By: Allison McMillan


Goodman Contractors has welcomed a new Cat D8T track-type tractor to the fleet and is looking forward to putting it to work reaping the benefits of its power and productivity for what is set to be a busy year ahead.


Perhaps the most recognisable of all Cat machines is the track-type tractor, and a brand new D8T has recently joined the ranks at Goodman Contractors in Wellington.

"This is the first brand new dozer for Goodman's since the 1960s. My father [Rick] remembers the last one but I don't, so the arrival of the new Cat D8T is really important and exciting for us — and what we will be able to do with it is even more so," says Stan Goodman, company director.

Described by Stan as "just awesome" and "looking a million dollars", Goodman's new Cat D8T was recently delivered to a sub-division at Whitby on a brilliant sunny day in Wellington. Joining three other Cat track-type tractors already in its fleet, Stan says the new D8T was purchased primarily to meet the demands of its growing work load that the other dozers are not suitable or cannot be spared for.

While the Cat T-Series tractor is renowned for superior performance, one of the most significant features of this particular machine for Stan and the Goodman's team is the full AccuGrade Dual GPS technology that is installed on the dozer, identified by the tall sensors visible at both ends of the blade.

The AccuGrade GPS system provides pinpoint accurate positioning of the blade's cutting edge relative to the required design. In the cabin, a seven-inch colour display provides operators with plan, cross section, and long section views together, along with vital text information such as cut or fill values. Operators can choose between manual or automatic blade control depending on the task at hand.

The Cat D8T is the fifth machine that Goodman's has had a GPS installed on, and along with two other Cat motor graders, it is the third to be fully automatic.

"The Cat D8T is an incredibly powerful machine and its productivity alone speaks for itself, but the GPS technology gives us all this added value and it's really noticeable that our operator's productivity has improved as a result of using it," Stan says.

"The blade finds its level automatically, the operator does not have to repeat work unnecessarily, and they don't have to rely on ground pegs either."

In the short term, the D8T is working at the Whitby sub-division, a Todd Developments project, pushing cut to fill and tidying up after dump trucks. Over the next twelve months Goodman Contractors will be utilising the D8T for the Mill Creek Wind Farm project where they are subcontractors for Higgins, who won the Head Civil Works contract for the site development.

The 26-turbine wind farm is to be constructed north-west of Wellington in Ohariu Valley, and access roading, bulk earthworks, pavement construction, trench cabling, and tower foundations are programmed for completion by March 2014.

"The Mill Creek project is running over a twelve-month period, and the D8T will be a significant part of Goodman's subcontract," Stan says.

"We're looking to use the machine for cutting pads out to grade, pushing cut to fill, and ripping the harder ground around the site where necessary."

"The D8T feels really light on its feet for a 42-tonne dozer. It's nimble and manoeuvrable, and we are pleased to have it ahead of the Mill Creek project as we know it will make a huge difference to productivity."

The Cat D8T track-type tractor is driven by a 310-hp Cat C15 ACERT™ engine. The high torque and power-shift transmission allows the D8T to handle tough material and provide years of dependable service.

With larger equipment like the D8T, ease of serviceability and parts availability both contribute to minimising downtime and this was a key aspect in the sale of this machine. Stan says the Cat product and the support from Goughs gives him and his team the ability to keep the job running as smoothly as possible.

"I have my own team of mechanics to repair the machines, and they all find the Cat machines easier to service and access parts for and, specifically in the D8T, the componentry is easy to access and overhaul, such as the transmission and final drives. The layout underneath the engine panels of the D8T is very logical, and that's helpful when you want to access the engine; you don't want a tricky jigsaw puzzle."

Goodman Contractors has acquired several Cat machines from Goughs since 2011, including a new Cat 336DL hydraulic excavator, a new Cat 320D excavator fitted with GPS technology, and a used Cat 314 excavator, all adding extra digging power to the fleet. Now that the D8T has been delivered, Stan says that Goodman's long-term strategy for its fleet is to maintain the equipment in top condition rather than always upgrading, and this is where the working relationship with Goughs is most beneficial.

"We don't buy new gear too often; we want our machines to last for the long-term and to achieve this, equipment has to be reliable, parts have to be available when and where we need them, and machine rebuilds need to be a viable option if it comes to that. Goughs has always delivered in this area."

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