EQUIPMENT FOCUS: Getting bang for your bucks

Loader backhoes combine performance, fuel efficiency for best productivity

Equipment Article May 04, 2012
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As a machine that already combines multiple functions under one roof, efficiency is the ultimate goal when it comes to backhoe loaders. Whether you’re talking about fuel, performance, handling or power, manufacturers want to help you get the most out of your machine.

In regards to fuel, most backhoe loaders are now up to Tier 4 Interim emissions standards, running as clean as possible. Some, like Case’s N Series, utilize cooled exhaust gas recirculation technology; Cat has its own NOx Reduction System to cut down on nitrous oxides.

As jobsite requirements grow and change, the performance of backhoe loaders has extended as well—in some cases quite literally, as many new models boast a longer reach and dig depth, making both primary functions easier. Servicing the equipment is easier too, thanks to improvements like the new tilt-forward hood on the New Holland C-Series.
Several manufacturers also focused on improving the cab area, for the sake of both function and form. Easier control, better ventilation and improved visibility are just a few of the enhancements to be found, with the ultimate goal of making the equipment easier to work with.


Allowing man and machine to work together more efficiently was the goal of the upgrades to Terex’s TLB 840 backhoe loader, starting with the redesigned cab. It includes mechanical controls (optional excavator-style pilot controls available); rear quarter and full-depth windows for greater ventilation and visibility; and a mechanical suspension seat offering lumbar support and greater legroom. The curved boom design of the loader allows greater clearance and closer loading; the backhoe sports a new “deep dig” extendable dipper stick with a dig depth of 18 ft 1 in. and a reach of 21 ft 11 in.


Power clean
The Cat C4.4 engine on the three new models in the F Series—the 416F, 420F and 430F—upgrades power while staying up to Tier 4 Interim emissions standards. The machine features the Cat NOx Reduction System and a diesel particulate filter to give it this top-of-the-line certification. Concurrently, horsepower has stayed the same or even increased. The loader sports new lift arms for increased maximum hinge-pin height, dump height, bucket breakout force and lift capacity. Cat Product Link is available for remote diagnostic capabilities.


All stretched out
JCB has extended the reach, both literally and figuratively, of its ICX backhoe loader with longer loader arms (by 4 in.) and an extending dipper option (now digs up to 10 ft). The Power Management System reduces engine lug down for digging and increases power when driving into a pile with the front bucket. The backhoe has been improved with optional servo controls, replacing the control lever post. An optional changeover switch allows operators to choose an SAE or ISO control pattern.


Achieving balance
Maximizing productivity and efficiency is the key to the eight models in John Deere’s K Series of backhoe loaders, which also features a pair of tractor loaders. The backhoes function via the Total Machine Control system, with a redesigned joystick for smoother operation and more precise trench work. The five-speed transmission—connected to the certified Tier 4 Interim/Stage III B John Deere PowerTech engine—shifts from one stage to another effortlessly with the optional AutoShift feature.


Same name, new face
Volvo almost completely redesigned its B-Series of backhoe loaders, which includes the BL60B and BL70B. Among the changes is a new set of controls, including two floor-mounted levers for the excavator. Handling also is improved by 16.5-in. or 18-in. tires that provide a small turning radius, while the bucket itself can rotate 205° for more efficient vertical digging. Volvo also made the cab 15% larger for easier shifting from loader to excavator functions.

More than meets the eye
Versatility is the name of the game with the L45 tractor-loader-backhoe from Kubota, a 3-in-1 machine with a 45-hp Kubota diesel engine at its heart, along with an HST Plus transmission. The loader sports a lift capacity of 2,200 lb, with improved visibility thanks to a braceless frame and slanted boom design. The backhoe features a dig depth of up to 10 ft. Backhoe crawling mode allows the operator to reposition easily along trenches. A Category I three-point hitch also is part of the backhoe.

Two of a kind
The C Series from New Holland Construction offers the B95C LR (long reach) and the B95C TC (tool carrier). The LR is more compact with a longer stick (similar to the B110C) for greater dig depth, greater reach and less fuel consumption; the TC is suited for material handling, with self-leveling to the loader both up and down. The hood has been redesigned to a tilt-forward style for easier service access. The optional auto ride control assures reduced spillage and machine looping at higher speeds; the system disengages automatically at lower speeds.


Cool under pressure
Case’s N Series of loader backhoes—which includes the 580N, 580 Super N, 580 Super N Wide Track and 590 Super N—are driven by Tier 4-caliber, 3.4-liter turbocharged engines that utilize cooled exhaust gas recirculation technology to control emissions. All four-wheel-drive models feature Automatic Ride Control for reduced bucket spillage at roading speeds. Teeth on the bottom surface of the dipper make it easier to grip unusually shaped or oversize debris.

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