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New developments in earthmoving with radical loader and excavator designs

First publishedin World Highways
January February 2017
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LiuGong’s wheeled loader
An innovative front end design is a the key feature of LiuGong's novel VL70A vertical lift wheeled loader
The market is seeing new wheeled loader and excavator models coming to market, including some radical new designs - Mike Woof writes.

The global market for earthmoving machines is seeing some important developments. Manufacturers are now offering separate machines for customers in developed and developing markets. Meanwhile there are also some innovative concepts being made available. One of the most notable new earthmovers is the innovative VL70A vertical lift wheeled loader from LiuGong. This model features novel vertical lift loader arms on its articulating chassis, while it also has a self-levelling Z-bar bucket linkage.

The vertical lift configuration was developed to optimise the machine’s primary function: lifting and carrying a load. According to LiuGong director of Test & New Technology Ed Wagner, “The basics of it are simple. With conventional radial lift arms you have a longer forward reach so you need more weight at the rear to counterbalance. The vertical lift can lift straight up and requires less weight at the rear.” He explained that for truck loading, it means a smaller machine can be used for the same job and added, “With this I can take out around 40% of the machine weight.”

Fuel costs are lower as the machine has a reduced operating weight and LiuGong claims that the design can shift more material/kW than with a conventional radial lift machine, delivering more tonnes/hour for lower initial investment. Owning and operating costs are also lower than for conventional wheeled loader models. The vertical lift wheeled loader shares proven technology with conventional LiuGong wheeled loaders, so reliability and durability are said to equal existing models from the firm.

The concept is well-proven however and has been utilised in the skid steer loader market for some years, with New Holland having been a pioneer of this system. With a vertical lift system wheeled loader a customer can use a smaller and far less costly machine for truck loading applications. Wagner explained, “A 5tonne payload loader typically has a 3m3 bucket while a 7tonne payload loader will have a 4.2m3 bucket. That’s 40% more bucket capacity but the bigger machine is twice as expensive.”
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Hyundai excavator
A new cab and improved hydraulics are key features of Hyundai's new generation excavators
Wagner added that compared with conventional wheeled loaders for the 5tonne payload market, the firm’s VL70A offers an additional 350mm or so of extra lift height, as well as wielding a larger material handling type bucket and that this allows it to load a truck in fewer passes as a result. The machine is designed specifically for stockpiling and truck loading applications. After four years of development, LiuGong expanded the team and went into the final development stage in 2015. The new VL70A loader will be ready for production in 2017.

The firm is also offering Tier 4 Final compliant wheeled loaders and excavators for the North American market. These are the H-Series wheeled loaders and E-Series excavators and bene_ t from cleaner engines, more efficient systems and improvements to the cab, making them more productive, responsive, easier to operate and with better ergonomics for the operator.

The new H-Series wheeled loaders and E-Series excavators include the 835H, 856H, 890H, 915E, 922E, 925E, 930E and 936E. The new machines are said to feature good fuel consumption and are powered by QSB 4.5, QSB 6.7, QSL 9 and QSG 12 Tier 4 Final turbocharged Cummins diesels, as well as the Perkins 1204F Tier 4 Final engine, with power from 82-261kW. The machines also include intelligent cooling systems and closed hydraulic systems, as well as rollover protection and rear-view cameras as standard.

Other manufacturers meanwhile are upgrading product lines and on a more conventional note, Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) is introducing its latest Zaxis-6 excavators and ZW-6 wheeled loaders, which share components.

The Zaxis-6 range of crawler excavators includes five new medium models, from the ZX130-6 to the ZX210LC-6, and two new large units, the ZX690LCH-6 and ZX890LCH-6. Also new are the ZX240LCN-6 with a narrow undercarriage for easier transport on small roads and the short-tail swing models, ZX135US-6 and ZX225USLC/USRLC-6 for use in confined spaces.

These models comply with Tier 4 Final/ Stage IV regulations and are equipped with an innovative hydraulic system, which reduces losses and helps cut fuel consumption by up to 12%. They are also fitted with an after-treatment system featuring diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), selective catalyst reduction (SCR) and a silencer.
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John Deere’s 470G LC excavator
A new engine is a key feature of John Deere's upgraded 470G LC excavator
The latest ZW-6 wheeled loader from Hitachi is the ZW180-6. This has been designed for good all-round visibility, due to its repositioned exhaust pipe and air intake and curved engine hood, as well as its standard rear-view camera and monitor. High performance is claimed in terms of load capacity, digging force and travel speeds, while it is also said to be fuel-efficient. Power comes from a Stage IV-compliant engine that contains a high-volume, cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), common rail-type fuel system and a DOC.

An important development from Hyundai is its announcement of de-tiering kits for its Tier 4 Interim/Stage IIIB-compliant excavators and wheeled loaders. The technology allows Hyundai dealers to adjust the machines so that they can be sold into markets with less stringent emissions regulations and where lowsulphur fuels are not available. These kits mean that the machines can be decertified prior to shipment to countries outside of Europe and the US. The move is significant as it will help boost sales of second-hand Hyundai machines into emerging markets.

Hyundai also recently launched its all-new Tier 4 Final/Stage IV-compliant excavator and wheeled loader line-up. These new machines are said to be up to 10% more fuel-efficient and come with other improvements, such as the firm’s advanced around view monitoring (AAVM) system. The firm’s latest addition to its new HX excavator range is the HX380 L, which has an operating weight of 39tonnes.

This machine is said to suit bulk earthmoving and is fitted with the latest Stage IV engine technology, which meets the latest emissions standards. It has a low emission, Cummins QSL9 Stage IV engine, which offers 257kW and features the Xtra-High Pressure Injection (XPI) fuel system. This engine is designed to provide the lowest cost of operation in its class, helping the machine to be highly fuel-efficient. Like existing models in the HX series, the HX380 L features Hyundai’s variable power control. Using this system, the operator can set their own preferences for boom or swing priority.

The HX series can also be equipped with an optional boom floating control using arm-in and arm-out operation only, allowing stable operation even in high-load work. The HX380 L features a new cab, which has a suspension mount to reduce noise as well as an improved instrument panel.
Liebherr’s L550 loader
John Deere has introduced an upgraded model of its 470G LC excavator featuring a new Tier 4 Final diesel. New to the 470G LC are optional 2D/3D grade guidance sensor mounting brackets, allowing for quick install of grade-control systems from Topcon, Trimble or Leica Geosystems. The excavator also allows operators to choose from multiple modes that balance engine performance and hydraulic flow based on the application at hand. A programmable thumb attachment mode is also available, so that operators can adjust oil flow for attachments using the in-cab LCD monitor.

The machine’s new 13.5litre diesel delivers 274kW for the 470G LC. The excavator also features an automatically-cleaning diesel particulate filter that can work for up to 15,000 hours before requiring ash removal.

In Europe, Komatsu is now offering two new excavator models, the PC210NLC-11 and the PC230NHD-11, both of which benefit from low emission Tier 4 Final/Stage IV-compliant diesels. The machines are said have 15% lower fuel consumption and upgrades to hydraulics that help to boost efficiency and productivity, while lowering running costs for the customer.

These two new excavators are equipped with a narrow crawler design that makes them easier to transport and, depending on specification, the PC210 weighs in at 22.4-23tonnes. The 23.5tonne PC230NHD-11 also has a heavy-duty undercarriage designed for high ground clearance.

The same engine is used in both the PC210NLC-11 and the PC230NHD-11, which delivers 123kW at 2,000rpm and integrates SCR with a DPF, to further reduce NOx emissions. Its advanced electronics manage air_ ow rate, fuel injection, combustion parameters and after-treatment. Komatsu uses a variable geometry turbocharger (VGT) and an EGR valve for temperature and air management control and longer component life. The integrated hydraulics use a closed centre, load sensing system using technology that allows the engine speed to adjust based on the hydraulic pump output for light and heavy-duty applications.
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Komatsu’s excavator
A narrow crawler design makes Komatsu's PC210NLC-11 and PC230NHD-11 excavators easier to transport
The Komatsu excavators have cabs with good all-round visibility that are mounted on isolation dampers to reduce vibration. Also in the cab are touchscreen monitors displaying operating parameters and diagnostics. For safety a rear-view camera is standard and side view cameras are optional while the cab also has a reinforced box structure.

Both machines have the latest KOMTRAX telematics, and the Komatsu Care complimentary maintenance packages. They also have Komatsu’s equipment management monitoring system (EMMS), which monitors critical systems and gives the operator and technicians greater troubleshooting capabilities, minimising diagnosis and repair time.

Liebherr’s R920 Compact excavator is now available; a 19-21tonne machine with a short-tail-swing of 1.85m designed for use in sites with constricted space. Power comes from a 100kW, Tier 4 Final/Stage IV-compliant diesel with an SCR system featuring urea injection and an oxidation catalyst, while particulate filters are available as an option. Easy-to-access maintenance points allow engine oil levels to be read from the ground, while the central lubrication system increases component life. The undercarriage uses Liebherr’s proven X design and is said to feature a reliable and robust travel mechanism.

The firm is also developing excavators for the Chinese earthmoving market, with the 20tonne class R920 available now and being followed soon by the R922 and R924. Of note is the 110kW Cummins diesel used in the R920, selected as this is a popular unit in the country, boosting serviceability. The same engine will power the 22tonne class R922, although a different diesel delivering 125kW will drive the 24tonne class R924. Similarly, the firm has developed the L550 wheeled loader for the Chinese market.

Another development of note is that Sany is now introducing its SY365H excavator for developed markets, with Tier 4 Final/Stage IV emissions rating. Competing in the 36tonne excavator class, the 365H is powered by a diesel rated at 212kW and is offered with bucket capacities from 1.4-2.32m3.

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