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Special Features Drive the Performance of Today’s Tough Loaders.

By Mark S. Kuhar

Walk into any quarry, and you can’t miss them. Loaders are the workhorses of the operation. Whether it is loading shotrock at the face, dumping into the primary, filling trucks at the stockpiles or even clearing debris in warm weather or snow in the winter, front-end loaders are indispensible to the success of a quarry operation.

Following is a selection of loaders, with an emphasis on the special features that make them unique.

Case Construction Equipment
Case Construction Equipment just introduced the new 621F wheel loader model at the World of Concrete 2012 show. The machine provides up to a 10-percent increase in fuel economy over the previous model, while delivering faster acceleration, quicker cycle times and higher travel speeds, the company said.

The new Case 621F wheel loader, like other models in the product line, evolved from the company’s E-Series machines. To meet Tier 4 Interim emissions standards, the Case F-Series wheel loaders use selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology, which results in lower temperatures in the exhaust system while optimizing combustion.

“Case wheel loaders already led the industry in fuel economy, but the addition of SCR technology in our Case F-Series wheel loaders expands that leadership position,” said Tim O’Brien, brand marketing manager, Case Construction Equipment. “At the same time, we’ve added more power and responsiveness to provide contractors with the combination of performance and economy they need to compete successfully.”

“The Case 621F wheel loader delivers the best fuel economy and performance in its class size,” O’Brien said. “Like other F-Series models, the 621F offers four programmable power modes to save fuel and increase available power. These easy-to-program power modes – Economy, Standard, Max and Auto – give operators flexibility in matching engine power to their jobs.”

A new dual-mode shutdown feature maximizes fuel economy and monitors vital engine components. Using the fuel-saver mode, the operator can limit the time the machine will idle. The desired shutdown time can be set in five-minute increments.

“The automatic engine shutdown feature can provide up to another 30 percent in fuel savings,” O’Brien said.

The new Case wheel loaders include standard limited-slip front and rear axles that provide outstanding traction in all conditions, especially in non-compacted surfaces, such as gravel. Optional heavy-duty axles with locking front and conventional rear differentials help reduce tire wear when working on hard surfaces. The standard four-speed transmission with manual kick-down capability provides maximum traction and increased bucket penetration.

“The Case 621F wheel loader can perform in a wide range of applications, from construction sites to aggregate operations,” O’Brien said. “We also offer a Commodity King option package that takes advantage of our unique mid-mounted cooling module.” The Commodity King package provides special cooling and air filtration components for working in cement plants, agriculture and other applications where the machine operates in extremely dusty or particulate-laden environments.
Case Construction Equipment,

The all-new Cat 980K wheel loader offers high productivity, reliable performance and excellent fuel efficiency and an engine certified to meet Tier 4 Interim and Stage IIIB emissions standards in North America and Europe, according to the company. Major improvements include a new cab, load-sensing hydraulics, a 25-percent increase in lift force and a 16-percent increase in tilt force over the 980H. The loader also features new electro-hydraulic steering with either joystick or steering wheel control, plus Performance Series Buckets and an optional lock-up torque converter.

The 980K is equipped with the new Cat C13 ACERT engine with peak net power of 369 hp (275 kW) at 1500 rpm. The loader accommodates buckets from 5.25 to 16.00 cu. yd. (4.00 to 12.20 cu. m) and is a productive and cost effective tool in quarry, aggregates, construction and other high-volume applications.

Operators will work comfortably and productively in the 980K. New steps that have a greater inclination angle than the H-Series provide easy access to the cab. The new design makes getting into the cab feel more like walking up a staircase than climbing a ladder. A wider door opening, well-placed grab bars and a new front-hinged door that can be opened and closed while seated allow for easy entry and exit. Left and right sliding windows can be opened and closed with one hand while seated, making it easier to communicate with people on the ground.

A streamlined four-post ROPS design and a new operator position that has been moved slightly forward enhance visibility to the front and sides, while a standard rear-view camera with large color monitor enhances visibility to the back of the machines.

The 980K comes standard with a new low-effort electro-hydraulic joystick steering system. Joystick steering permits operators to work in the most ergonomically neutral position with both arms resting comfortably on wide, well-padded, adjustable armrests. A high-backed seat with lumbar support further enhances ergonomics. The Cat joystick steering system has an exclusive force-feedback feature that automatically increases joystick effort as ground speed increases. This improves steering control and comfort, especially at higher speeds. The joystick moves side-to-side; its angle mirrors the machine’s articulation angle.

An optional electro-hydraulic steering wheel system will be available from the factory several months after the 980K goes into production. It too senses ground speed and automatically adjusts steering effort to improve controllability and comfort at higher speeds. Full machine articulation can be accomplished by rotating the whe­­­­el approximately 330 degrees. This compares to conventional steering wheels that can require two-and-one-half to five or more full turns to achieve full articulation. Retrofit kits will be available for the joystick and steering wheel systems, so dealers and equipment owners can change systems as required.

John Deere
Building on the strengths of the K-Series, John Deere introduced the 844K Series II Wheel Loader to meet the demands of today’s evolving jobsite. The seven-yard class loader affords operators higher productivity, increased uptime and lower daily operating costs for a more valuable wheel loader experience, according to the company. The improvements revolve around the new axles, improved stability and a six-percent boost to full-turn tip-load capacity, Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) certification, and low-profile tires.

“Our Customer Advisory Group (CAG) directly influenced the updates and modifications to the 844K Series II,” said John Chesterman, product marketing manager for wheel loaders, John Deere Construction & Forestry. “Customer feedback is paramount as we strive to better meet the needs and demands of owners and operators, and challenging jobsites. We’re confident the 844K Series II addresses the critical insight we received.”

The most significant customer-driven improvements are found in the 844K Series II axles. These new higher-capacity axles boast standard temperature monitoring and automatic cooling and filtration. In addition, the 844K II employs Hy-Gard oil that allows change intervals to extend to 2,000 hours.

Additionally, the 844K II comes with four traction-boosting axle-differential configurations, including two with on-the-fly differential lock engagement:

  • Front axle hydraulically actuated differential lock with on-the-fly engagement is ideal for pushing up piles.
  • Front and rear axle hydraulically actuated differential lock with on-the-fly engagement provides maximum traction control for tough conditions, such as working on virgin aggregate banks.
  • Auto differential lock that applies when the wheels spin and the operator doesn’t apply the differential lock themselves.
  • Conventional differential lock is a good match for standard load-out applications.

The new, optional low-profile tires are 4-in. (10.2-cm) wider, delivering increased traction and reduced ground pressure for added tire life. In addition, the low–profile tires increase stability and full-turn tip load. The 844K II is also equipped with new five-piece rims that provide maximum tire-to-rim contact to prevent bead slippage.

The 844K II is a Tier 3/Stage II emission-certified machine with a 13.5-liter, 380-hp John Deere PowerTech diesel engine. An Interim Tier 4/EU Stage IIIB engine will be available in May 2012.

Standard productivity-enhancing features include joystick steering with integral forward/neutral/reverse, advanced LCD color monitor, sealed-switch module, ride control, and hydraulic controls integrated into the deluxe heated seat. Productivity options also include the choice between five forward gears with a lockup converter and three reverse gears, or four speeds forward with a three-speed reverse. Other specification options include embedded and advanced payload weighing systems. In addition, the industry-exclusive radar object-detection is integrated into the optional rear-view camera.
John Deere Construction & Forestry,

The 335-hp Doosan DL500 wheel loader combines powerful performance with a quiet, comfortable cabin and easily accessible maintenance points. With available buckets ranging from 5.9 to 6.8 cu. yd., the DL500 is designed for larger material handling applications, such as quarries, mines, demolition and industrial operations.

A robust Z-bar lifting system provides a bucket breakout force of 61,373 lb. Depending upon the application, the operator can choose between two working modes (Standard or Economy) in order to maximize production or minimize fuel consumption. Standard limited slip differentials on both the front and rear axles allow the DL500 to tackle the toughest terrain, delivering powerful pushing force and providing superior penetration into the hardest materials, according to the company.

Like all Doosan wheel loaders, the DL500 features a full powershift transmission with Manual and Automatic modes for smooth, comfortable shifting and outstanding traction in every working condition. Four forward speed ranges provide maximum speeds of 3.9, 7.1, 11.2 and 21.7 mph; while three reverse speed ranges offer maximum speeds of 3.9, 7.1 and 15.2 mph.

The DL500 has a static tipping load of 50,387 lb. at maximum reach with a straight frame and 43,810 lb. at the maximum steering angle of 40 degrees. Dump height with the 6.8-cu.-yd. bucket is 10 ft., 9 in. and dump reach is 4 ft., 3 in. Height at the bucket pivot point is 15 ft., 1 in.

To reduce fuel consumption and lower noise levels, the DL500 features a hydraulically driven, variable speed-cooling fan with an electronic thermostat that constantly monitors engine coolant and transmission oil temperatures. The fan direction can be reversed from the operator's cabin to quickly clean out the radiator in dusty environments, and the fan itself swings out to easily clean the entire cooler group.

Hydraulically controlled, multi-plate wet disc brakes and dual brake circuits provide excellent braking power. The brake system is also self-adjusting for maximum life. A spring-applied/hydraulically released (SAHR) parking brake is mounted on the transmission shaft to prevent the loader from rolling after engine shutdown. An optional electric-powered emergency steering system backs up the hydraulic power steering system in case of a malfunction, and a starter interlock system prevents starting the engine when the transmission is not in neutral.

A quiet, spacious cabin with outstanding all-around visibility and a powerful heating and air conditioning system help improve operator productivity and lessen fatigue. Other amenities include a tilting and telescoping steering wheel, heated outside mirrors and an ergonomically designed central monitoring panel that allows the operator to see all status and warning lights at a single glance.

JCB just unveiled a new wheel loader equipped with a Tier 4 Interim compliant engine offering increased power and torque and reduced fuel consumption. Improved transmission options, upgraded axles and robust styling combine with a revised interior to provide a faster, more productive machine, according to the company.

The new model is the flagship of the range, the JCB 457 and the new machine features:

  • 16-percent increase in power and 18 percent more torque for the range-topping 457 model.
  • Intelligent Clutch Cut-Off allows maximum hydraulic power at low travel speeds.
  • Five-speed transmission option with lock-up facility for faster acceleration and improved ride and carry performance.
  • Automatic locking differentials for improved tractive effort.

The JCB 457 takes over at the top of the JCB wheeled loader line-up, replacing the 456. The machine is powered by an 8.9-liter engine delivering 250 hp (186 kW) of power, an increase of 16 percent from the previous model. With a variable geometry turbocharger, high-pressure common rail fuel injection and a diesel oxidation catalyst with diesel-particulate filter (DPF), this powerful engine also provides an 18-percent increase in torque, at 800 lb.-ft, yet meets the requirements of the EPA Tier 4 Interim emissions regulations. DPF service intervals are every 4,500 hours in North America.

Selectable by the operator, the machine is equipped with an ECO mode, which reduces engine output for lighter duties and results in fuel savings over the previous engine. The 457 does not require any form of additive to provide low emissions with high power outputs. The 457 is equipped as standard with a four-speed transmission, but can be supplied with an optional five-speed transmission, with a lock-up facility. The gearbox allows torque converter lock-up in gears 2-5, reducing losses from the transmission to increase fuel economy. The additional pulling power delivers faster acceleration and increased torque for hill climbing and high-speed load-and-carry operations.

In addition, the 457 is equipped with an Intelligent Clutch Cut-Off system between the engine and transmission. When the operator presses the brake pedal this allows the engine to provide maximum power to the hydraulics, ideal for truck loading duties, while reducing power to the driveline, giving greater control at lower travel speeds. This boosts productivity when digging and loading and reduces brake wear within the axles. Customers can also choose an open differential axle design with optional automatic differential locking. This system automatically locks the differential when required for maximum tractive effort, without any requirement for the operator to activate the system, cutting wheelspin, tire wear and fuel consumption, and boosting productivity.

Komatsu America
Komatsu America Corp. last year introduced the WA380-7 wheel loader. With a net horsepower of 191 hp (142 kW), the WA380-7 is powered by a Komatsu SAA6D107E-2 engine and is EPA Tier 4 Interim and EU Stage IIIB emission certified. Built upon a proven Tier 3 engine platform, Komatsu has leveraged its leadership in technology and innovation to design an environmentally friendly engine that increases power while decreasing fuel consumption by approximately 10 percent, compared to the WA380-6, the company said.

Weighing in at 39,900 lb. (18,100 kg), the WA380-7 features improved efficiency, lower fuel consumption, improved operator comfort, and enhanced serviceability to maximize productivity while lowering operating costs.

The WA380-7 is equipped with the latest KOMTRAX technology, which sends machine operating information to a secure website utilizing wireless technology. Data such as operating hours, fuel consumption, location, cautions and maintenance alerts are relayed to the web application for analysis. The KOMTRAX fleet monitoring system increases machine availability, reduces the risk of machine theft, allows for remote diagnosis by the distributor, and provides a wealth of other information to drive business efficiency and productivity.

New features of the WA380-7 include:

  • EPA Tier 4 Interim and EU Stage IIIB emission certified engine. Built upon proven Tier 3 technology, the SAA6D107-2 engine provides lower emissions while also lowering fuel consumption. The Komatsu Tier 4 Interim engine uses an advanced electronic control system to manage a-flow rate, fuel injection, combustion parameters and after treatment functions to optimize performance, reduce emissions, reduce fuel consumption and provide advanced diagnostic capability.
  • Large capacity torque converter with lock-up. The WA380-7 has a newly designed Komatsu Large Capacity Torque Converter with Lock-Up as a standard feature. This provides improved acceleration, improved hill climb ability, a higher top speed and lower fuel consumption. The Lock-Up function activates in 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears and gives the machine a maximum ground speed of 25 mph (40 kph).
  • Enhanced operator environment. The new cab provides a comfortable and quiet work environment so operators can maximize their productivity. The front glass has been lowered and the dashboard has been redesigned to improve visibility. Electronic Pilot Control (EPC) levers and an F-N-R switch are part of a redesigned seat-mounted right hand console. An auxiliary input has also been added to connect an MP3 player or other device along with two 12-volt ports that have been incorporated into the cab.
  • Convenient maintenance and serviceability. The WA380-7 provides easy service access in order to reduce costly downtime.

Komatsu America Corp.,

Liebherr offers the U.S. market a total of nine wheel loaders with tipping loads from 16,090 lb. to 45,040 lb. (7,300 kg to 20,430 kg). All of the machines feature economy of operation and environmental friendliness, according to the company. With Liebherr hydrostatic drive they achieve the same working performance of conventionally driven machines with up to 25 percent less fuel consumption, and correspondingly low pollution emission.

Other cost benefits of this drive concept are the virtually wear-free brakes, reduced tire wear and safe, convenient single joystick control. The hydrostatic transmission’s self-locking braking action not only has safety advantages but also guards against brake and axle overheating.

The mid-sized Liebherr wheel loaders, models L524 to L542, are offered either with Z-kinematics linkage for traditional earth-moving operations, or with P-kinematics for industrial operations utilizing forks.

A characteristic feature of Liebherr’s range of large wheel loaders, which includes the five models L550 to L586, is the optimized Liebherr driveline. This concept is based on two directly coupled hydraulic motors of different sizes, each of them with a separate clutch. Because at least one of the two motors is active when the wheel loader accelerates and decelerates, the loader can adjust to every working situation regardless of the travel speed required and without the need for the operator to shift gears.

The L542 features Z-kinematics and two different bucket design formats. The rehandling bucket with teeth is equipped with a quick coupling system and a bucket size of 3.1 yd.³ (2.4 m3). The heavy high-dump bucket with bolt-on cutting edge is also equipped with a quick coupling system, and provides 5.2 yd.³ (3.6 m3) of bucket capacity, making it ideally suited for heavy-duty operations such as bulk waste, scrap or paper.

With its new industrial lift arm for the L550 and L556 wheel-loader models, Liebherr has offers another innovation in material handling. The industrial lift arm’s kinematics are specifically designed for heavy equipment and applications such as log grapples, hydraulic forks and other industrial attachments; its geometry provides unusually high torque in the upper lift range. In addition to optimized weight distribution, the new lift arms provide exceptional visibility to the bucket/attachment.

The industrial lift arm’s kinematics also provide precise parallel movement over the entire lift range – without the operator having to make adjustments. Standard equipment on the industrial lift arm is a hydraulic quick-coupler, allowing a wide range of Liebherr equipment options to be attached and removed quickly and safely.

Perfectly matched to on-highway trucks, the L250G from Volvo Construction Equipment is its first wheel loader in the 39-ton weight class. The L250G is built to offer plenty of power and features larger bucket sizes, according to the company. In North America, when loading tri-axle on-highway trucks, a 9 cu. yd. rehandling bucket quickly fills the truck in only two passes. Add in strength and durability and the result is more loads in less time, meaning better onsite productivity.

Volvo’s latest addition to its large wheel loader range combines the optimal mix of lifting force and traction, resulting in high bucket penetration Part of the Red Dot design-winning G-Series, the L250G has a new engine and driveline system for improved productivity, lower emissions, greater smoothness, serviceability and operator comfort. The L250G also features a powerful Z-Bar loader linkage that allows for high breakout force for digging in hard materials. Its heavy-duty linkage, lift arms and cylinders also offer high lift capacity and rapid hydraulic reaction, resulting in faster work cycles.

Volvo Tier 4i technology found inside the L250G has been proven by Volvo Trucks, NA on-highway applications with one billion miles since 2007. Volvo Construction Equipment has adopted this same technology and has tuned the D13 specifically for off-highway applications.

The L250G is fitted with a fuel efficient Tier 4i/Stage IIIB certified engine that is married to drive train, hydraulics and lifting systems that are all designed and produced by Volvo to work in perfect, productive, fuel-efficient harmony. The Volvo 13-liter, six-cylinder turbocharged V-ACT (Volvo Advanced Combustion Technology) off-highway diesel engine features cooled exhaust gas recirculation and a particulate filter with active regeneration.

The active-type diesel particulate filter (DPF) temporarily holds the particulate matter and then incinerates it, further reducing emissions. There is no need to stop the machine in order to conduct the regeneration process; meaning no loss of performance or production.

Producing 389 hp (290 kW), this engine provides high torque at low engine speeds.

The production of torque and power at low engine speeds removes the need to overrun the engine, which in turn extends engine life as well as lowering fuel usage and dramatically reducing noise.

Intelligent load-sensing hydraulics deliver power to hydraulic functions only when needed, without unnecessary oil pumping which burns fuel unnecessarily. The hydraulic pump designs are coupled with the high torque, low rpm engine, and provide full flow at the engine’s optimal working range, eliminating the need to throttle to max rpm for higher flow, drastically saving fuel. Stronger lift and tilt functions are achieved thanks to Volvo variable-flow axial piston pumps, with higher capacities for accurate control of attachment and load.