Versatile and durable loading

A busy time recently for new quarrying-suited premium wheeled loaders and excavators. Guy Woodford focuses on a trio of standout models
Loading, Hauling & Excavation / September 19, 2022
The upgraded and versatile Volvo CE L350H wheeled loader is well suited to quarrying, mining and heavy-infrastructure-linked applications
The upgraded and versatile Volvo CE L350H wheeled loader is well suited to quarrying, mining and heavy-infrastructure-linked applications

Volvo Construction Equipment’s (Volvo CE) upgraded L350H wheeled loader builds on the Swedish off-highway machine manufacturer’s decades of innovation and is said to further enhance the profitability of customers’ operations.

Complete with a host of upgrades, the L350H is ideal for tackling a range of applications from mining and quarrying to heavy infrastructure – but now with claimed greater productivity and fuel efficiency, all with lower service costs.

The flagship of the Volvo wheeled loader range, the L350H comes prepared for heavy-duty applications as standard from the factory, thanks to the proven Z-bar lifting arm with double sealing on each of the pins, and strong frame structure, which is joined by a reinforced upper centre hinge and new Volvo axles. Whether it be log loading, rock loading, rehandling, block handling or slag handling, Volvo CE has the specialised package (of machine features, tyres, and attachments) needed to achieve maximum performance.

This heavy-duty upgrade is built on the success of its forerunners – a proud heritage dating back to the first L320 wheeled loader in 1985 – with a few notable improvements. A more responsive hydraulics system, featuring new lift and tilt cylinders, and an increased hydraulic working pressure allows for claimed 10% faster work cycles and higher productivity.

Meanwhile, the upgraded driveline features new Volvo axles and an all-new Volvo transmission which enables the third-generation OptiShift to be equipped as standard. Already found on Volvo L150H-L260H wheeled loaders, this proven technology integrates the reverse-by-braking function and the lock-up function in transmission to boost fuel efficiency by a claimed up to 15%. Efficiency is further enhanced by an optimised gear-shifting ratio and the new converter, which delivers higher outputs resulting in a claimed up to 22% more tractive force depending on selected gear and machine speed.

A Liebherr R 945 Generation 8 excavator at work on a Corsican customer’s quarry site
A Liebherr R 945 Generation 8 excavator at work on a Corsican customer’s quarry site

The machine also boasts an even tougher form thanks to a new, more robust upper centre hinge bearing and updated frames to accommodate the new axles and transmission.

Customers can keep working with the updated L350H for longer and reduce costs thanks to extended service intervals – doubled to 4,000 hours for an axle oil change, made possible by an axle oil cooler with filtration fitted as standard.

Operators can configure the machine according to the job with a choice of three hydraulic modes, customisable lock-up engagement and rimpull control, while the bucket-levelling function automatically returns the bucket to level, from both dump and curl positions, helping to reduce operator fatigue.

Whatever application they are in, the heavy-duty powerhouse is ready for action – delivering, says Volvo CE, a lower total cost of ownership for more profitable performance, as the most innovative and refined version of the L350 yet.

Any successful quarry operator will highlight the importance of loading machines offering versatility and long-term durability, and the new Cat 966 GC wheeled loader very much ticks both boxes.

Designed for reliable, high-performing and efficient operation, the Cat 966 GC’s Caterpillar-designed components, on-demand fan, load-sensing hydraulics and intuitive controls are said to keep the model’s fuel consumption and operating costs low, making it a versatile machine that also addresses the needs of rental and municipal markets.

The Cat 966 GC’s 239kW Cat C9.3B engine meets U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final, EU Stage V, Korea Tier 4 Final, China Nonroad Stage IV and Japan 2014 emission standards. The engine’s automatic Cat Clean Emissions Module (CEM), including SCR catalyst and diesel particulate filter (DPF) works in the background without impacting the production schedule. The Cat Engine Idle Management System (EIMS), Auto Engine Idle Shutdown (EIS), variable speed fan and load-sensing hydraulics help result in low fuel consumption and reduced sound levels on this machine. An optional automatic reversing fan assists in cleaning cooling cores to improve performance in high-debris environments.

The new Caterpillar loader features a four-speed forward/reverse electronically controlled, automatic planetary powershift transmission with shift protection and single-clutch gear shifting for efficiency, durability and smooth gear changes. Ensuring excellent material retention and increasing efficiency, the loader’s optional ride control is said to improve operating smoothness over rough terrain. Optional limited-slip differential axle configurations increase traction in poor underfoot conditions.

Field-proven, Caterpillar’s Z-bar loader linkage with cast crossmember and tilt-lever provides both strong digging capabilities and high breakout forces when the Cat 966 GC is equipped with Cat Performance Series buckets. The load-sensing implement hydraulic system continuously controls flow and pressure to precisely match requirements of the operating situation, reducing both the load on the pump and overall fuel burn.

Using a system-based approach to balance bucket shape with the machine’s lift and tilt capacity, weight, and linkage, the Performance Series Buckets are available for a range of applications including general purpose, flat floor, heavy-duty rock and light material. Design features enable operators of all experience levels to routinely attain 10% higher bucket-fill factors, compared with legacy designs, to improve production and reduce fuel consumption. The 966 GC can also be equipped with the Cat Fusion quick coupler and controls, and combined with optional third-function auxiliary hydraulics, the coupler allows use of a wide selection of Cat work tools.

An optional Cat Payload kit provides on-the-go weighing for precise load targets with proven accuracy, flexible and simple installation, and easy calibration. Bringing payload weighing to the cab, Cat Payload weighs the material while moving to the truck and lifting, so there are no interruptions in the load cycle. It allows the operator to load to exact specification and load more trucks and move more material faster.

Liebherr Generation 8 crawler excavators are successfully penetrating the French market. Corsica’s thriving market for crawler excavators and all other construction machinery is a particularly good sales area. The high versatility and performance as well as the comfort and design are said by Liebherr to be really impressing local customers.

The Cat 966 GC wheeled loader is said by the U.S. off-highway machine giant to be designed for reliable performance and efficient operation
The Cat 966 GC wheeled loader is said by the U.S. off-highway machine giant to be designed for reliable performance and efficient operation

The R 934 crawler excavator for Graziani TP was the first Liebherr Generation 8 excavator delivered to Corsica. Frederick Graziani, the company's managing director, is particularly satisfied with the stability during work and the performance combined with low fuel consumption of just 18 litres per hour (l/h).

In addition, he particularly appreciates the reliability and versatility of the excavator. This allows the company to take on larger jobs, such as demanding earthmoving work or large-scale rock crushing. This in turn enables solid growth for Graziani TP.

Decisive purchase criteria for Frederick Graziani were also the origin of the excavator, which is produced in Europe, and the good reputation of the Liebherr brand. According to the managing director, Liebherr represents a very good price-performance ratio and efficient customer service.

In Balagne, at the other end of the island, there is also a satisfied customer who specialises in quarrying rock. Valérie Mercuri, managing director of the company Sablière de Calenzana from the town of the same name, particularly appreciates the versatility of the R 945 crawler excavator. On the one hand, dump trucks can be loaded very quickly, and on the other hand, the flexible changeover from bucket to a hydraulic rock breaker also allows drilling work for easier placement of explosives.

The R 945 replaces an older Liebherr excavator at the customer's site that has already completed enough operating hours to be replaced. The new model is even more manoeuvrable, lighter than its predecessor and at the same time significantly more effective and efficient. Like all Generation 8 excavators, the R 945 is equipped with Liebherr's "Positive Control" hydraulic system, which forms the basis for smooth combined movements and an overall increase in performance.

Valérie Mercuri particularly appreciates these technological advancements, which enable fuel consumption to be reduced by around 20% to just 23 l/h, and this with even better performance data.

The high load-bearing capacity and digging force round off the excavator's performance spectrum. Also noteworthy is the optimal comfort for the operator thanks to the noise reduction in the operator's cab and more safety thanks to the LED lighting and full all-round visibility.

The operator has a spacious and comfortable workspace at their disposal in all working situations. The Generation 8 excavators offer a high level of operator comfort with reduced vibrations and a low noise level. To make daily work easier, the cab is equipped with an air-sprung seat with vertical and longitudinal shock absorption.

Liebherr customer service is also a big plus for all customers and operators. The Liebherr branch in Marseilles, located in the suburb of Rognac, addresses all customers' concerns and ensures a fast and tailored service.

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