Improved ergonomics, safety and efficiency are the three of the main trends with manufacturers of wheeled loaders –and that’s aside from gearing up for the new engine emission regulations, set to come in to play in 2019. In a year that has boasted major trade shows, companies have innovated to squeeze every percentage of improvement in as many areas as possible, to ensure they’re staying on board the ever-improving train of technological advances.
One company which has ensured a front seat is Komatsu America, which has launched its new WA600-8 wheeled loader.
The Japanese manufacturer has equipped its new loader with an EPA Tier 4 Final certified engine, and Komatsu says its new machine combines an “enhanced lockup torque converter function” and “SmartLoader logic”, which will achieve low fuel consumption and high travel speeds.
The new WA600-8 has improved its fuel efficiency by 13% compared with its previous engine, which was Tier 3 certified. The standard bucket capacity on the loader has also increased in size by 8.4 m³ and is said to fill easier and retain material better, while providing improved visibility, which Komatsu says contributes to machine efficiency and productivity.
Other features of the new WA600-8 include a Komatsu’s own diesel particulate filter (DPF), while other aftertreatment components have been designed to ensure the engine has a longer shelf life.
The aforementioned SmartLoader Logic, combined with the enhanced lockup torque converter that activates in 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear, provides optimal engine torque for improved acceleration, hill-climbing ability, a higher top speed and fuel savings, says Komatsu.
Reviewing the new wheeled loader from inside the cab, Komatsu has added a new heated seat, which softens machine vibrations for operator comfort, while cast frame members increase the seats strength.
The company has also added new seat-mounted electronic pilot control levers with an F-N-R switch, which also enhances comfort for the operator, as well convenience.
Well balanced machines
Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) says its new L45H and L50H wheeled loaders are well balanced machines, which ensure a strong performance, even in confined jobsites.
The H-series wheeled loaders are equipped with Volvo’s Torque Parallel (TP) linkage, and are promised to deliver high breakout torque and excellent parallel movement throughout the entire lifting range.
Volvo says that the long wheel base, a low centre of gravity and good weight distribution gives the machines good stability on rough and uneven terrain.
Caterpillar has launched its new 966L and 972L medium wheeled loaders, which the company says feature added power, greater fuel efficiency and drive-train refinement, as well as operator comfort and safety enhancements. The models have been released in South America and South Africa.
Meanwhile, the company has added two more medium wheeled loaders to its fleet, which have been released in the Middle East, Turkey, CIS, Asia Pacific and Greater China, in the shape of the 950L and 962L. Engine power, fuel efficiency and operator comfort are among the improvements in Cat’s new wheeled loaders.
Meanwhile, LuiGong says its range of wheeled loaders have established a global reputation for durability and reliability, and the company’s new wheeled loader – the 865H – has been developed to meet the needs of the European market.
LuiGong says that, through its experience in manufacturing wheeled loaders, the result of its new launch is a rugged, reliable machine with an operating weight of 17,800 kg and a standard bucket capacity of 3.3 m³.
The 856H is powered by a Cummins QSB6.7 engine that Luigong says delivers a powerful combination of high performance and low fuel consumption, even in extreme conditions.
The power is supported by a new ZF powertrain of 4WG200 gearbox and wet axles. Situated at the front and rear, the ZF wet axles claim to give maximum traction and less slip, even on the soft and muddy terrain.
The 856H also incorporates a new LiuGong design that claims to provide comfort and productivity for the operator. The wheeled loader is certified FOPS/ROPS and provides a low-noise environment with a Grammer vertical and horizontal air suspension seat and adjustable steering column.
The operator has an easy reach to the joystick, as well as forward, reverse and kickdown functions. There is also a rear-view camera, heated mirrors, a large storage area, and a large curved front glass, giving improved visibility.
Hyundai has launched four new wheeled loaders which promise 5% greater productivity and 10% lower fuel consumption than its previous 9A series loaders.
The HL940 TM, HL955 TM, HL970 and HL980 wheeled loaders were said to have been built with the operator in mind, with a strong focus on quality and safety. Hyundai says both the ergonomics and cost efficiency have improved.
The HL940 TM and HL955 TM are Hyundai’s wheel loaders with parallel kinematics, instead of a conventional Z-bar. They are fitted with a quick coupler, which can be used with a multitude of attachments, such as forks and grapples.
The company noted that safety was a motive when designing the machines, and when stepping on and off for inspection and maintenance, the wheeled loaders are equipped with large access steps to the cab, convenient grab handles and upper guard rails near the engine. The larger cab also promises improved entry and exit.
Hitachi Construction Machinery Europe (HCME), meanwhile, says its new ZW65-6, ZW75-6 and ZW95-6 have been designed with an emphasis on the environment and operator safety. The company says its new wheeled loaders are ideal for a wide range of applications, and are extremely versatile, comfortable to operate and offer improved reliability.
HCME says that several features highlight the versatility of the 4.7 to 5.4 tonne machines. With an overall height of 2.4 m, they are easy to move on a trailer, and the ZW65-6 and ZW75-6 have optional 30 km/h travel speeds. Attachments can be connected quickly and easily with the electro-hydraulically operated quick coupler.
Improved visibility of the fork attachment from the cab promises greater precision, which claims to have a positive impact on safety on a variety of job sites.
Safety and visibility are also enhanced by the 360° panoramic view from the spacious cab. Further high-quality design elements of the new wheel loaders include ergonomically designed controls. The self-stabilising articulated pendulum joint increases stability, which the company says results in higher levels of durability and control.
Case Construction’s 721F and 621F wheeled loaders feature the company’s HI-eSCR technology that doesn’t require EGR or particulate filter. Case says the unique design that only uses built-for-life-components is maintenance free and fuel efficient.The company says the solution has the additional advantage of safety near flammable materials, as the exhaust’s maximum temperature is 200°C lower than it would be with a DPF. This feature is particularly useful when doing jobs such as handling materials in wood recycling centres.
Another feature that Case says is extremely valuable in waste handling applications is the Case Heavy Duty Cooling option, which prevents clogging of the radiator.
Meanwhile, Kramer, part of the Wirtgen Group, is now offering a fully electric wheeled loaders along with its diesel-operated version. The company says that, in addition to zero emissions, its all-electric wheeled loader offers off-road capabilities and low service costs.
Due to zero emissions, the new Kramer 5055e wheeled loader can be operated indoors without restrictions, unlike a diesel-operated machine. Noise levels with the all-electric have also been significantly reduced.
The 5055e is available in the size class of 0.55 m³ bucket capacity. Two electric motors have been installed – one for the work hydraulics and one for the drive system. The electric motor is operated by time-tested and proven lead acid batteries, which are used in the forklift industry, says Kramer. Importantly, the company says that, depending on the area of application, one battery charge will last up to five hours.
Economy and efficiency
Chinese manufacturer XCMG has launched its new V-Series wheeled loaders, which target customers from civil construction, as well as ports, mines and logistics. The company says the V-Series feature higher standards in fuel economy, efficiency and reliability, compared with its previous models.
Machines part of the V-Series include the ZL50GV, LW300FV, LW500FV, LW500KV, LW900KV and LW1200KV.
The company says its ZL50GV is an upgrade from its classic ZL50G. The model features new technologies such as variable power supply system, automatic power distribution, variable hydraulic pumps, as well as a spacious, sound-proof cab. The machine also boasts a dumping height of 3.7 m, and a loading capacity of up to 6.8 tonnes.
XCMG says the variable power supply system and the automatic power distribution (APD) system intelligently change the power output of the engine, according to different working conditions of the machine. It says that when the machine is in idle condition, the APD system reduces the engine power output, before increasing it when the machine is once again operated. The ADP system promises to reduce fuel consumption by up to 15%.
Finally, UK-based JCB said it has upgraded its mid-range wheeled loader range, introducing the proven DNA from its range-topping 457 wheeled loading shovel to the 427 and 437 models, along with the smaller 411 and 417 loaders.
Key features of the company’s new loaders include JCB’s CommandPlus Cab, which promises improved comfort and visibility, Innovative CommandPlus Control system, and a Tier 4 Final/Stage IV-compliant engines, with no costly DPF.
JCB’s CommandPlus Cab, which was first seen last year on its larger 457 machine, has B pillar’s that have been moved out to the same width as the rear of the cab, providing a larger interior with a panoramic front windscreen.