Volvo Construction Equipment’s view of the market for wheeled loaders in Europe is that it is “still a bit up and down”, but it reported that Great Britain had stood out as a strong market in the category with a total market increase of 22% in the past year.
According to specialist market intelligence and forecasting company Off-Highway Research, the European market for wheeled loaders was just over 19,000 units last year.
This comprised some 10,805 compact wheeled loaders – defined as machines with 60kW engines or less – and 8,205 larger models. Off-Highway Research’s Volume & Value service reckoned the segment was worth some €3.2 billion.
Compact wheeled loaders are disproportionately popular in Europe compared to other parts of the world, particularly in Germany, it said.
Off-Highway Research said that some 62% of the compact wheeled loaders sold in Europe go to Germany, but France is also a significant market, taking 1,200 machines this year.
Compact wheeled loaders also enjoy some popularity in the Nordic and Benelux regions.
Larger wheeled loaders are more of a global product, but Europe is still a net exporter of these machines, largely thanks to Volvo’s manufacturing base in Sweden.
Pontus Evertsson is director of sales support for GPPE (general purpose and production equipment) wheeled loaders and articulated haulers at Volvo CE in the Europe Middle East and Africa sales region.
He said that overall, the European wheeled loader market was increasing slightly.
“Volvo CE has seen strong sales in major markets, such as Sweden, Norway and Germany,” he said, “which has helped us to grow our overall market share for wheeled loaders in Europe.”
Sales have been coming back slowly in Italy and Benelux, he added.
Evertsson said the European wheeled loader market had been important to Volvo CE for a long time.
“Today some of our most popular products are the Volvo L90H and Volvo L120H wheeled loaders.”
He said that Volvo’s all-rounder concept with the TP-linkage (as opposed to Z-bar) was highly appreciated by many European customers for its versatility – supporting optimum performance and productivity from a vast range of matched Volvo attachments.
Volvo’s OptiShift technology, included on the L110H and L120H, has, also proved popular with customers, said Evertsson. He said OptiShift lowered fuel consumption by up to 18%, increased operator comfort and reduced stress on the drivetrain. It combines Volvo’s Reverse By Braking (RBB) technology and
a torque converter with lock-up.
Fuel efficiency is also cited by Doosan with the launch of its DL-5 generation Stage IV-compliant wheeled loaders – the new DL300-5, DL350-5 and DL420-5 models, replace the DL300-3, DL350-3 and DL420-3 Stage IIIB loaders launched in 2012.
And mid-sized Stage IV wheeled loaders are scheduled to be launched at the Bauma show in Munich, Germany, in April.
Said to share the same DNA as the larger dash-5 models, the new mid-sized models claim to offer similar levels of productivity improvement, comfort enhancement and increased product versatility. Bauma will see the launch of the DL200-5 and DL250-5 wheeled loaders.
The DL220-5 wheeled loader will be introduced later in the year.
Doosan said that with new external styling, the DL-5 range offered increased productivity and fuel economy, with features such as a new cab, powerful Scania Stage IV engines, “smooth and responsive” hydraulics, a ZF powertrain, axle cooling and auxiliary hydraulic connections.
Komatsu Europe will be showing the WA470-8 wheeled loader at Bauma, a machine it describes as a “utility performer” with an Stage IV engine and fuel consumption up to 8% lower than the WA470-7.
It said that the dash-8 model was built on the “recognised benefits” of its predecessor, and offered a combination of stability, breakout power and tractive effort.
The WA470-8 will be showcased at Bauma with a new auto-digging mode, a new E-light work mode and with Komatsu’s redesigned digging bucket, which it said improved penetration and was easier to fill.
The company said the KDPF (its diesel particulate filter) and other aftertreatment components worked together with the engine for improved efficiency and longer life. The SCR (selective catalyst reduction) system was said to reduce NOx emissions further using AdBlue.
It added that the engine’s advanced electronic control system managed the air-flow rate and the fuel injection, combustion parameters and aftertreatment functions. Performance is optimised, emissions reduced, and advanced diagnostic capabilities provided, said Komatsu.
It claimed that cleaning and maintenance were easier on the new model. The cooling fan swings out, and has wider fin spacing and a standard auto-reversing function. Gull-wing engine doors are said to provide quick, convenient access for daily checks and service.
Full rear fenders are standard, a sight gauge on the AdBlue fill cap helps avoid overfilling, and additional hinged panels on either side of the machine are designed to simplify access to regeneration components.
Among the machines that Caterpillar will be showing at Bauma will be the 966M XE wheeled loader, which is said to feature advanced power train design and deep systems integration for higher efficiency
and lower total costs, while the 918M
compact model meets Stage IV emission standards and can be equipped with a high flow auxiliary circuit, enabling the use of new work tools.
JCB is upgrading its mid-range wheeled loaders, introducing the DNA from its 457 wheeled loading shovel to the 427 and 437 models, along with the smaller 411 and 417 loaders.
The company said its CommandPlus cab delivered “class-leading comfort and visibility”. It was first seen last year on the larger 457. The new ROPS structure has B pillars that have been moved out to the same width as the rear of the cab, providing a larger interior with a panoramic front windscreen.
The machines feature JCB’s Command Driving Position, with revised pedals, an adjustable steering column and seat-mounted hydraulic controls.
Switches and auxiliary controls have been repositioned on the right hand
B pillar, providing the operator with a simplified interior and easy access to all machine controls, according to JCB. The loaders have full-colour LCD screens that incorporate access to the loader’s operating menus and act as a monitor for a rear-view camera.
JCB’s CommandPlus Control system allows the operator to adjust auxiliary flow rates on the main screen. It is also possible to use the monitor to adjust SRS boom suspension engagement speeds where fitted, and the timing of cooling fan reversal to clean out the cooling pack cores.
The models have Stage IV-compliant engines without a DPF (diesel particulate filter), and a single-piece bonnet which JCB said meant improved service access.
JCB chief innovation and growth officer Tim Burnhope said, “The Command Plus cab has already met with rave reviews from users of our flagship 457 model, and its introduction on other machines in the range gives us some great opportunities for growth.”
Hyundai will be introducing new models at Bauma, with the HL940 TM wheeled loader Tool Master, the HL955 TM wheeled loader Tool Master, the HL940 wheeled loader, and the HL980 wheeled loader. The HL970 was launched last year.
The Tool Master models are Hyundai’s wheeled loaders with parallel kinematics instead of a conventional Z-bar. They are fitted with a quick coupler to be used with a multitude of attachments such as forks, grapples, etc.
In addition to claiming to be more fuel-efficient, the new HL Series of machines are said to have other environmentally-friendly features. These include an automatic shutdown of the engine, which prevents unnecessary fuel consumption and emissions. The HL Series turns off the engine when it enters an idling state. Operators can select operating mode and idling time depending on work environments, which Hyundai said improved its efficiency even further.
An Eco Pedal gives feedback – increased pedal pressure – to the operator to stay in the engine’s economical operating range. The electro-hydraulic fingertip control, available on select models, provides additional precision and aims to reduce operator fatigue.
A colour-changing Eco Gauge provides the operator with a visual reference of fuel efficiency, total fuel consumption and average fuel data.
The new HL models are optimised to enable operators to access accurate equipment data in quick time.
The new Liebherr XPower wheeled loaders (which appeared in the December/January issue of CE) can be ordered now for delivery after Bauma.
The new XPower large wheeled loaders with Stage IV engines claim a wide range of innovations, such as the power-split driveline installed as standard.
It said that important main components, such as the innovative XPower driveline and the larger axles, were found to be particularly durable in testing over 70,000 operating hours. The load programme in the test phases included traditional back loading as well as customer-specific special operations.
The installation of the power-split XPower driveline as standard is said to ensure power and efficiency in the new large wheeled loaders. It performs the same function as the traditional power-split transmission but with a greater level of efficiency, Liebherr claimed. It combines two types of drive – the hydrostatic drive, the most efficient drive in short loading cycles, and the mechanical drive for long distances and driving up gradients.
The power-split transmission manages the interaction of the two drive types. It is adjustable and continuously adapts the mixing ratio of the two drive paths without noticeable switching and without interrupting traction power.
The company said that in this way, the power of the wheeled loader adapted to the specific requirements of the particular task. A greater hydrostatic element comes into effect during starting and loading, and a greater mechanical element is applied when travelling at higher speeds.
It said that together, the two paths always transferred 100% of the diesel engine power and only the mix ratio of the two paths changed.
Liebherr said that over a test and development phase lasting several years, it had worked to perfect the adaptation of all drive-train components. The result is claimed to be that XPower wheeled loaders reduced fuel consumption by up to 30%.
Case Construction Equipment added a new range of wheeled loaders last year that it claimed generated fewer emissions in six months than a 1996 loader in a single day.
The F Series complies with Stage IV with the Hi-eSCR technology developed by FPT Industrial, Case’s sister company.
It has a cooling cube – five radiators mounted to form a cube instead of overlapping – which it said ensured a constant flow of fresh, clean air from the sides and the top. It added that the cube structure also provides easy access for effective cleaning.
Models up to 20 tonnes feature the Proshift 5-speed transmission that Case said enabled the operator to take better advantage of the torque. The lock-up is said to result in fuel savings of up to 2 litres per hour, and faster cycles compared to conventional transmissions.
Kubota’s new RT and RO Series compact wheeled loaders are said to have been developed to ensure maximum efficiency, safety and flexibility for users.
The latest models introduced to the company’s RT Series incorporate a 45° articulation-oscillating angle, which the company said made it easy for users to fit through tight spaces without damaging surfaces when carrying out tasks.
Hydrostatic transmission and a high performance pump also work together to deliver maximum performance on site.
Kubota said that the RO65 and RO85 compact wheeled loaders had undergone significant developments to offer a long dumping reach and high dumping clearance. It added that they offered superior breakout force, high levels of manoeuvrability and excellent stability.
Neil Winfield, Kubota Construction’s business development manager, said, “The overall European construction equipment market grew by 9% according to CECE’s 2014 figures, with UK growth even stronger at 32% for 2014. With 2015 shaping up to be another strong year of sales, therefore this presents an ideal opportunity for Kubota to expand our range of products and increase our market share within the construction sector.
“We already head the market in mini excavator sales, so the RT and RO compact wheeled loader products are a natural addition to our current offering, giving our end users the complete Kubota solution. We have put in extensive work to manufacture these machines, ensuring that they can deliver on performance, ease of operation and comfort.”
Bell Equipment UK has supplied Hanson, part of HeidelbergCement, with 13 wheeled loaders to be deployed at its sites producing aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete and building products.
Bell said that tests conducted some years ago by HeidelbergCement in Belgium revealed good performance results for wheeled loaders from John Deere – the company which manufactures the Bell range of wheeled loaders.
As a result, Bell was invited by Hanson to tender for its 2014/15 purchasing period.
Chris Hope, continuous improvement manager at HeidelbergCement, said, “The brighter economic outlook of recent years has made it essential that we have equipment capable of meeting growing demand, and we had a remit to replace a sizeable number of machines nationwide with the focus on key sites and applications.”
Yanmar Construction Equipment Europe’s latest compact wheeled loader additions are the V7 and the V8.
They will be powered by Yanmar engines, and the V7 model has an operating weight of 4,100kg, and offers a payload of 1,800kg. The V8 model has an operating weight of 4,350kg, and a payload of 2,100kg.
For the lifting frame, Yanmar has chosen for the Z-bar concept, which it said allowed excellent breakout force and high lifting forces. This concept also increases the visibility, especially to the front of the machine.
Yanmar said that the models were compact with a total machine height of less than 2.5m. It said they had powerful hydrostatic transmission with optional High Speed Mode and Slow Drive Device.