The year that just ended brought to our shop a new challenge, an impulse that once again has led our company to evolve and improve. The request was very specific and we met it by employing all our ingenuity and innovation. We were awarded an important project on behalf of Saipem: adapting three 374F Caterpillar excavators for a demanding job in Saudi Arabia, to be used for transport and operations in seawater up to 4 metre deep and with incline up to 8 degrees.

The client's request indicated the need to dig a trench of several kilometers in the water, in order to bury a methane pipeline coming from the open sea, which would then continue its journey on the mainland. The depth of the seabed in that stretch of sea, which varies from 2 to 4 meters, would not allow the use of dredgers on ships or other similar means, so crawler excavators, with the appropriate modifications, proved to be extremely functional.

In an interview given to the Macchine Edili (Construction Machines) magazine, our CEO Marco Laurini personally described how we managed to obtain the top result. Here is an excerpt of the interview:

"Starting from the base of Caterpillar's 374F, we were able to obtain a multipurpose and exceptionally stable machine. First of all, we redesigned and built the undercarriage, enlarged and able to mount special oversized skids for mixed land/water use so that it can be quickly converted. On the latter, we have realized a fifth wheel coupling joint under turret of modular type, with rings, able to support the fifth wheel coupling and the turret and the upper parts outside the water level. 
We also replaced the original boom with an 18-meter boom, equipped with oversized hydraulic pistons, with graphite-coated stems and a special 450-micron paint finish, suitable for resisting the saline wear of seawater. Our Cat 374F is extremely stable, free of oscillation and capable of delivering remarkable performance in both bucket digging and hook lifting. Our Technical Department has done an excellent job, taking into account that even during the construction phase we have made changes at the request of the customer in a very short time."

"Thanks to our flexibility and the skills of our technicians, we were able to beat foreign competitors in many ways: our implementation schedule, the performance and the final cost-effectiveness. Besides, when the works inside the water have finished, the machines can be reconverted quickly and go back to being 374F standard excavators, a unique characteristic of these machines. CGT provided the basic Cat 374F upon which we carried out our modifications for the tender called by Saipem."
Moreover, the machines are designed to be able to remain, at the end of the works, on the excavation site in the middle of the sea, thanks to a revised turret that allows the access to the operator, by means of ladders from different points, reachable by dinghy or other boat. On the perimeter of the CAT 374F a walkway accessible from both sides has been built with an extension in front of the cabin.

The result is an extremely versatile and adaptable machine, able to optimize its cost and meet a particular need, with a unique efficiency and performance, characterized by stability, controllability and solidity.