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During March 2008, major manufacturers of wheel loaders took the triennial opportunity to show the aggregate production, mining and heavy construction

During March 2008, major manufacturers of wheel loaders took the triennial opportunity to show the aggregate production, mining and heavy construction industries the latest advances in iron at ConExpo-Con/Agg in Las Vegas. Several manufacturers, including Case and John Deere, provided a first look at new lines of wheel loaders.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The innovations in these workhorses invariably involve machine operational efficiency with a goal of increasing productivity and uptime, operator safety and comfort, and adherence to stricter emissions standards that became effective after the 2005 event. Many models incorporate all of these innovations.

Since last year, Case and Hyundai Construction Equipment formed a strategic alliance. Hyundai has agreed to manufacture higher-capacity wheel loaders for Case. ìThe availability of higher-capacity Case machines is very beneficial for our customers,î says Jim McCullough, president, Case Construction Equipment. ìThe expansion of the Case lineup with larger wheel loaders, along with the heavy-range excavators, larger crawler dozers and articulated dump trucks Case already offers, adds to the full line available through Case dealerships.î Adds J.J. Kim, executive vice president, Hyundai Heavy Industries: ìWe're pleased to have developed this alliance, which gives equipment users in key geographies the benefit of Case distribution and support capabilities.î

Products sourced through the alliance will be fully warranted through Case and serviceable by Case dealers, with financing available through the Case financing arm, CNH Capital. Case also will provide parts support.

Below is an overview of the latest in wheel loaders that manufacturers unveiled at ConExpo-Con/Agg and in recent months.

Case Construction Equipment

At the 2008 ConExpo-Con/Agg show, Case Construction Equipment announced the expansion of its E Series wheel loader line with the addition of the 1221E. The new machine features an electronically controlled, Tier 3-certified engine designed to provide ample power to move a high volume of material per hour, a large cab for operator comfort and visibility and maintenance accessibility.

The machine has an operating weight of 65,600 pounds and a standard payload capacity of 7.6 cubic yards. The loader's six-cylinder Cummins engine boasts 320 net hp at maximum performance.

The isolation-mounted cab on the 1221E reportedly is among the quietest in the industry with an operator sound level of 72 dBa. Floor-to-ceiling glass in the front, along with a sloped rear engine compartment, gives the operator a panoramic view, with maximum visibility both forward and to the rear. A single-lever joystick loader control with forward-neutral-reverse quick-shuttle switch and transmission downshift button is standard. A digital display records real-time data, shows diagnostic information and allows programming of operational modes.

For easy serviceability, fluid sight gauges are positioned at eye level. Three remote drains for coolant, engine and hydraulic oil are positioned to provide convenient access for efficient fluid changes.

Optional Ride Control is available to maximize material retention while reducing shock loads on the machine and operator, the manufacturer reports. This option can be set for full-time mode or auto mode, which activates when roading the wheel loader above 6 mph. The machine also has limited-slip axles on the front and rear to automatically transfer power from the slipping wheel to the gripping wheel.
Case Construction Equipment, (262) 636-6011, http:/www.casece.com

Komatsu

The new WA600-6 wheel loader is the first Komatsu wheel loader equipped with a Tier 3-compliant engine as well as dual-mode engine power for maximum efficiency, variable displacement piston pumps and a Closed Load Sensing System (CLSS) for precise control, and a large capacity lock-up torque converter for faster cycle times.

The WA600-6 is powered by a Komatsu Tier 3, SAA6D170E-5 six-cylinder engine, which produces 502 hp at 1,800 rpm, a significant increase in horsepower over the previous model. The engine also is equipped with an electronic control system designed to optimize vehicle performance, a High Pressure Common Rail Fuel Injection System, a new combustion system for reduced noise and fuel consumption, a cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation system and an air-to-air charge air-cooling system. The engine comes standard with an Economy mode for fuel efficiency, and a Power mode for maximum productivity.

The WA600-6 provides breakout force of 87,230 pounds, a straight static tipping load of 80,645 pounds and a 40-degree tipping load of 67,210 pounds. For maximum control of its standard 8.4-cubic-yard bucket during both single and simultaneous bucket movements and improved fuel consumption, the machine is equipped with variable displacement piston pumps and CLSS.

Inside the cab is standard Automatic Joy Stick Steering designed for easier and more accurate control, as well as an electronically controlled, five-mode heater and defroster, air conditioning and a suspension-type, reclining seat. Rubber and silicone viscous damping mounts that reduce cab vibration and noise levels are included to reduce operator fatigue. The cab windows are designed for maximum visibility and the large-size flat glass contributes to noise reduction inside the cab.

For load-and-carry applications, a new, large-capacity lock-up torque converter reportedly provides increased productivity, faster cycle times and improved fuel consumption. With a 3-element, single stage, double-phase torque converter and a full-powershift, planetary type transmission, travel speeds reportedly have increased over the previous model, with a forward top-speed of 23.4 mph and a reverse top-speed of 23.0 mph. The WA600-6's modulated clutch system controls the tractive effort from 100% to 20% of the T/C converter output. It offers adjustable travel speed and traction control settings for multiple applications.

The machine also is designed to provide short hydraulic cycle times with a rated load in the bucket. Raising a loaded bucket is said to take 9.3 seconds; dumping it, 2.3 seconds; and lowering an empty bucket, 4.1 seconds.
Komatsu, (866) 513-5778, http://www.komatsuamerica.com

Caterpillar

Caterpillar has introduced its 992K wheel loader, which replaces the 992G loader and is designed to efficiently match the manufacturer's 777 and 775 off-highway trucks with fast cycles and high bucket fill factors for productive truck loading. The 992K is equipped with the company's C32 Acert engine, which is configured for increased performance and U.S. EPA Tier 2 and EU Stage IIa emissions compliance. The C32 Acert produces net power of 801 hp and powers the Caterpillar 993K loader, 777F truck and D11T tractor for inventory uniformity.

For increased productivity, the loader has next-generation load-sensing Positive Flow Control (PFC) hydraulics. Additional sensors at the pumps are designed to provide enhanced responsiveness for the operator.

For easy maintenance and more reliability, the 992K has exclusive sleeve bearing pins that eliminate the need for daily greasing of the front linkage, and the next generation modular radiator has copper fins developed for superior heat-exchange capabilities. The NGMR is designed to minimize space for the cooling package and allow enhanced sight lines to the rear. Centralized service centers and ground-level access points, including the bumper service center and optional fluid service center, are incorporated to speed service and reduce exposure to falls. A VIMS machine health monitoring system also is included. For added safety, an optional rearview camera and heated rearview mirrors improve the view behind the machine.

In addition, Caterpillar has unveiled its new 938H wheel loader with a C6.6 engine, which features Acert technology, as well as a differential lock system, load-sensing hydraulics and increased lift and tilt forces. The machine, which replaces the 938G II, offers the Cat Fusion Wheel Loader Coupler System, which pulls the coupler and work tool closer to the wheel loader. A new, open frame design is included to give the operator clear sight lines to the bucket and load.

New features have been built into the loader's design to aid machine health monitoring and maintenance. An in-cab Messenger display provides real-time machine performance, engine and diagnostic data to help maximize productivity and component life. Hydraulic and electrical service centers group service points and offer easy access from ground level to limit service downtime. Cat Product Link, which provides two-way information flow between the machine and Caterpillar dealer and to the owner's desktop computer through the online dealer storefront, is standard.

The 938H also has a new axle with standard front differential lock or an optional, automatic differential lock for both front and rear. Differential lock replaces limited slip and is designed to reduce fuel consumption and generate less heat in the axle yet provide improved traction and reduced tire wear. The automatic differential lock monitors machine operation and locks during the dig cycle and when tires slip. Both manual and automatic differential lock can engage on the go. The 938H retains the traditional Z-Bar linkage for productive bucket loading and durability. Bucket capacities range from 3.0 to 3.9 cubic yards.

The 938H has net engine power of 180 hp and more peak engine power with about 8% more power at 2,100 rpm. An inline six-cylinder, the C6.6 diesel engine has displacement of 6.6 liters. It is configured to provide clean, quiet operation and a flat and long peak power curve for quick response in the working rpm range.

The Acert technology features an ADEM A4 electronic controller, which integrates engine functions and combines with the rail fuel system, smart waste gate turbocharger and crossflow head design for precise fuel and air delivery, reduced emissions and strong engine performance. To further enhance fuel economy, the machine is equipped with the Caterpillar Engine Idle Management System, which maximizes fuel efficiency and provides flexibility in managing idle speeds for specific application requirements. An electric fuel-priming pump eases maintenance and all regular service points are accessible from ground level on the right side of the engine.

A load-sensing, variable-flow hydraulic system senses work demand and adjusts flow and pressure accordingly. It enables full hydraulic forces at any engine speed for faster cycle times and improved fuel efficiency. Similarly, load-sensing steering and implement flow make more power available for rim-pull and loader forces without requiring operator attention. Hydraulic valving enables simultaneous lift and tilt for faster cycle times.
Caterpillar, (309) 675-1000, http://www.cat.com/cda/layout

John Deere

At ConExpo-Con/Agg, John Deere launched its new K-Series loaders featuring cab improvements, a new utility-sized loader, and Tier 3 emissions certification for its largest models. The K-Series includes eight updated models including the new utility-sized 2.75-yard 524K.

All K-Series loaders, covering the 2- to 8-yard range, have a redesigned cab intended to increase operator comfort and visibility. The cabs have been re-engineered for roominess, lower noise levels and ergonomics. Shift pedals have been moved forward and the front console size reduced to provide extra room. A new streamlined steering column and front windshield configuration provide greater visibility. Cab noise also has been decreased.

Improved ergonomic features include keyless start, seat-mounted controls, expanded sealed-switch module and a new LCD monitor with a multi-function interface. In addition, the 544K through 844K now offer joystick steering. The LCD monitor provides screen displays of machine parameters, an operator check sheet, real-time fuel usage, extensive diagnostics and a payload weighing screen. An embedded payload weighing scale is powered by Loadrite.

The optional rear obstacle detection system provides an alert if any object is in the loader's direct path. It is combined with a rear camera that displays through the LCD monitor above.

K-Series 4WD loaders from the 444K and up are now Tier 3 certified. The 444K through the 844K come equipped with Deere's Quad Cool system. This system places the radiator, transmission, hydraulic and air-to-air coolers in a separate compartment for increased efficiency and decreased debris buildup. An optional reversing fan automatically back-blows every 30 minutes to help keep the cores clean.

In addition, the 644K features Deere's Powerllel Linkage, which reportedly delivers both powerful digging forces and parallel lift. The 544K through 844K also feature NeverGrease Pins that have an exclusive sealed design that never needs greasing.
John Deere Construction, (800) 319-3757, http://www.johndeere.com

Terex

Terex TL260 Compact Wheel Loaders incorporate transverse-mounted engines for stability so they can lift and transport high payloads with minimal fuel consumption. Designed with an oscillating rear axle, the loaders are configured to provide comfort and easy handling on rough terrain by maintaining four-wheel traction, as well as articulated steering for maneuverability in tight spaces. The loaders also are designed to give operators easy and accurate control even when using the loader at full power.

The machines have 175 hp with bucket capacities between 3.3 and 6.0 cubic yards and achieve breakout force of 26,995 pounds. Closed-circuit hydrostatic drive is independent from loader hydraulics. Drawbar pull and speed can be automatically adjusted. The hydraulic motor provides two speed ranges: infinitely variable speed control, forward and reverse. A combination braking and inching pedal maximizes operator control.

The control unit incorporates a proportional hydraulic valve with three control circuits and provides simultaneous, independent control of all movements. The machine also has a single, four-way (multi-function) control lever for one tilt and two lift cylinders with an integrated travel direction selector switch.

A rubber-mounted, full-vision steel cab is ROPS (to ISO 3471) and FOPS (to ISO 3449) certified. The cab also features two doors, electric intermittent windshield wipers and washer (front and rear), tinted panoramic safety glass and a sliding window on the left-hand side. The driver's seat features hydraulic cushioning and is weight-adjustable, in compliance with ISO 7096 and ISO 6683. The machines also feature automatic climate control.
Terex, (203) 222-7170, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., http://www.terex.com

Hyundai

The new HL 780-7A from Hyundai Construction Equipment is designed with a highly engineered control center featuring a 3-D modeled design and a windshield free of framing to maximize visibility. A full automatic shift lever (located at the left of the steering column) provides the operator with fast, easy control of speed and direction. An optional joystick lever with travel switch on the top allows a change in the direction of travel and kick-down shifting, including bucket control. An Engine Control Unit, Transmission Control Unit and Machine Control Unit all work in conjunction to optimize the loader's performance.

The machine is powered by a Cummins CSM11 electronic control engine, designed for improved airflow and evenly dispersed fuel for increased power and response with minimal fuel consumption. The engine's advanced electronic controls enable the unit to meet new U.S. and European emission standards. A multi-function transmission has a hydraulic system for gearshifts with proportional valves to allow precise control of the clutches. For each gear change, the control unit performs a monitoring function to ensure adherence to the specified shift curve and readjusts shift pressure applied to the clutch pedals. The operator also can make shifts manually.

The bucket has a protective wear plate on the rear. A master switch disconnects the battery power to guard against electrical drainage. The machine also comes with a frame lock to prevent movement during transportation.
Hyundai Construction Equipment, (201) 816-4000, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.hyundaicorp.com