Versatile workhorse

24 April 2008

Hyundai's new top-of-the-range 30 tonne, 259 kW HL780-7A replaces its HL780-3A and will be shown for

Hyundai's new top-of-the-range 30 tonne, 259 kW HL780-7A replaces its HL780-3A and will be shown for the first time in iron at Intermat in Paris in April.

The Latest Figures Available From construction equipment market research specialist Off-Highway Research show that sales of wheeled loaders in Western Europe for 2004 reached 17879, a rise of +7,2% on 2003's figure of 16675. This represents an 11% share of the global wheeled loader market – in 2004, China accounted for 103400 machines, North America 19000 and Japan 9500.

Off-Highway Research has broken the figures down to machines below 80 hp/60 kW and machines above 60 kW. According to the company, wheeled loaders below 60 kW saw sales rise +13% from 6361 in 2003 to 7180 in 2004.

David Philips, managing director of Off-highway Research, told CE, that wheeled loaders below 60 kW, “live from two user groups, small German building contractors and French urban rental houses.”

According to Mr Philips, “Wheeled loaders did well from both groups in 2000-2001 and not so well in 2002 or 2003. To the delight of those who like to see an economic cycle at work, both markets came back in 2004. A +10% rise in Germany may not seem to compare with the +53% that happened in France but both bought roughly the same amount of extra machines down the assembly lines.”

In Germany 4530 machines were sold in 2004, up +10% from 4106 in 2003. In France sales rose a staggering +67% from 660 in 2003 to 1104 in 2004. However, with Off-Highway Research predicting a region-wide dip of -2,5% in 2005 Mr Philips sounds a note of caution for the future.

“The questions arise of whether the French buyers went too far in 2004 and whether the general gloom will lift in Germany in 2005. Answers are hard to give, but the virtues of this useful little handling tool will not go away and the market should return in the medium term to around 7000 units per year.”

Larger Machines

For machines above 60 kW, sales rose +3,7% from 10314 in 2003 to 10699 in 2004. Germany, Italy and France were again the biggest markets.

In 2004 Germany bought 2385 machines, down -3,5% from 2470 units in 2003. France bought 1184 machines, up +16,5% from 1016 in 2003. Italian contractors and rental houses bought 1710 machines in 2004, up +6,8% from 1601 machines in 2003.

According to Mr Philips, “Larger machines go to production processes and are subject more to the cycle that affects all investment goods needing regular replacement. Demand is evenly spread out across Europe. Sales in the region fell by -2% in 2003 and rose by +4% in 2004. In other words, the yearly changes are hardly significant at all.”

Off-Highway Research predicts that sales in Germany will continue to rise in 2005 to 2500 machines, while the French and Italian markets will fall to 1000 and 1600 machines respectively.

“Further small cyclical declines and rises can be expected in coming years. As units become bigger the demand will probably tend towards a balance of around 10000 units per year,” added Mr Philips.

New Machines

The introduction of Stage IIIA engine emission laws for engines in the 130 to 560 kW power band on 1 January this year means there should be plenty of new, large machines to see at Intermat (Paris – April 24 to 29). However, there have been some interesting launches recently in this power band from Hyundai, Liebherr (see CE November 2005), Caterpillar and JCB (see box story), and Intermat will be the first chance for many to see the machines in the iron.

The largest and most powerful of the new machines is Hyundai's 30 tonne HL780-7A model. It replaces the HL780-3A and completes the 'Dash-7' update of its 6-model HL wheeled loader range. The new machine is powered by an 11 litre, 6-cylinder (turbo-charged) Cummins QSM11-C engine, rated at 259 kW, which meets the latest Stage IIIA/Tier 3 emissions and noise level standards.

According to a Hyundai spokesman, “Particular attention has been paid to the insulation to achieve extremely low noise levels. And together with a lower engine speed, 2000 rpm, it also provides even lower, improved fuel consumption.”

Among the many new features are some operator-friendly options such as joystick steering, ride-control and a dual brake-pedal arrangement. The HL780-7A also has an all-wheel wet-brake system.

Operator comfort and machine serviceability have also been given special attention. Wide-opening access panels give easy access to all major components and there is provision for plug-in laptop PC diagnosis of all the hydraulic and operating functions, in addition to the in-cab diagnostic display for the operator. There is also the option of a reversible fan to ease maintenance of the radiator and coolers.

“With a range of heavy-duty buckets up to 5,1 m capacity, this new machine is seen very much as a high-output, front-line production unit for the mining, quarrying and construction industries. And with a load-over height of 3,4 m, it is well matched for loading large dump trucks up to 80 tonnes capacity, and for direct loading of high-sided crushers,” said the company spokesman.

The HL780-7A extends Hyundai's range of wheel loaders to six basic models, from the 10 tonne HL730-7 up to the new 30 tonne the HL780-7A, with a number of special application models as well, such as the 'TM' (Tool Master) parallel-lift materials handlers, and 'XTD' machines with extended lift-arms.

Four Pack

Moving slightly lower down the power band and Caterpillar's recently launched 950H (18 tonnes), 962H (19 tonnes), 966H (24 tonnes), and 972H (25 tonnes) wheeled loaders replace their equivalent G Series models and share several new features, including Cat Stage IIIA/Tier 3 compliant ACERT technology engines.

Cat's 12,5 litre, 214 kW C13 (972H), 11,1 litre, 195kW C11 (966H) and the 7,2 litre C7 (156 kW for the 962H and 145 kW for the 950H) are all inline 6-cylinder engines with mechanically actuated electronic fuel injection (MEUI) systems. This is comprised of four major components: injectors, a low-pressure fuel transfer pump, sensors to monitor speed, temperature and pressure, and an ADEM A4:E4V2 controller.

“The ADEM A4 controller is the “brains” behind engine responsiveness, self-diagnosis, emissions control and fuel economy. The system provides constant net power through the operating range, which maintains a constant level of productivity regardless of parasitic loads, such as air conditioning,” said a Cat spokesman.

Another new feature is Cat's new, proprietary Load Sensing Hydraulic Implement System. The closed loop system automatically adjusts to operating conditions to provide only the hydraulic flow required by the implement.

According to Cat's spokesman, “The H-Series electro-hydraulic implement controls, coupled with the new load sensing system, mean operators can simultaneously lift and tilt the bucket. The result is better bucket control and less spillage.”

Also common to all four machines is an electronically controlled, hydraulically driven fan, which “automatically changes speed to meet the cooling requirements of the machine, saving fuel and reducing noise”.

For service and maintenance requirements a new swing out rear grill reduces the entry of debris into the cooling cores and provides easy access to the hydraulic oil cooler and air conditioner condenser. Grease fittings have been grouped on the right side of the machine in two convenient locations.

An access panel below the right side service platform covers all the remote pressure ports for the steering, hydraulic system and brakes. A new hydraulic service center is located in a swing out door just below the right side access platform.

It allows easy access to transmission oil and hydraulic filters. The hydraulic filter has a 500-hour service interval and the transmission filter has a 1000-hour interval for reduced maintenance costs. The H-Series also provides ground level sight gauges for the transmission oil, hydraulic oil and radiator coolant.

In the same weight class, plus 20 tonnes, as Cat's 966H and 972H are Liebherr's new L 566 2plus2, L 576 2plus2 and L 580 2plus2.

All feature new engines designed by Liebherr's own factory in Switzerland. The 23 tonne L 566 is has a 190 kW engine, while the 23,7 tonne L 576 and 24,5 tonne L580 are powered by 200 kW units. (For a full report on these machines see CE November 2005.)

Medium Sized Machines

Just below the 130 to 560 kW power band and Terex has launched the SKL160 (9,2 tonnes) and SKL260 (14,4 tonnes). The machines are designed to fill the gap between its largest compact wheeled loader, the 6,8 tonne SKL854, and its smallest heavy wheeled loader, the 8,6 tonne TXL160.

A Terex spokesman told CE, “The 74,5 kW SKL160 and 129 kW SKL260 are for materials handling where customers need a “sturdy workhorse”, be it a concrete plant, waste recycling, composting or builders merchant, and these new models will complete the job reliably, even in a multi shift operation.”

Besides a quick hitch system for attachments, the heart of the new loaders is the unique SP (Schaeff-Parallel) front loader arm geometry, which combines the benefits of parallel design with those of Z type design, so full breakout and tearing forces are maintained throughout the lift range.

Operator comfort has also been attended to. “The new two door cab is spacious and creates a relaxed working atmosphere with ergonomics and comfort standards similar to a passenger car that make the operator feel at home,” said the spokesman.

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