Part of the family

25 April 2008

Pat Olney, president and CEO Volvo motor graders, is clearly a man who loves giving his customers what they want. Speaking to CE at the G900 Series launch in Sintra, Portugal in November an enthusiastic Mr Olney said, “Our new range of graders is truly an operator's machine. We spent four years designing the machine from scratch and paramount to that design process was the input from our customers around the world.”

“Over the four year design period we organised four customer clinics, the first of which gave us over 100 ideas of how the machine should perform, what it should look like and the level of comfort and safety our customers were looking for in a grader.

“By the time we unveiled the new range to those customers who had taken part in the clinics I'm proud to say we had 100% approval of what we had come up with,” added Mr Olney.

Those ideas are apparent from the moment you step into the G900 Series' ROPS/FOPS certified cab. Larger glass areas and thinner pillars have been teamed with six interior and exterior mirrors to give “the best all-round view”.

Opening the door illuminates the steps and handholds for safer entry and exit into the low noise, low vibration pressurised cab. Two large capacity filters maintain a constant flow of clean air. All essential operator controls are mounted on a slide and tilt adjustable centre pedestal. Low effort pedals and short throw levers help reduce operator fatigue.

Power & drive

While comfort is desirable Mr Olney acknowledged that grading “is about being able to put your power to the floor”. To that end the G930, G940, G946, G960 (15.6 tonnes/145 kW to 16.7 tonnes/235 kW) are fitted with Volvo's 7.2 litre D7 engine, while the larger G970, G976 and G990 (17.7 tonnes/250 kW to 21 tonnes/265 kW) are fitted with the 9.4 litre D9. Both engines are Stage IIIA compliant and use Volvo's Advanced Combustion Technology (V-ACT).

At the business end of the machine, wide stance blade lift cylinders coupled with a low angle side shift cylinder provide “the most stable grading platform in the industry”, according to Mr Olney. While the Proportional Demand Flow (PDF)intelligent load sensing hydraulics and a twin-gear, direct drive turning system give operators “a precise, responsive earthmoving tool”.

The G900 range uses Volvo's HTE840 transmission, with selectable Manual, (optional)Autoshift and Travel modes. With Autoshift the operator selects the target gear and the transmission shifts automatically through turns and grades as needed. Shuttle Shift allows shuttling between selected forward and reverse gears in a single motion, without clutching or pausing.

With 11 forward and six reverse speeds, the optional HTE1160 allows more control at low speeds, more efficient travel at high speeds, and more precision in normal working speeds. “This pays dividends with fuel economy because the engine is operating at its most economical rpm,” said Mr Olney.

The two All Wheel Drive models in the range - G946, G976 - offer three distinct features in their drive systems. The powerful six-wheel drive combines with an efficient four-wheel tandem drive and a “front-wheels-only” Creep Mode, which is ideal for precise fine grade applications. The operator has 16 selectable levels of aggression to match AWD performance to the task at hand for ultimate control.

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