Small is beautiful

By Steve Ducker21 December 2015

The Volvo L28F compact wheel loader.

The Volvo L28F compact wheel loader.

Small but perfectly formed, compact equipment performs a variety of roles on most demolition sites.

Despite their dimensions, today’s machines are becoming increasingly sophisticated as they meet the environmental and productivity requirements of their larger counterparts.

The L28F compact wheel loader from Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) is built to deliver an ideal payload capacity, excellent manoeuvrability and versatility. With a bucket capacity of 1 m3 (35 ft3), this model fills a gap in the Volvo CE compact wheel loader range.

The L28F can carry a fork payload of up to 2,200 kg (4,850 lb), providing a loader configuration for a range of applications. All components have been selected to work in harmony, and the heavy-duty powertrain, Z-bar linkage and robust hydraulics enable the use of a variety of attachments, from forks and buckets to material handling arms.

With a maximum height of 2.5 m (8.2 ft) - with standard tyres - the machine is suited to confined working spaces, and the compact design and short turning radius allow for excellent manoeuvrability.

Volvo has also added D-Series compact excavators weighing from 1.5 to 2 tonnes. These are the EC15D, EC18D and EC20D and Volvo described them as powerful machines that are easy to operate.

They feature a D0.9A Volvo diesel engine that meets the latest US Environmental Protection Agency Tier 4 emission regulations. Emissions are further reduced thanks to the optional automatic idling system, which operates if the controls are inactive for more than five seconds.

If the machine is left idling for longer, the engine can be automatically shut down. This then stops the hour meter, leading to longer service intervals, lower operating costs and a better resale value for the machine.

The EC15D and EC18D also have 12% more lifting capacity compared to previous models, and can now be equipped with an additional rear counterweight for even greater stability.

Kubota’s new RT and RO Series compact wheeled loaders, launched in June, are said to be specially designed to suit a variety of construction applications and public works. The company said the machines had been developed to ensure maximum efficiency, safety and flexibility for users.

The latest models in the RT series have a 45° articulation-oscillating angle, which according to the company makes 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.

Heavy-duty axles with a maximum capacity of 12 tonnes allow for a travelling speed of up to 25 km/h (15 mph) on the RT270 and a tipping load of 2,600 kg (5,730 lb). The entire range is said to provide all round visibility and extra strong pivoting articulation.

The company’s RO65 and RO85 compact wheeled loaders have undergone significant developments to offer a long dumping reach and high dumping clearance, for ease of use and end-user functionality.

The company also said that “superior breakout force, high levels of manoeuvrability and excellent stability” made the RO wheeled loaders a good choice for use in all working conditions.

According to Kubota, a major benefit of the two models is that they can be moved between job sites securely thanks to an overall height below 2.5 m (8.2 ft). This allows them to pass easily under road bridges on a trailer.

Particular areas where skid steer and compact tracked loaders lend themselves include heavy duty construction applications, high horsepower and hydraulic applications including road (planing) and forestry maintenance, and snow removal.

Bobcat has expanded its range of compact tracked loaders with the launch of the T450 model.

Filling the gap between the T110 and T590 models once occupied by the T140, the company said the T450 offers a “massive increase in power combined with hydraulic and hydrostatic efficiency improvements that translate into significantly increased productivity”.

Manufactured at Dobřiš in the Czech Republic, the T450 has a Bobcat D24 45.5 kW (61 hp) turbocharged diesel engine, and provides 25% more power than the T140.

The D24 engine in the T450 meets the current Stage IIIB emission requirements through the use of cooled exhaust gas recirculation and diesel oxidation catalyst aftertreatment technologies, with no diesel particulate filter (DPF).

Bobcat said the unit has all the advantages of larger compact loaders in a trailer capable weight and the best power-to-weight ratio of any of the company’s compact tracked loaders. Since May of this year, its cushion lift cylinder has been made a standard configuration on the skid steer models from the S510 up to S850, and compact tracked loaders from T590 to T870.

When lowering lift arms, it cushions the stop. This eliminates noise, a feature that the operator would notice, especially in loading applications where the lift arm is cycling from high to low quickly. It reduces the sudden stop at the bottom of the cycle and made the machine more comfortable to operate.

Caterpillar’s latest compact wheeled loaders from feature optimised Z-bar loader linkage, which combines aggressive loading power with parallel lift.

The new CatM series of compact wheeled loaders features the 906M, 907M and 908M. These models use an electronically-controlled hydrostatic drive system that meets Stage IIIB emission standards, and a range of work tools and couplers are available.

Options including a high-speed configuration, ride control system and high-flow hydraulics made the M series even more productive in landscaping, agricultural, industrial, snow removal and general construction applications.

The M Series features the Cat C3.3B engine, which is mounted crosswise with what the company described as excellent service access for routine maintenance items. An Eco mode regulates the engine’s high idle while maintaining full rimpull – the friction exerted by tyres and wheels on the contact surface - and breakout force capability.

Cat said this saves fuel and lowers sound levels for the most common tasks where maximum productivity is not required. Exhaust aftertreatment uses a DPF to meet emissions standards.

There are two new options – the road feature and load feature packages – which include a new electronic, soft-touch keypad for convenient control of most functions. The road feature package includes a ride-control system that cushions boom cylinders when the machine is travelling with a load in rough terrain, smoothing the ride and retaining material.

Liebherr’s compact loaders have been available as European Union Stage IIIB compliant for a year, with the wheeled loader’s compact construction and modern cab increasing its safety. Liebherr said its L 506 offers the driver good all-round view on site. Driven by a 46 kW (61.7 hp) diesel engine, it has an operating weight of 5,180 kg (11,420 lb) and achieves a tipping load of 3,450 kg (7,605 lb).

Liebherr added that the design makes the loader more stable and secure against tipping, with the vehicle’s size giving it a lower centre of gravity. This means larger buckets can be used, increasing the efficiency and productivity of the machine.

The L 506 is 2.5 m (8.2 ft) high and its low weight means it to be moved quickly and easily between jobs. When transporting the wheeled loader, for example with the aid of a trailer, the total height is usually less than 4 m (13.1 ft).

In all, Liebherr offers five wheeled loaders in the compact segment. A characteristic of the L 507, L 509 and L 514 – with bucket sizes between 0.9 and 1.5 m3 – is their stereo steering system, which combines a centre pivot with a steered rear axle for a smaller turning circle.

Mecalac‘s new AX series is “technically revised and with a modern design”, with an increased focus on functionality, customer benefit and low emissions for the three compact wheeled loaders featuring bucket volumes of 0.7 to 1.6 m³.

There is an intelligent engine and traction drive concept, a central multifunction display, the Mecalac MDrive function and the evaluation of machine data via the Mecadiag diagnostic system. At under than 2.5 m (8.2 ft) high, the AX wheeled loaders are suited to low passage heights.

Mecalac said the distinguishing characteristic of the AX series was the Monoboom (Mecalac Single Arm Power). This ensures an optimum view on the attachments and protects the concealed hydraulic components against stone strike or atmospheric conditions.

The Z kinematics with two lifting cylinders help to provide high break-out forces, fast work cycles and exact parallel guidance of attachments, claims the company. A brand-compatible quick-coupler with a standard electrohydraulic lock provides a high safety standard.

AX wheeled loaders are available with different bucket arm variants for the standard or high lift option. The maximum dumping height of the standard bucket arm is 2.5 m while the high lift variant can reach up to 2.8 m (9.2 ft), enough to load three- or four-axle high-sided lorries.

Avant Tecno launched its 760i last year, with the company claiming it is the biggest, fastest and most powerful loader in its range. It said the 760i’s modern engine technology provides more torque and enhanced performance, at the same time as lower fuel consumption, exhaust emissions and noise.

Jani Käkelä, vice president of sales and marketing, said: “The environmental friendliness of this loader is not limited to its consumption. We have also paid attention to the noise of the loader. The modern engine of the Avant 760i is inherently much quieter.”

This article is adapted from the November-December 2015 issue of Demolition & Recycling International. To see the full article with additional project information and photos, or to register to receive regular issues of the magazine, please visit

Latest News
Milan Cathedral receives Palazzani update
Pallazzani delivers a 52m Ragno XTJ 52+ spider lift to the structure for permanent maintenance 
How telematics is changing equipment rental
Lucy Barnard reveals how rental firms are using telematic for their fleets
Double celebration for Kiesel
German equipment pioneer enjoys memorable end to 2022