2016 CAT 545D
When we bought this skidder in 2016, is was a Big Moment for us here at G.W. Tatro. Getting a new skidder was long a passion project of Justin Day, our Equipment Manager. See, Justin also happens to have cut his teeth on our mountain jobs, and now is Director of all Mountain Operations. Skidders play an integral part of our mountain work in this company. We are unique in that we use skidders for heavy mountain hauling, trail construction, and snowmaking—not for logging. So getting a new skidder after the 1992 purchase of our CAT 584 makes sense as a passion project for a man who doubles as Equipment Manager and Mountain Ops Director. But it was a dream that long remained unfulfilled. Until, that is, the year 2016. Enter the 2016 CAT 545D.
This skidder looks quite a bit different than the skidders of the 1990s. It is far more modern looking—and has much improved in technological performance. In fact, “just about everything” is computer controlled, Justin says. The hydraulics, the transmission, the engine. It also has an enclosed cab to house all these electronic components and controls. And, as you can see from the pictures above, it has a grapple to help balance the machine in addition to, well, grappling, trees. This grapple, as you might imagine, makes hitching trailers onto the skidder for hauling pretty easy. That’s because we can just pick the trailers right up to align them!
The 545D is also extremely quiet. 2016 545D CAT skidder has a C7.1 ACERT engine that uses a combination of selective catalytic reduction, exhaust gas recirculation, and a diesel oxidation catalyst system to meet U.S. EPA tier 4 final emission standards.
This skidder has “endless amounts of power,” Justin enthuses. It also is heavier than our other skidders. This is helpful in giving better traction, but the tradeoff is that it sometimes sinks a bit more into softer ground. Other prized features of this machine are a 6 speed transmission with heavy duty axels that help it traverse difficult terrain, a new hydraulic system and a greater lift capacity to improve productivity, and a comfortable pressurized cabin which helps ensure a focused operator is always working our jobs. With our custom-made, precedent setting, super heavy-duty winch– a product of Allied Winch, Inc.—this machine is hard to beat! While its arrival was certainly a Big Moment, the 545D continues to prove itself as a Big Deal on our mountain jobs, at last fulfilling that longest dream of our Equipment Manager and Mountain Director.