Is it Time for a New Wheel Loader?
Better Roads Staff
Machine application. If you’re doing load-and-carry work, consider how far the loader needs to go and what material – and gradation – is being moved.
Operator technique. Make sure your operators know all the capabilities of the machine, including auto shift. Become familiar with rolling resistance and its impact on productivity – the smoother and cleaner the operating floor, the faster an operator can go, with less up and down on the throttle, requiring less fuel.
Remember there’s a balance. Reducing idle time has become a mantra, but if there’s only one truck being loaded, why speed up the cycle just to quickly go back to idle? Just because a machine can load a truck in 22 seconds doesn’t mean you have to max out its capabilities if your job doesn’t require it.
Look at machine configuration. Gold cites Caterpillar’s Performance Series buckets as an example. Designed to reduce loading time, the buckets have an optimized shape and side curves to reduce friction while penetrating material.
Don’t forget the operator
John Chesterman with John Deere tells about a site visit where he saw a young operator speeding through his load cycles, barely getting a half-full bucket. “I just spent 15 minutes with him to show how to load the bucket,” he says. “His production went up 200 percent and he was a lot happier.” The experience prompts him to urge owners to remember one of the most critical components of loader productivity: the operator. “Mentor your new operators. Show them how to use all the features on a loader, including lock-up torque converters and ride control.”
Models with 4-to-6-cubic-yards reference bucket capacity include:
Compared with previous models, Volvo’s L110G and L120G wheel loaders offer a 25 percent increase in lifting force, a 15 percent increase in breakout force and up to a 5 percent increase in fuel efficiency. Both loaders are powered by a Volvo six-cylinder, turbocharged, Tier 4 Interim V-ACT engine that provides 256 horsepower to the L110 and 268 horsepower to the L120G. The front axle is fitted with a hydraulically-operated differential lock that transfers 100 percent power to the wheels, reducing wheel spin and improving traction in soft or slippery conditions. Two stronger, variable displacement, load-bearing axial piston pumps allow higher working hydraulic pressures, enhanced control of the load and attachments, as well as higher breakout force, faster lifting and tilt functions.
Kawasaki 85Z7 and 90 Z7
Kawasaki’s new 85Z7 and 90Z7’s new body designs improve visibility from the cab. Features include Tier 4 Interim engines, new powertrain components and hydraulic and electrical systems. An Isuzu engine provides the 85Z7 with 221 horsepower while the 90Z7 has a 280-horsepower Hino engine. Use of variable displacement piston pumps in an open-centered, excavator-style hydraulic system saves on fuel and improves the overall feel and response of the hydraulic system. The “IntelliDig” system balances rimpull power and breakout force when digging tough materials. Both models have a high degree of operator customization, allowing the operator to set power settings, lift arm kickout settings, the declutch setting and how the transmission shifts.