Emissions regulations driver for new/improved loading equipment
First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe & International
Caterpillar's first models in its M Series wheeled loader line-up include the 980M
There was no shortage of new and improved loading equipment at this year’s Conexpo-Con/Agg equipment show in Las Vegas.
As has so often been the Case over recent years, emissions regulation was the biggest driver of change, with Tier 4 engines making an appearance in many machines.
For most, this included a considerable amount of redesign work, to make room for larger cooling packs and exhaust systems, and to cope with additional fluid tanks and dosing equipment for exhaust fluids such as AdBlue. Manufacturers had therefore taken the opportunity to update cabs and to improve service access on most of the loaders and excavators on show.
Not surprisingly, given Conexpo’s location in the US, Caterpillar took the wraps off a host of new machines this year, including wheeled loaders and crawler excavators for the aggregates extraction business. The first models in its M Series wheeled loader line-up include the 980M and 982M, both of which are powered by Tier 4 Final engines.
The larger 982M boasts a C13 engine with 288kW of power. The machine has longer loader arms and larger lift cylinders than the 980M, making it suitable for loading a range of off-highway trucks.
The new engines, along with hydraulic and axle improvements, have led to claims of a 10% improvement in fuel consumption over previous 980K models. A revised colour screen in the cab provides increased machine control and can be used as a monitor for the rear-facing camera. It also incorporates Cat’s Production Measurement tool that can deliver a range of management information, including payloads, fuel consumption, idle times and operating hours.
The L250H wheeled loader from Volvo Construction Equipment
Further down the weight range the company also introduced the 966M and 972M loaders, both of which can now be ordered in XE specification with Cat’s hydro-mechanically variable transmission system. This combines the best aspects of a hydrostatic driveline with a conventional powershift transmission and is said to offer up to 25% fuel savings over a standard powershift model.
Volvo Construction Equipment took the wraps off a revised wheeled loader range, with the L250H the first H Series machine to be shown. Powered by a Tier 4 Final engine, the machine comes with Volvo’s Optishift transmission and braking technology that is said to deliver an 18% fuel consumption improvement by cutting driveline power losses.
The company’s Eco throttle pedal that applies a mechanical force against the operator’s foot to reduce excessive use of the engine, plus load sensing hydraulics, are said to further cut fuel use. LED entrance and working lights provide much improved illumination for winter and night-time working with the machines.
Among the latest additions to Komatsu’s loader line is the WA470-7, a 23.5tonne machine with a 203kW Tier 4 Interim motor. The machine has Komatsu’s Smart Loader Logic system, which is said to reduce fuel consumption by decreasing engine torque when the engine is not being used hard, for instance when the bucket is empty.
The WA470-7 has a large capacity torque converter with lock-up as standard, improving acceleration and hill climbing ability. Inside the cab a 7” monitor allows the operator to modify a range of machine settings, from auto-idle shutdown to the reversing fan control.
Lock-up torque converters can also be found in the latest K Series John Deere loaders, which now boast Tier 4 Final power and a five-speed transmission. Oddly though, John Deere’s hybrid 644K loader retains the Tier 4 Interim engine that was previously available, rather than making the move to Tier 4 Final.
LiuGong's CLG888III wheeled loader is its largest to date
One of the most striking loaders at the show was JCB’s heavily revised 457. With a completely new design, including a single-piece engine cover and a new cab, the loader is now powered by a larger MTU Tier 4 Final diesel engine, in place of the previous Cummins unit. With 193kW of power, up from 186kW on the older model, the 457 offers a claimed 16% fuel saving thanks to the more efficient engine and hydraulic system combination.
The 457 has a new JCB CommandPlus cab that offers improved visibility and increased comfort, thanks to new pedals, an adjustable steering column and seat-mounted hydraulic Controls.
Hyundai is aiming to increase its presence in the wheeled loader market too, with the launch of the HL740-9A. The 12.7tonne machine shares many features with other 9A loaders and is powered by a Cummins Tier 4 Interim engine. Three engine power modes are available to operators, who can also choose between four transmission shift modes, allowing them to tailor the machine’s output to the task and save fuel.
The larger Hyundai cab now comes with an LCD monitor that can be used for the rear-view camera. As with all 9A models, the HL740-9A comes with the firm’s HiMate Remote Management System, allowing dealers to remotely diagnose and monitor the machine’s performance.
Case's CX350D excavator will be available from early next year
Buyers looking for further choice among manufacturers can now try two loaders from LiuGong. The CLG842III and CLG888III loaders are said to offer the latest running gear for fuel efficient use. Its largest loader to date, the CLG888III tips the scales at 30tonnes and uses a 238kW engine, to create a breakout force of 260kN.
Of course it wasn’t just loading shovels that benefitted from updates this year. There were plenty of crawler excavators that had also seen major engine and drivetrain upgrades.
Again Caterpillar was at the forefront, with the introduction of the F Series line. Perhaps the most impressive model on display was the 92tonne 390F crawler machine. Powered by Cat’s C18 ACERT engine, the excavator is said to use 7% less fuel than the previous 390D.
All F Series machines come with Cat’s Adaptive Control System valve that electronically manages flow and pressures in response to joystick movement. The F Series models also benefit from improved serviceability, thanks to conveniently grouped service points and fluid drain taps.
The big new one on the Komatsu stand was the introduction of Dash-11 excavators, with the PC240LC-11 and the PC490LC-11 the first to make an appearance. Weighing in at around 50tonnes, the PC490LC-11 boasts a Tier 4 Final 268kW diesel engine but is said to be up to 7% more fuel efficient than the previous machine.
Liebherr extended its Generation 6 excavator line-up with the introduction of the R956. The 55tonne machine uses Liebherr’s own Tier 4 Interim engine and comes with a choice of build specifications. These include two heavy duty undercarriage options, HD and S-HD, for quarry applications.
JCB's heavily revised 457 wheeled loader has a completely new design
There were new excavators on the Case stand too, in the shape of a preview of the firm’s new D Series line. The CX350D will be available from early next year, weighing 37tonnes and boasting heavy-duty digging forces. The machine gets Tier 4 Final power with a combination of cooled exhaust gas recirculation, Selective catalytic reduction and a diesel oxidation catalyst to reduce emissions, while offering up to 10% more efficiency, and crucially, a claimed 8% improvement in cycle times.
Not to be outdone, Volvo took the wraps off its first E Series crawler models, with the EC380E taking centre stage. The 38tonne machine uses Volvo’s Tier 4 Final D13 engine and, in common with many competitors, Volvo is claiming both improved emissions and up to 9% less fuel consumption.
The excavator features an integrated work mode system that offers operators five working modes. The machine can also be set to automatically reduce speed or shut down after a set period of inactivity, further cutting fuel use.
With Kobelco no longer working in cooperation with New Holland, the company is keen to re-establish its own presence in the global excavator market. To that end Kobelco has launched the Dash-9 range of machines. Built at the company’s plant in Japan, the SK210LC-9 is powered by a Hino Tier 4 Interim engine. It comes with three operating modes and is said to offer smooth, progressive operation in a range of applications.
Whether you operate with wheeled loaders or crawler excavators, or a combination of the two, there is certainly plenty of new metal on offer from manufacturers to attract your attention. In almost every Case those manufacturers are claiming improved productivity, reduced fuel use and lower operating costs.
There is a price to pay for the latest technology though and customers looking at Tier 4 machines may be surprised to find just how high the new technology has pushed initial purchase prices. Hopefully, whole life costs and the increased production will justify the investment..