You have questions about the new Cat® CT681 Vocational Truck—we have answers. Dave Schmitz, Caterpillar’s global on-highway truck product manager, shared the details about this new set-forward-axle model that made its debut at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2014 in Las Vegas last month.
Q: Why add a set-forward axle truck? What kinds of customers will the CT681 appeal to?
A: Many of our customers are affected by bridge law formulas in their states or on the interstate highway system, and the set-forward-axle design helps them maximize their loads. Other customers prefer a longer wheelbase truck for better ride quality on long hauls or rough haul roads. For them, a set-forward-axle model like the CT681 is ideal. We built it to haul heavy loads, work hard and last for years, even in the toughest applications.
Q: How is the CT681 different than the first Cat Truck model, the CT660?
A: The set-forward axle is obviously a big change from the set-back-axle CT660. The CT681, which is focused only on truck applications, also sports a different look—it’s still rugged, but features more industrial styling.
The biggest differences are the features available on the front of the truck—the CT681’s optional Front Frame Extension (FFE) and Front Engine PTO (FEPTO). These options make it quick and easy for customers to mount attachments like snow plows, hose reels, winches and hydraulic pumps. We also worked to maintain a short (114”) Bumper-to-Back-of-Cab (BBC) to allow more room and flexibility in installing bodies behind the cab. Mixer installation is simple, too, with vertical tie-in plates mounted behind the cab. The CT681 is all about maximizing payload and providing flexibility to set up the ideal truck for a customer’s application.
Q: Do the CT681 and CT660 share any common features?
A: Yes—quite a few, in fact. We wanted to build on what’s already proven with the CT660 wherever possible. The cab is identical, just as spacious, comfortable and ergonomic to help boost driver productivity and safety. Both trucks are powered by Cat CT Series Vocational Truck Engines and available with the Cat CX31 Automatic Transmission, which has been very popular with our CT660 owners and drivers. The many features incorporated into the CT660’s truck chassis are also available on the CT681. And of course, like all Cat products, both trucks are backed by bumper-to-bumper Cat dealer service.
Q: Has the CT681 been at work on any jobsites yet?
A: We’ve actually had it working on quite a few customer job sites across North America since the third quarter of last year. So far, it’s been used as a snow plow, concrete mixer, water truck, dump truck and super dump truck. This is what we call a “field follow program” at Caterpillar, and it’s the equivalent of more than three years of actual truck use. We’re confident the CT681 is ready to handle whatever tough jobs our customers throw at it.
Q: Can I buy a CT681 today?
A: We expect to be in full production by the middle of 2014. So talk to your local Cat dealer—the order board is open!
Thanks, Dave—we appreciate your insights! To learn more about the new CT681 Cat Vocational Truck, check out all the features on drivecat.com, including a spec video and 360° views.