery-powered Flory field elevator prototype An initial prototype of the field elevator will be ready for field testing by Flory in the second quarter of 2024. (Photo: Caterpillar)

The demonstration project will be supported by Holt of California, the local Cat dealer, which will apply its knowledge of Flory’s equipment architecture and duty cycles to provide day-to-day engineering, integration and testing support. Flory engineers will coordinate the project from Flory Industries’ headquarters and development center in Salida, Calif., with support from Caterpillar and Holt of California’s teams in the Sacramento area.

“Our customers have an intense, compressed timeline for harvesting, and they expect our machinery to work as hard as they do,” said Todd Wille, President and COO of Flory. “We’ve relied on Holt of California and Cat engines to supply superior power performance for more than two decades, which is why we’ve decided to collaborate with them on a system that anticipates the increasing requirements for lower-carbon applications in agriculture without sacrificing productivity.”

An initial prototype ready for field testing by Flory is scheduled for the second quarter of 2024, with pilot units available for customers in 2025 and full production expected in 2026.


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