Excavation work is one of the many services provided by Tucker Paving, Inc., and a few of the photos on our website show us using one or more huge machines to do it. These are CAT excavators, with CAT serving as shorthand for the famously yellow equipment made by the 91-year-old Caterpillar company.

These big CATs are fabulous machines and obviously help us to do our excavation and trenching work much more quickly and efficiently. One of the CATs, clearly marked as ours with “Tucker Paving” signage, is shown well — in a small valley it made — in a photo on our website home page. It’s a 336E L model, and we’d like to tell you a little bit about it.

The 336E is one of the later models in the 300 series of excavators that originated in the 1990s. (The 336E H, the industry’s first hydraulic hybrid excavator, is now on the market.) Caterpillar refers to the 336E, perhaps in understated fashion, as a “large hydraulic excavator.” The company boasts that it offers 12 percent greater engine power and five percent greater hydraulic lift capacity — with fuel consumption — than its predecessor, the 336D excavator. The 336E arm (one of several boom and stick options) has a longer reach than the 336D and includes several cab improvements to keep operators safe, comfortable, and productive.

The specifications state that the 336E has a net flywheel power of 300 horsepower and a gross power of 323 horsepower. Its operating weight is 86,200 pounds (43.1 U.S. tons), and its top speed on two tracks is whopping three miles per hour. What’s important is not how quickly this beast moves along the ground but how quickly it moves ground — and it moves a lot of dirt! Capacities include 168.3 gallons for the fuel tank (diesel fuel), 14.8 gallons for the cooling system, 100.4 gallons for the hydraulic system (including the 46.2-gallon hydraulic tank), and 8.1 gallons for the engine oil.

The 336E is powered by a Cat® C9.3 (ATAAC) engine. ATAAC alone could be the topic of blog post, but for brevity’s sake, we’ll share how Caterpillar describes the “air-to-air after cooler”: It’s “a single-pass, aluminum, heat exchanger or cooling system for the pressurized air coming from the turbocharger, before it enters the engine intake manifold. Cooling the pressurized air from the turbocharger increases the density of the engine’s intake air. The increase air density in the cylinders results in more power, improved combustion, and reduced exhaust emissions.” Cool!

This barely scratches the surface with details about the big CAT 336E. Suffice it to say we love it and the capabilities it gives us. We also love and appreciate our company’s skilled excavator operators. They’re so good, they make handling the 336E look like child’s play.