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New Cat[R] Pipelayers boost lift capacity, performance.

Special to Pipeline & Gas Journal

Cat[R] Pipelayers have long set the standard for performance, safety, reliability, operator comfort and global dealer support. The company recently announced those standards have been elevated by the new PL83 and PL87 models. The models--while retaining the solid basic design of their predecessors--answer customer needs for increased lift capacity, enhanced slope capability, ease of operation, performance and transportability.

The PL83 replaces the 583T. It has a rated lifting capacity of 160,000 pounds (75,575 kg)--a 14% increase over the previous model. The PL87, replacing both 587T and 587R, has a rated lifting capacity of 214,000 pounds (97,069 kg), for a 6% boost in lifting capacity.

Both new models use the Cat C15 ACERT[TM] engine, with a net horsepower rating of 310 hp (231 kW) in the PL83 and 366 hp (273 kW) in the PL87. Both retain the field-proven Cat drive train, including a rugged 3F/3R powershift transmission, high-efficiency torque divider, elevated final drives and the exclusive Cat differential steering system.

Lift System Enhancements

The increased lifting capacity for the PL83 and PL87 results from undercarriage and counterweight changes. The track roller frame on both machines has been lengthened and the rear idler repositioned, yielding higher lift capacity and enhanced stability when the machines work on slopes.

In addition, counterweight packages have been reconfigured to improve weight distribution for increased lifting capacity and to provide a reduced profile for even better forward and right-side visibility. Counterweight segments (13 for the PL83 and 15 for the PL87) are splined to counterweight assembly for positive retention and ease of removal.

A new low-profile, heavy-duty Pullmaster winch in the hook draw works simplifies transport and aids visibility. Improved hydraulics offer greater response and more precise control for greater machine productivity. Boom and hook draw works use independent winches with oil-disc brakes that ensure smooth operation and secure retention of position.


Boom choices for the PL83 and PL87 include 24-foot (7.32-m) and 28-foot (8.53-m) versions, each fabricated with high-tensile-strength steel for durability to handle added pay-load. A new block-set design enhances sightlines to the pipe, and a new bolt-on block horn on the frame of the tractor's radiator guard secures the block for transport.

Operator Station Refinements

The PL83 and PL87 feature well-appointed operator stations with a redesigned joystick that places all boom, hook and counterweight functions in a single right-hand control lever. Two push buttons at the top of the joystick also allow adjusting engine speed up or down in small increments for precise control. Both machines are available with either an open-ROPS or enclosed cab.

Productivity and safety are further enhanced with added mirrors that significantly expand visibility for the operator and complement the visibility afforded by a tapered hood and "notched" fuel tank. Dual brake pedals enhance machine control, especially on slopes and for turning within a tight pipeline right-of-way. Both new models also feature a durable, redesigned ladder that allows easier access/egress from the cab.

Arctic Arrangements offer an enclosed cab with single or dual pane windows, as well as arctic fluids, seals and batteries for optimal pipelayer performance in arctic conditions.


Technologies like Cat Product Link for remote monitoring and advanced machine diagnostics help improve equipment management for greater efficiency and overall reduced costs. Contact: requestCatinfo.

 PL83 PL87

Operating Weight 106,807 lb. (48 447 kg) 120,119 lb. (54 485 kg)
Lifting Capacity 160,000 lb. (72 575 kg) 214,000 lb. (97 069 kg)
Extendible Weight 23,817 lb. (10 826 kg) 30,587 lb. (13 903 kg)
Wire Rope Size 0.75 in. (19 mm) 0.75 in. (19 mm)
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Title Annotation:Tech Notes: Product Development
Publication:Pipeline & Gas Journal
Date:Jan 1, 2012
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