Bursting with new products and exciting developments, the earthmoving equipment sector is giving buyers a vast selection to choose from when picking the next additions to their fleet. Used on projects all around the globe, these machines need to be as powerful and efficient as they are adaptable to the different challenges posed by different regions around the world.
Information supplied by Off-Highway Research reveals that the earthmoving equipment segment accounts for over 50% of the global construction industry in unit terms and almost 75% in value terms, highlighting the importance of this segment.
It is the job of the manufacturer to listen to the needs of the customer, and to create machinery that meets (and exceeds) those needs. This feature focusses specifically on excavators, wheeled loaders and dozers in the wide-reaching earthmoving sector.
New in earthmoving in 2019 for Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) is the upgraded ECR88D short swing radius excavator – available in Asia, Europe, and North America. A new engine shut-down mode can be set to trigger after a period of inactivity between two and 60 minutes, as well as a fuel saving ‘eco mode’ that optimises the needs of the hydraulic and engine systems, says the manufacturer.
With an operating weight of 8.6 to 9.5 tonnes, the ECR88D has a narrow body design and centrally positioned boom. It is available with a mono-boom or an optional two-piece boom, several arm configurations and blade. A wider dozer blade with a 600-millimetre (mm) steel shoe is also on offer.
Purpose-built for the medium-duty market, Volvo CE has released the 20-tonne EC200E crawler excavator. Its specifications are said by the manufacturer to position the model between its existing EC220E and EC180E units in the Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) region.
As well as a Stage V-certified D4 Volvo engine, the EC200E has a power boost function which is said to increase lifting and digging forces, resulting in faster cycle times and ‘optimum productivity’.
The range of attachments includes a Steelwrist tiltrotator, tilting buckets with 45 degree tilting on both sides, hydraulic breakers and quick couplers.
Breaking new ground
Construction giant Liebherr will be showcasing the prototype of the new A 913 compact litronic wheeled excavator at Bauma. It is said by the manufacturer to be an ‘all-rounder’ for classic earthmoving work on construction sites where space is tight.
With an operating weight of between 13.8 and 15.5 tonnes, the excavator complies with Stage V emission standards and has a flexible undercarriage with all-wheel steering and crab mode.
The A 913 has a 2.55m wide undercarriage with outriggers at the back and a dozer blade at the front. It has a 4.65m long adjustable boom and a 2.25m long dipper stick with Liebherr’s fully automated quick coupler system, Likufix.
In November 2018, Caterpillar introduced its ‘Next Generation’ 30-tonne excavators – the 330 and 330 GC. They are said to consume less fuel per unit of work than the models they are replacing.
In an interview with International Construction magazine which was published in January, Damien Giraud, vice president with responsibility for Caterpillar’s Global Construction & Infrastructure Division, highlighted the importance of customer feedback relating to the company’s new next generation excavators.
“It is all about understanding the customer needs, whether for mature or developing markets,” he commented. “We compiled hundreds of customer interviews and, at the same time, we looked at what new available technologies have developed for our industry, and for other industries such as automotive and trucking. You can see a convergence between the voice of the customer and the new technology which is available.”
At Bauma, Caterpillar will be introducing 20 new products to the market; one of which will be its D6 XE dozer. Touted as the world’s first high-drive electric drive dozer, the manufacturer says that this model offers 35% better fuel efficiency than its D6T predecessor. The D6 and D6 XE are available in North America and Europe, in a broad choice of configurations.
New for wheeled loaders in 2019 is the 10-tonne WL95 from Germany-based Wacker Neuson – the largest to date for the manufacturer. It comes with ecospeedPRO, an ‘infinitely variable’ hydrostatic high-speed transmission.
The addition of ecospeedPRO is said by Wacker Neuson to make it possible to drive through the entire speed range from 0 to 40 kilometres per hour (km/h) without shifting gears.
The WL95 comes with two engine versions: a Deutz 3.6 litre engine or with a 4.1 litre engine.
The load arm achieves a bucket pivot point of 3.8m and the wheeled loader offers a tipping load of over 5.7 tonnes. Despite the new size class, the manufacturer has focussed on compact dimensions – a total length of 6.5m, a width of 2.39m and a turning circle of only 4.9m with an inner radius of 2.45m.
Regarding product development, Wacker Neuson explains the importance, and influence, of customer feedback, named ‘voice of the customer’.
“Customers are invited to the R&D and production sites, where they have already taken a close look at products at an early stage of development and given their feedback. The company is in regular dialogue with users from the initial idea through to the marketability of a product,” said the company.
“In this way, customers’ knowledge and practical experience are incorporated into the development process. A current example is the dual view dumper, which celebrated its premiere at the end of 2018. With this machine, the user can always sit in the direction of travel thanks to the rotating control console, which makes his work much safer. It has been developed in numerous workshops with customers who have attached great importance to the safety aspect.”
Doosan Construction Equipment will be unveiling several new products to the market at Bauma. Among these will be the company’s new DL280-5, DL420CVT-5 and DL580-5 wheeled loaders, being shown for the first time.
The manufacturer will also be showing the new Stage V compliant DX300LC-7 30-tonne excavator. ‘Major enhancements’ are promised in operator comfort, machine controllability and productivity, with a strong focus on low fuel consumption and increased power, Doosan says.
The manufacturer says that the customer feedback it has received can be summarised into the following: “Doosan products are excellent in terms of performance and efficiency, but they could be improved with features that make them easier to use across a wide range of applications, and more comfortable to work in.”
Doosan says it has increased options, including attachments, as well as adding a range of new product features such as built-in 360 around view monitor (AVM) with ultrasonic sensors, Bluetooth streaming and keyless start.
Through six different intensive ‘voice of our customers (VOC)’ sessions, Doosan collected information from existing and prospective customers. The conclusion from these sessions was that there is no EU standard except engine emission regulations, showing that the manufacturer needs to look at each region’s requirements to make the product even more valuable to customers, Doosan says.
The importance of listening to customers is something which Glen Hampson, business development manager, construction division at Kubota UK, agress with. He commented, “Customer feedback is very important to us. We always listen to any points raised and take them on board when considering new product releases. We also review what our main competitors are offering to the market.
“Our main focus is, and will continue to be, getting the right balance between innovative new features and maintaining the reliability and performance levels that have enabled us to hold our position as a leading provider of construction equipment over the years.”
At Bauma 2019, Liebherr’s motto is ‘Together. Now and tomorrow.’ The meaning behind the theme is that the customer is at the centre of all innovations, the manufacturer explains.
“The feedback from customers and machine operators is vital for all research and development activities in Liebherr’s entire earthmoving division,” said Liebherr. “We observe that increasing safety for operator and machine, reducing total cost of ownership by raising productivity and an increased shortage of skilled workers are issues that bother many companies in the industry.”
Intelligent assistance systems for its XPower large wheeled loaders will be showcased at Bauma. With active rear person recognition plus a sensor-supported, integrated tyre pressure monitoring system, it is said by Liebherr to increase safety and comfort during wheeled loader operation.
In close cooperation with selected key customers, Liebherr has developed its new assistance systems. Their feedback has influenced the development process and the final assistance systems. “For the new generation of crawler excavators, the team of developers from Colmar, France, completely revised the basic concept to further increase comfort, safety and performance, and to achieve even better ergonomics in operation.”
A partnership between JCB and Topcon Positioning Group has produced a machine guidance system for the new X-Series excavator – Topcon X-53x 3D. The excavator manufacturer is the first to be compatible with the system, said to increase productivity by 30%.
JCB 220X operators can maximise output with precise positioning of the boom, stick and bucket with Topcon’s multi-constellation GR-i3 receivers.
The Topcon monitor displays multiple views of the machine, with the required finish grade dimensions transposed. Indicators display as the bucket reaches finished grade, reducing the risk of over digging and cutting the time taken to achieve the required design.iC