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First publishedin World Highways
April2018
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Komatsu is widening its range of hybrid excavators
The excavator and wheeled loader segments represent massive sales volumes for manufacturers, so new model development is prioritised - Mike Woof writes


The crawler excavator segment accounts for a substantial portion of total sales of construction machines. With this in mind, it is no surprise that this is a market segment for which manufacturers prioritise a significant proportion of their research and development budgets. Wheeled loaders, while not selling in quite such large numbers as crawler excavators, are also important machines for manufacturers.

Tougher legislation in Europe and the US has resulted in manufacturers utilising more sophisticated diesel engines in recent years, reducing exhaust emissions as well as noise. Environmental awareness has proliferated worldwide, while concerns over fuel costs have also had an effect on construction equipment manufacturers and the direction they are choosing in their machine designs.

While diesel engine firms have delivered new units that meet the latest emissions requirements as well as offering lower fuel consumption, the benefits of these new generation power units have been further boosted by new generation, electronically-controlled hydraulics.

Some firms have opted to further lower fuel costs for customers. And one of the fruits of this exercise has been the introduction of the hybrid excavator. While several firms developed hybrid excavator prototypes, Komatsu was the first firm to mass produce a machine for this segment. Its offering has been improved and customers also now have a choice of larger machines using the same proven technology.

Other firms have been keen to offer their own hybrid alternatives, with Kobelco now introducing a sophisticated machine for this segment. According to Kobelco Construction Machinery Europe (KCME), its SK210HLC-10 is a revolutionary hybrid excavator.

The firm claims to have been at the forefront of hybrid technology since 1999 when work on hybid excavators began, and says that the machine benefits from two power systems. It has an efficient Stage 4 (Tier IV) Hino Motors turbocharged diesel engine producing 117kW (2000rpm), coupled to which is a new and larger Kobelco generator-motor. A key feature is the use of a large-capacity lithium-ion battery, providing an effective power-assist during operation, via the new generator-motor.

This system can deliver up to 25kW of power-assist, which reduces engine load at peak operation, while also improving fuel efficiency. The new lithium-ion battery can also store more electrical power than competing systems according to Kobelco. This feature in turn ensures that the all-electric swing motor delivers a higher performance. This new swing motor helps to lower engine load as it is not directly linked to the hydraulic system. In addition, the new swing motor has an effective regenerative function, providing recharging to the lithium-ion battery during the swing deceleration process.

The machine’s improved fuel efficiency is said to deliver a greater working efficiency, while also reducing its carbon footprint. However, the firm claims that the SK210HLC-10 also delivers high productivity for its size class. For example, the model’s work in H-mode with an increased torque setting is said to deliver around 7% greater digging volume over a conventionally-powered equivalent (SK210LC-9).

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Kobelco's new hybrid excavator offers low fuel consumption
Meanwhile other modern features that help lower emissions include its use of the latest selective catalyst reduction (SCR) and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF)/AdBlue technologies.


Komatsu is not complacent about the strong position it holds in the market with its hybrid excavators and is now offering additional models. The latest is a narrow configuration version of the HB365LC/NLC-3, its 36tonne hydraulic hybrid excavator. The firm says that this has been designed to offer high lift capacity and great stability, with fast swing performance.

The machine features an EU Stage IV engine and ultra-low noise levels. It is equipped with the same proven SAA6D114E‐6 engine 202kW as the PC360LC‐11, with up to 53kW of electric power supplied by the innovative Komatsu Hybrid system.

The system works by converting kinetic energy generated during the swing-braking phase to electricity. This is sent through an inverter and stored in the Komatsu Ultra Capacitor. It is then discharged to power upper structure swing, when accelerating under workload conditions, as well as assisting the engine as commanded by the hybrid controller. The reserve power stored by the hybrid system helps the machine at peak times during the operating cycle, maximising machine performance.

Other benefits of the HB365LC/NLC-3 include a low noise, high comfort cab with good all-round visibility. Machine working noise is further reduced due to optimised engine control and fan‐clutch systems.

Other manufacturers are sharpening up their excavator offerings also, although with more conventional models. Doosan Construction Equipment for one says that its novel innovative D-ECOPOWER package is available with its 50tonne DX490LC-5 and 52tonne DX530LC-5 crawler excavators. This package was previously only available on the DX380LC-5 model and is said to provide increased productivity and fuel efficiency, as well as smoother controls.

The Doosan D-ECOPOWER system combines new engine technology with advanced features and is said to increase performance and lower the total cost of ownership for customers. In all of the latest generation excavators from Doosan, the combination of high pressure common rail fuel injection engines with the company’s Electronic Control Unit has served to optimise performance and achieve maximum fuel efficiency.

The D-ECOPOWER technology utilises an electronic pressure-controlled pump within a closed centre hydraulic system to accomplish increases of up to 26% in productivity and up to 12% in fuel consumption improvements, depending on the mode selected. A closed centred main control valve minimises pressure loss, while the electric pressure-controlled pump manages and optimises engine power. The system uses nine sensors to detect the amount of hydraulic oil for a specific task and meter the quantity of fluid required, improving efficiency. Software electronically reproduces the full benefits of an open centre hydraulic system with little energy loss. The hydraulic system and engine are optimised and synchronised, further reducing losses within the system. The system is said to offer more feedback and improved machine control and less operator fatigue.

The DX490LC-5 and DX530LC-5 are both powered by the Scania DC13 diesel engine, providing 283kW at 1800rpm. The engine meets Stage IV emissions regulations without the need of a diesel particulate filter (DPF), through the use of cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and selective catalyst reduction (SCR) aftertreatment technologies.

The DX490LC-5 and DX530LC-5 excavators are said to suit heavy-duty work such as large-scale earthmoving, moving rock, demolition, secondary breaking, and loading haulers for quarrying, highway, aggregate, demolition and general construction projects.

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Hyundai's new short tail machine is designed to meet growing demand for this class
The DX490LC-5 and DX530LC-5 are factory-installed with the DoosanConnect wireless fleet and asset management system. This is fitted as standard on all new generation excavators (from 14tonnes up), wheeled loaders and ADTs.  

The service allows owners and dealers to remotely monitor and communicate with Doosan machines via the DoosanConnect telematics website. The DoosanConnect system provides comprehensive information about machine performance through either satellite or mobile networks.

Hidromek is extending its excavator range with the addition of the CR midi crawler excavator and HMK 145 LC SR crawler excavator. The cabs have been redesigned to increase all-round visibility for the operators as well as to increase comfort and improve ergonomics. The machines feature Hidromek’s Opera (Operator Interface) system, ensuring all functions are at the operator’s fingertips, including a TFT information screen. Joystick control and console ergonomics for the CR midi model are at the same level as for the firm’s heavier excavators. The HMK 60 CR is also said to be easy to service due to the quick access to hydraulic equipment through its tilting cabin.

Similarly, the HMK 145 LC SR crawler excavator also has the Opera Control System and a tilting cabin for easy and fast servicing access to hydraulic components. Both machines are said to offer high performance and low fuel consumption for their respective weight classes.

Hyundai is widening its range of HX crawler excavators with the addition of the HX130 LCR, the third compact-radius excavator model in the HX series product line. The new Hyundai HX130 LCR meets growing demand for a compact-swing machine in this weight class.

The 13tonne machine is also available in a second standard configuration, the HX130 LCRD, which includes a dozer blade. The HX130 LCR excavator is powered by a 55kW Perkins Tier 4 Final/Stage IIIB-compliant diesel, with a DPF system.

The LCR model has a standard operating weight of 12.9tonnes, while the LCRD model’s standard operating weight is 13.56tonnes. It achieves a maximum dig depth of 5.57m and maximum digging reach of 8.2m, and is equipped with a standard 0.59m³ capacity, by a 1.03m-wide bucket.

Komatsu is introducing its PC228USLC-11 short tail excavator. It is said to enable an improved lifting capacity of 21% and a reduction in fuel consumption of 6%. It is also intended to provide improved operator comfort, increased safety features and low in-cab noise levels. The PC228USLC-11 has operating weights from 23-24tonnes depending on specification, with power from a Stage IV engine that is said to optimise performance, reduce emissions and provide advanced diagnostic capability. In addition, a Selective Catalytic Reduction system has been integrated to further reduce NOx emissions using the AdBlue additive.

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Versatility is a key feature of the new VF Venieri wheeled loaders
Other features include the KomVision system, which displays a real-time overhead eye view of the excavator and its immediate surroundings to boost safety. Additionally, the new viscous fan-clutch system aims to reduce both power loss and engine load when maximum cooling is not required. It is also said to lower fuel consumption and contribute to low in-cab noise, 71db(A).


Meanwhile for the wheeled loader segment, Doosan’s new DL280-5 wheeled loader is the latest unit in the high-performance 12-model wheeled loader range of operating weights from 12-35 tonnes. The front lift arm of the DL280-5 is powered by a closed centre hydraulic system with a 210litre/min axial piston pump for maximum hydraulic performance. This saves fuel and extends the lifetime and reliability of vital components, says the company.

The DL280-5 features Z-bar kinematics with a simple lifting piston system designed for heavy-duty applications. The breakout force of 145kN is combined with a constant bucket angle that is maintained throughout the range of movement. Bucket angles are also optimised in the travelling position and at ground level. The lift arm benefits from an automatic load isolation system (LIS), which reduces material spillage at speed and is fully adjustable.

The DL280-5 is powered by the 5.9litre Doosan DL06 diesel engine which provides high torque, performance and durability. Power is managed by three working modes - ECO, Normal and Power - to ensure optimum performance for the tough work conditions with fuel efficiency.

As standard, an auto shut-down reduces the idle time of the engine, to prevent the over-consumption of fuel and wasted operating time. In common with the five larger Doosan wheeled loaders - the DL300-5, DL350-5, DL420-5, DL450-5 and DL550-5 - the DL280-5 has a wide range of new safety and ergonomic features as standard.  

Other existing features for the loader models include the high comfort cab, powerful Doosan and Scania Stage IV engines, smooth and responsive hydraulics, ZF powertrains, axle cooling and auxiliary hydraulic connections. As in the previous DL-3 range, most of these features are standard on the DL-5 wheeled loaders and many have been developed to optimise fuel efficiency.    

The DL300-5 and DL350-5 wheeled loaders are powered by the Doosan DL08 6-cylinder diesel engine, with an output of 202kW at 1800rpm.  The DL420-5 is powered by the Scania DC13 6-cylinder engine producing 254kW at 1800rpm.  The DL450-5 and DL550-5 are also powered by the DC13 engine producing 257kW and 283kW respectively, at 1800rpm.  

Providing high torque at low rpm and up to a 10% reduction in fuel consumption, the Doosan and Scania engines meet Stage IV emissions regulations without the need of a diesel particulate filter (DPF), through the use of cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and selective catalyst reduction (SCR) aftertreatment technologies.

From Italian firm VF Venieri come two new two wheeled loaders as well as one that features a telescopic arm. The VF 1.63C is powered by a 37kW Yanmar engine, said to offer high torque at low revs. The VZKP kinematic allow a 3.8tonnes breakout force, while maintaining parallel when using forks and equipment. It also features four standard quick coupling systems to meet worksite needs.

VF 4.63H is equipped with a redesigned linkage for full breakout force interchangeability. It is said to offer stability via its oscillating rear axle. The cab provides all-round visibility with soundproof technology and anti-vibration rubber shock to reduce noise inside.

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