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Earthmoving in advance – new technologies for shifting dirt

First publishedin World Highways
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Caterpillar's latest 20tonne class excavators offer increased output
Earthmoving machine manufacturers are developing innovative new solutions for customers - Mike Woof reports

In the separate markets for excavators, wheeled loaders, graders and dozers, new models are being unveiled from several key firms. The excavator market is one of the most competitive and it is no surprise that some of the most innovative machines are being developed for this segment.


One of the most significant excavator launches has been for the latest Hitachi hybrid model, which is said to combine proven technology with newly developed innovations. The ZH210-6 is claimed to have the lowest ever fuel consumption for a Hitachi medium hydraulic excavator, and has also been designed to further reduce CO2 emissions and running costs. The machine combines proven technology with advanced hydraulics and a new lightweight arm.

Compared with the previous ZH-5 hybrid model, it uses 12% less fuel and compared with the standard ZX210-6, it offers a 20% fuel saving. This has been achieved by integrating its 73kW diesel with the 44kW electric power assist motor. The diesel is sufficient for ordinary operation but when maximum power is required, the electric power assist motor can also be used. This engine is smaller than the unit in the previous ZH210-5, boosting the efficiency of the new hybrid model over its predecessor as well as the standard ZX210-6.

The integrated power system required a new electrical storage device. Instead of the capacitor of the ZH210-5, the new model is equipped with a large-capacity lithium-ion battery developed by Hitachi Automotive Systems. This has increased output to the electric power assist motor, giving considerably more power, and for longer. During light operation the electric power assist motor acts as a generator and charges the battery, similar to the system in a hybrid car.

The ZH210-6 also has a new power control unit as well as the more sophisticated TRIAS-HX II hydraulic system, improving efficiency and further reducing fuel consumption. The hydraulic electric swing has also been improved, with an electric motor torque maximum of 220Nm, compared with 160Nm on the ZH210-5.

The arm of the ZH210-6 hybrid hydraulic excavator is manufactured from high-tensile steel that is 15% lighter than the standard arm of both the ZH210-5 and ZX210-6. This means that less power is required to move the arm, allowing a reduction in fuel consumption.

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Shantui's DH13K dozer is the firm's most sophisticated so far
Rather more conventional are the three new excavators being launched by Caterpillar. Its Next Generation 20tonne size class excavators, the 320 GC, 320 and 323, are said to increase operating efficiency, lower fuel and maintenance costs, and improve operator comfort compared to previous models.

The new Cat 320 is said to raise the bar for efficiency with integrated Cat Connect Technology that advances productivity gains. Standard technology combined with lower fuel and maintenance costs deliver low-cost production in medium- to heavy-duty applications.

Standard Grade Assist automates boom, stick and bucket movements, so operators stay on grade simply and effortlessly with single-lever digging. Cat Payload onboard weighing, integrated on the Cat 320 and 323 at the factory, delivers precise load targets and increased loading efficiency with on-the-go weighing and real-time payload estimates without swinging to prevent truck over/under-loading. Cat LINK hardware and software connect jobsites to the office and provide customers with machine-critical operating information.

Cat engines provide power ratings from 90-121kW for the three new excavators. The machines also offer fuel savings of up to 25% over previous models.

Moving up in scale, the Case CX750D is the firm’s largest and most powerful machine in its excavator range. The firm says that the CX750D offers fast cycle times and high productivity, with an electronically controlled hydraulic pump and larger control and solenoid valves to boost breakout forces, increase lifting strength and improve responsiveness. Sophisticated hydraulics further boost output and fuel efficiency.

The machine has a 382kW diesel that meets Stage IV requirements and has a 335kN bucket digging force and mass excavation configuration with a 366kN bucket digging force. The machine can handle larger buckets for added capacity. The boom and arm, as well as the undercarriage, are robust to allow for greater power and productivity. The reinforced structure of the machine, especially of the retractable undercarriage and front attachment, ensures reliability, even in tough applications.

The new CX750D features an improved cab with standard rear- and side-view cameras. Operators can use the screen to check performance parameters, including fuel consumption, operating hours and machine information.

With its operating weight of 19-22 tonnes, the new Liebherr R 918 crawler excavator is powered by a new engine that delivers 120kW and meets the Stage IV exhaust emissions standard. An optional automatic idle-stop is offered for when the engine is inactive to save on fuel.

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The new Case CE CX750D is now top of the range for the firm
The machine has an ergonomic cab with good all-round visibility and a screen showing all primary functions. A durable X-frame undercarriage is fitted and there are several combinations of undercarriage and dozer blades available. The track rollers of the chain kit come with lifetime lubrication for easy maintenance. The different maintenance points, the level display and refilling of the engine oil are accessible from the ground.


In the wheeled loader segment, Doosan is launching its new DL420CVT-5 Stage IV compliant wheeled loader. This is the first model in the Doosan® wheeled loader range to be equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and is said to offer fuel savings of up to 15%. 

Designed for low- to medium-duty applications, the new Cat 320 GC combines productivity with reduced fuel consumption and maintenance costs. Delivering high production performance, the new Cat 323 has standard integrated Cat Connect Technology and the most power and lift capacity in the line.

Both the Cat 320 and 323 are equipped with integrated Cat Connect Technology, said to increase operating efficiency by up to 45% over traditional grading operations. Offering guidance for depth, slope and horizontal distance to grade, the Cat Grade with 2D system helps operators reach desired grade quickly and accurately. Using the system’s E-fence feature enables the machine to work safely under structures or near traffic by preventing any part of the excavator from moving outside operator-defined set points. The standard 2D system can be upgraded to Cat Grade with Advanced 2D or Cat Grade with 3D.

The CVT transmission combines a hydraulic motor with a hydraulic pump for a smooth and continuous speed variation and is said to offer the benefits of a mechanical transmission and a hydrostatic transmission in the same machine. It allows the DL420CVT-5 to automatically transition from hydrostatic power at low speed to the mechanical system to operate at higher speeds.

By combining the two types of transmission, the new CVT technology allows high loads to be carried at low engine speeds for an optimum wheeled loader operating cycle. The DL420CVT-5 is said to provide an increase in machine performance for digging, loading and lifting applications.

With a maximum bucket capacity of 4.2m3, the new Doosan DL420CVT-5 wheeled loader is intended to meet a wide range of needs. For most tasks, operators will utilise the hydrostatic part of the transmission, which is more fuel-efficient in low-speed applications. The combination of the two transmissions is automatic and fully transparent for the operator. Power for the 23tonne machine comes from a five-cylinder Scania DC09 diesel delivering 232kW.

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A special cab ensures LiuGong's new grader offers good operator visibility
From Komatsu comes the new WA200‐8 wheeled loader, with power from an EU Stage IV diesel offering fuel savings of up to 4%. Engine acceleration has been increased and boom raising time improved for higher productivity and fuel savings. A fourth-generation hydrostatic transmission (HST) helps prolong brake life, thanks to dynamic braking, while S‐Mode gives the operator maximum control in slippery conditions. Its new High Lift boom allows it to load trucks with a side wall of over 4m. Operating weight of the WA200‐8 ranges from 11.7-12tonnes, depending on specification and power comes from a Komatsu SAA4D107E‐3 delivering 94kW. The WA200‐8 diesel operates at high efficiency due to precise engine control, reduction of the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) rate and an upgraded variable geometry turbocharger (VGT).

Komatsu’s redesigned digging bucket further improves penetration and is easier to fill, with a longer bucket bottom, a modified shape of the back and side walls, and a new design of the spill guard. This is said to be easier to fill and offers increased operating comfort, boosts productivity and helps reduce fuel consumption.

KOMTRAX telematics and the Komatsu Care maintenance program offer fleet management and support, protect the machine against misuse and provide maximum efficiency and uptime for more productivity.


In the dozer market Shantui is offering the new DH13K hydrostatic dozer, which is said to provide increases in performance and efficiency over earlier models. It is the first in a new range, with the larger DH16K coming soon and sharing many features. Customers for the DH13K can choose standard XL or special LGP variants, with working weights ranging from 13.7-15.3tonnes depending on specification. The XL version of the machine has a blade capacity of 3.39m3 while the LGP model has a blade capacity of 3.69m3. Customers can select either FPT N67 or Cummins QSB6.7 diesels, both rated at 115kW and available in Tier 4 Final/Stage IV emissions certified variants for use in the US and Europe.

Features on the machine include adjustable work modes and grade assist systems and Shantui says that the DH13K can be equipped with machine control technology from Leica Geosystems at present.

The DH16K will feature a Cummins diesel delivering 142kW and will share the more sophisticated control systems being fitted to the DH13K. The firm says that the DH16K will weigh from 17.2-20.5tonnes depending on the specification, with blade capacities of 3.76m3 and 4.4m3 for the XL and LGP variants respectively.

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Doosan claims high efficiency for its new CVT drive loader
Moving up in scale, Liebherr’s new PR766 dozer competes in the 50tonne class and has operating weights ranging from 46.2-54.2tonnes depending on specification. Replacing the PR764 the machine is driven by a 310kW diesel with a V8 configuration, which meets the Stage IV/Tier 4 emissions standards.

Due to the hydrostatic drive, the speed of the diesel is kept constant, running at optimum speed and saving fuel. The machine is equipped with an ECO function that allows the operator to choose between high performance and maximum efficiency. In lightweight to moderately heavy applications, the ECO control system ensures efficiency and additional fuel savings compared to conventional drives, according to the firm.

The new PR 766 Litronic is equipped with an oscillating undercarriage, which allows the track rollers to adapt to the surface. This boosts traction and also allows smooth running, particularly on uneven ground. This increases operator comfort, improves the life of the undercarriage and reduces wear and tear on the machine.

The new cab is said to offer an excellent view in all directions. Edges which slope away on all sides and the all-round panoramic window provide good visibility of the site, as well as the blade and rear-mounted ripper.

The machine has Liebherr’s LiDAT fleet management system as standard, which provides data to the user and improves efficiency. The data is updated several times a day and can be conveniently called up at any time using a web browser. An automatic alarm can be set up for particularly important information.


Chinese firm LiuGong has unveiled a grader designed to offer improved visibility due to its radical cab design. The special five-post cab has been configured so as to ensure that the driver has the maximum field of view, particularly for reversing. A single rear post is mounted directly behind the operator, in line with the engine exhaust, so that the operator can better see to the rear of the machine.

The 4180D is driven by a 140kW diesel and tips the scales at 15.5tonnes. The machine offers a maximum travel speed of 46km/h travelling forwards and 26km/h in reverse while its drawbar pull is 80kN.

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