Caterpillar announced the launch of a prototype demonstration project for a battery-powered field elevator with Flory Industries, a global leader in the production of nut-harvesting equipment.
Supported by Holt of California, the local Cat dealer, the prototype will demonstrate how a 600-volt battery-powered powertrain can deliver the performance, reliability and durability currently provided in this application by a conventional 74-horsepower diesel engine while reducing maintenance and operating with zero tailpipe emissions.
The project is the first presentation of a prototype machine by a third-party original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) using Caterpillar’s battery-powered solution. It will also leverage Caterpillar’s expertise in evaluating system requirements; optimizing system architectures; managing system controls development, calibration, and verification; and performing final system validation.
Holt of California will apply its specific knowledge of Flory’s equipment architecture and duty cycles to provide day-to-day engineering, integration and testing support.
The electrified powertrain will feature Caterpillar’s new prototype battery, which uses lithium-ion technology and features a modular design to boost 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 that addresses common user concerns while demonstrating the numerous benefits.
Flory engineers will coordinate the demonstration project from the Flory Industries’ headquarters and development center in Salida, Calif., with support from Caterpillar and Holt of California’s teams located in the Sacramento area. 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.
Flory and Caterpillar engines: powering a better world
Starting in 2002, Flory has specified Cat diesel engines for powered equipment in its fleet of agricultural equipment. The company currently uses U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final Cat engines for self-propelled harvesters, shuttle trucks, elevators and brush shredders.
“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.”
David Leinfelder, industrial engine sales engineer at Holt of California, explained: “Flory is a recognized leader in nut harvesting equipment, with satisfied customers around the globe from California’s Central Valley to Chile, Spain and Australia. We share a common culture that prioritizes engineering excellence and customer service, which makes Flory ideal for demonstrating Caterpillar’s first battery application with a third-party OEM.”
“Like Caterpillar, Flory is a forward-thinking OEM leading its customers through the energy transition,” said Steve Ferguson, Caterpillar senior vice president of the Industrial Power Systems Division. “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.”
Caterpillar and Flory will showcase their capabilities in the South Exhibits at the 2024 World Ag Expo in Tulare, California, from February 13 to 15, 2024.