Loaders hit soft economic ground

Manufacturers restyling to satisfy the demanding North American market

Highway Construction Article May 13, 2001
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Like other U


Like other U.S. businesses, New Holland Construction is feeling the slowdown in the economy. In fact, New Holland’s parent company, CNH Global, reported that its retail unit sales of construction equipment were slightly lower in the fourth quarter of 2000 than in the fourth quarter of 1999.


In North America, retail sales declined, the international company said, partly due to limited availability of new product models and partly due to a significant decline in the loader backhoe market. The company projected that global sales of its heavy construction equipment could decline 5% in 2001, with a 10% decline in loader backhoe sales. On the other hand, the company estimated that sales of skid steers this year could be flat or up slightly.


"Just talking to the customers and to the dealers alike you can tell that the market’s getting much softer than it was," Sam Wyant, product manager for wheel loaders at Carol Stream, Ill.-based New Holland, told ROADS & BRIDGES.


Wyant said, "It’s not only energy costs. It’s to do with interest rates and how the economy’s doing as a whole."


One action that New Holland took on Jan. 15 to try to lift the market


for its loaders was to introduce two new models, the LW50.B and the LW80.B. The new machines are redesigned versions of the company’s smaller machines and incorporate the fit-and-feel features found in its larger models.


The design of the LW50.B and LW80.B focused primarily on the cab. "The whole restyling in the operator’s compartment was due to customers’ requests," said Wyant. The original models, the LW50 and LW80, had good performance characteristics, "but just didn’t have the finish that the customers in the North American market demand."


The fit-and-feel of the machine adds to its appeal for the rental market, which also is influencing the market for New Holland’s equipment. The new LW50.B and LW80.B are equipped with a quick coupler for easily changing tools. "That goes back to versatility," said Wyant, "and a lot of that is brought on from the rental yards and also from customers that are using a wide range of attachments."


The two new loaders have plenty of features that make it easier for an operator to quickly get a feel for the machine and be productive at the controls. "You see that being driven a lot more by the rental or the lease market," said Wyant, "because people want to be comfortable going from machine to machine."


Other productivity features include a seamless front windshield that gives the operator a good view around the loader and down to the bucket. A fingertip joystick control with an integrated transmission control allows the operator to control the loader and transmission with the right hand while leaving the left hand free to steer the machine.


"The biggest focus has been the operator compartment in North America, because good operators are hard to find and even harder to keep," said Wyant. "They want to get in a machine that’s comfortable and that’s not going to beat them up throughout the day."


New Holland hopes that the performance and comfort features of its new small wheel loaders, tailored to the North American market, will help make 2001 a better year for sales.


The loaders feature a two-speed hydrostatic transmission that provides speeds up to 12.4 mph. The transmission functions like an automatic transmission by automatically downshifting to low speed when the resistance against the power train builds.


The 53-net-hp LW50.B has an operating weight of 10,060 lb and a bucket capacity of 1.0 cu yd. The 76- net-hp LW80.B has an operating weight of 13,364 lb and a bucket capacity of 1.5 cu yd.


Cubic cooling


A mid-mount, cube-shaped cooling system supplies the cleanest air and more efficiently cools the engine, fluids and components in the 521D wheel loader from Case Corp., Racine, Wis. The cooling system design prevents debris from plugging between coolers, according to the company, and provides fresh air to all coolers from behind the cab for the cleanest air possible. An optional reversible fan is useful for extremely dusty applications. By engaging a switch from the cab, the fan reverses the air flow, purging any material trapped in the coolers.


The 521D has a 110-hp turbocharged diesel engine, 20,202 lb of breakout force and a lift capacity of 23,634 lb.


The closed-center, load-sensing hydraulic system on the 521D senses when more flow and pressure are required and adjusts automatically.


Available general-purpose buckets have capacities of 2 cu yd and 2.25 cu yd. The machine features automatic return-to-dig, return-to-travel and bucket-height-control features. A variety of other attachments also is available.


Automagic transmission


An automatic four-speed transmission is standard on the WA120-3MC Avance Plus wheel loader from Komatsu America International Co., Vernon Hills, Ill. The four forward and four reverse speeds of the electronically controlled transmission permit travel speeds up to 22 mph and reduce the fatigue that can result from constant shifting.


A transmission kick-down switch on the boom lever facilitates loading operations by improving tractive effort during digging and loading. The kick-down switch automatically shifts down from second to first when beginning the digging cycle. It automatically shifts up from first to second when the direction control lever is placed in reverse. This feature eliminates the need for manual shifting and ensures fast, powerful loading.


The WA120-3MC Avance Plus is powered by a turbocharged 100-hp engine. It has an operating weight of 18,110 lb, a breakout force of 16,280 lb and a bucket size of 1.7-2.5 cu yd.


An improved hydraulic PPC joystick loader control with wrist rest increases productivity.


Compact with big features


Hydrostatic drive powers the operation of the SCL 515 compact wheel loader from Schaeff of North America, Dallas, meaning the machine’s engine can run easier. Because engine horsepower is not required to turn the machine, fuel consumption is lowered.


The SCL 515 has an operating weight of only 7,400 lb, which is closer to the weight of a skid-steer loader, but the SCL 515 features articulated wheel loader steering so on soft ground it does not tear up the turf and on pavement does not tear up the tires.


The SCL 515 is equipped with a 50-hp, four-cylinder engine. The machine has an operating load of 22,260 lb and a straight tipping load of 5,090 lb.


Another interesting feature of the SCL 515 is that it is equipped to be steered with either a joystick or a steering wheel. A flip of a switch sends the machine in forward or reverse at infinitely variable speeds up to 13 mph.


Muscle loader


The most apparent innovation of the 988G wheel loader, according to Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Ill., is the fabricated box boom. It replaces the traditional steel plate lift arms used on most wheel loaders. The new boom and linkage geometry work together for increased breakout and lift forces, increased dump clearance and improved sight lines to the bucket corners.


The 988G is a larger, more powerful replacement for the 988F II. It handles buckets ranging from 8.2 to 9.2 cu yd.


Other new features of the 988G, which was introduced in October 2000, include the Cat 3456 Electronic Unit Injection engine, which boasts a 475-net-hp engine, 10% higher than before, and a torque rise of 42%, 24% higher than before.


The six-cylinder engine electronically monitors operator demands and sensor inputs to optimize engine performance.


Ideal for roadbuilding


The HL780-3 wheel loader, with an operating weight of 64,590 lb, is ideal for quarry, aggregate and roadbuilding applications, according to Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., Elk Grove Village, Ill. The loader features a high-rigidity, box section frame combined with a reinforced loader linkage to resist loading stress and shock.


The HL780-3 is powered by a 320-hp, six-cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine. An open-center tandem hydraulic circuit system provides pilot-operated control for ease of operation, while low-effort bucket controls are simple and easy to use for precise loading and dumping.


Other features of the HL780-3 include four speeds forward and reverse, a breakout force of 53,370 lb, a straight tipping force of 50,820 lb, a dumping clearance of 11 ft 2 in., an articulation angle of 40û and hydraulically actuated wet-disc brakes.


Four wheeling


The four-wheel-drive 744H loader offers higher horsepower, greater tipping loads, larger bucket sizes and faster ramp/road-climbing speeds, according to its maker, John Deere Industrial Equipment Co., Davenport, Iowa.


The dual-horsepower machine is equipped with a six-cylinder diesel engine that delivers 240 hp in first gear and 260 hp in second through fourth gears. When the engine senses an extra load, the electronically controlled fuel system automatically increases power to compensate without requiring the operator to downshift.


The power shift transmission is controlled by a computer that senses engine power and shifts gears accordingly.


When it’s time for power, the 50,300-lb 744H has a breakout force of 42,150 lb, a straight tipping load of 37,905 lb and a 40û, full-turn tipping load of 31,910 lb. The machine has a 5.25-cu-yd bucket, a dump clearance of 119.8 in. and a reach at maximum height of 50.8 in.


Maneuverability is key


The full articulation of the R420 and R520 loaders from Kubota Tractor Corp., Torrance, Calif., means a small turning radius and exceptional maneuverability in confined spaces.


The Kubota wheel loaders feature low-emission E-TVCS diesel engines rated at 43 hp for the R420 and 49 hp for the R520.


Kubota’s Load Sensing Transmission enables efficient load handling by automatically changing operation from high speed with low torque to low speed with high torque when load conditions vary. Clutchless electric shuttle shifting allows quick, smooth shifting between forward and reverse without the need to brake. A travel speed limiter switch governs speed, which is an important feature when operating in confined areas or over uneven ground.


The loaders have a center shaft oscillation and articulation joint, which allows for 8û of frame oscillation and 40û of articulation.


Compact utility loader/tractor


The 6000 model loader is a compact tractor designed and built from the ground up as a dedicated loader, according to Ingersoll Equipment Co. Inc., Winneconne, Wis. The loader mechanism is an integral part of the tractor. A single lever raises, lowers, dumps, curls and floats the 4.7-cu-ft bucket.


The loader has heavy lift arms and a reinforced bucket for maximum strength. The bucket lift capacity is 750 lb at full height. With the standard hydraulic rear PTO and three-point hitch, the machine can pull a variety of hydraulic attachments, including a brush cutter, a chipper/ shredder, a log splitter, a tiller or a three-point finish mower.


The tractor is powered by an 18-hp engine. The hydraulic drive is provided by a two-speed transaxle, which is controlled with a foot pedal. The machine also has power steering.


Quick-change artist


The Crawler Quick Attach is available in both manual and hydraulic models for quickly changing attachments on crawler loaders. Existing attachments can easily be converted to work with this system, according to the maker, Kenco Inc., Ligonier, Pa.


Some possible attachments that can be used with the Crawler Quick Attach include digging buckets, blades, rakes, forks, grapples, booms, four-in-one buckets and side-dump buckets.


With the hydraulic version, the complete attachment change operation can be conducted from inside the cab.


Skid Steers


Half-million milestone


The 500,000th Bobcat skid-steer loader rolled off the assembly line in February, more than 40 years after two blacksmiths in North Dakota invented the first model of the compact loading equipment for use in turkey barns.


"We are excited at the category’s tremendous growth and acceptance and are proud to play the leading role in the development of the skid-steer loader industry," said Chuck Hoge, president and CEO of Bobcat Co., West Fargo, N.D. Since 1958, Bobcat has manufactured more skid steers than all the other brands combined.


The compact equipment industry has seen double-digit growth rates in recent years. Much of that growth can be attributed to the versatility of skid steers conferred by attachments. Bobcat makes 50 different types of attachments.


The latest Bobcat, introduced Feb. 26, is the 883 G-Series, which provides more lifting power than the Bobcat 873 without an increase in overall machine size. The 883 features a 73-hp engine, a rated operating capacity of 2,750 lb and a height-to-bucket pin of 10 ft 4 in. in a machine that weighs 8,760 lb.


Big kid on the block


Promoted as having the highest lift capacity (3,600 lb), the highest lift height (11 ft 10 in.) and the most power (110 hp) of any skid steer in the industry, the new model 7800 was introduced by Gehl Co., West Bend, Wis., on Feb. 27. The machine features vertical lift linkage for consistent forward reach throughout the lift cycle, 3,300 psi hydraulic system relief pressure and 40 gal/min auxiliary hydraulics.


Also standard is a two-speed drive, which allows travel speeds up to 14 mph. An extended wheel base (54 in.) provides a smoother, more stable ride.


Servo-controlled, low-effort levers deliver precise response for added productivity. A low-profile boom contributes to 360û visibility.


High-flow hydraulics


A high-flow hydraulic system with load-sensing to operate the most demanding attachments is standard on the new model 2105 skid loader introduced recently by Mustang Manufacturing Co. Inc., Owatonna, Minn., a subsidiary of Gehl Co. An adjustable flow valve allows the operator to adjust the amount of hydraulic fluid directed to the attachment.


The hydraulic system produces 40 gal/min auxiliary hydraulic flow to power a wide variety of attachments. The skid-steer loader’s Multi-Tach attachment mounting system is compatible with existing attachment systems in the skid-steer industry. An optional hydraulic attachment release also is available. This attachment release allows the operator to change buckets or attachments without leaving the cab.


The 2105 features a 110-hp, direct-injected Yanmar turbocharged diesel engine and a two-speed transmission that allow travel speeds up to 14 mph. The 2105 skid steer also has a breakout force of 6,550 lb, a lift capacity of 3,600 lb and a lift height of 11 ft 10 in., with a self-leveling vertical lift feature.


One-armed wonder


The new Robot 160 and 170 skid-steer loaders from JCB Inc., Pooler, Ga., have moved their single loader arm to a single, lower tower on the right side of the machine to replace the twin loader towers of earlier models. The result is an unhindered view to the rear and right-hand side of the machine for easier operation and greater onsite safety.


The single-arm design allows convenient access to the cab through a side door. It also results in fewer grease points for quicker, easier maintenance.


Both machines have a 47-hp engine. The Robot 160 has an operating weight of 5,310 lb and an operating capacity of 1,322 lb. The Robot 170 has an operating weight of 5,532 lb and an operating capacity of 1,543 lb. The dump heights of these skid steers are 7 ft 1 in. (160) and 7 ft 6 in. (170).


The Robot skid loaders also feature an optional high-flow hydraulic circuit that provides 30.4 gal/min for improved attachment performance.


Rugged performer


The latest skid steers from Daewoo Heavy Industries America Corp., Suwanee, Ga., combine rugged design, a durable mainframe with heavy-duty boom, reliable components, a wide stance and a low center of gravity for performance and durability, according to the company.


Daewoo’s four XL skid steers (1340XL, 1550XL, 1760XL and 2060XL) sport hydrostatic transmissions and direct injection diesel engines. They offer operating loads from 1,300-2,000 lb and power from 40-62.4 hp.


A rear door allows convenient access to the engine and all routine maintenance components. A universal attachment system and interchangeable service parts between all models increase compatibility and reduce down time.


Self-leveling skid steer


The HSL610 and HSL810 skid loaders from Hyundai Construction Equipment feature an optional self-leveling control system. When raising the loader boom, the bucket positioning valve directs oil from the boom cylinder to the bucket cylinder to maintain the level of the bucket automatically.


The HSL610 has a weight of 5,250 lb, with a 40.3-hp engine, a rated operating capacity of 1,350 lb, a dump height of 7 ft 3 in., a bucket capacity of 8.8 cu ft and a maximum speed of 6.5 mph. The HSL 810 has a weight of 7,230 lb, with a 68.5-hp engine, a rated operating capacity of 1,790 lb, a dump height of 8 ft 4 in., a bucket capacity of 9.5 cu ft and a maximum speed of 7.3 mph.


Gauges and monitors are mounted at the operator’s eye level. Service technicians can get to the hydraulic and hydrostatic components quickly by simply removing two nuts and lifting the cab back.


The HSL610 and HSL810 also feature a quick attachment system for easy changing among the variety of available attachments.


Vertical lifting skid


The loader arm linkage on the 262 skid steer from Caterpillar keeps the load close to the machine when the arms are near the ground, but maintains a constant reach of 32.5 in. while lifting to a maximum height of 10 ft 8 in. The vertical lift and height characteristics offer easy reach over higher truck sideboards, and a bucket dump angle of 50û permits excellent clear-out yet allows material to be deposited in the center of the bed, according to the company. The loader linkage, angled front steps and the ROPS/FOPS cab have been designed to optimize visibility to the work tools.


The 262 skid steer has a rated capacity of 2,500 lb, a breakout force of 5,020 lb, a 74-hp engine and a weight of 7,655 lb. A long wheel base of 48.3 in. makes the 262 ideal for grading, according to the company, and provides the operator with a comfortable ride.


Low-effort pilot-operated hydraulic controls provide easy operation. The left joystick controls the hydraulic loader functions (lift, lower and tilt). Switches on the right joystick activate hydro-mechanical work tools.


Built for toughness


Skid steers from Thomas Equipment Ltd., Centreville, New Brunswick, Canada, have a host of characteristics designed for toughness. Thomas boasts that the steel plating on its skid steers is up to 50% thicker than the steel on competitive machines. Thomas’ boom hinge pins are 1 1/2 in. thick, whereas some competitors use 1 1/4-in. pins. Thomas uses high-tensile rectangular steel tubing for its boom arms. The 153 model skid steer, for example, has boom arms that are 5/16 in. thick. In the chain drive, the 153 uses 100-roller chain with a minimum tensile strength of 19,530 lb.


The 153 also has dual bucket cylinders for increased front-end strength. The machine uses a four-cylinder, 46-hp engine that generates 4,150 lb of breakout force and 1,500 lb of lifting capacity. The 153 has an operating weight of 5,520 lb, a travel speed of 6 mph, a dump height of 7 ft 6 in. with a dumping angle of 35û and a reach when fully raised of almost 2 ft.


A variety of attachments can be mounted easily and quickly with the 153’s universal quick attachment system. The 153 also offers a choice of controls, either hand and foot or optional hand controls.


Adventures of Super Boom


The LS160 skid-steer loader incorporates the Super Boom lift linkage of New Holland Construction. The Super Boom design provides a vertical lift path, which keeps the load in view at all times and provides superior forward reach at maximum lift height. There are no rear towers to block an operator’s view to the rear.


Other New Holland design components found in the LS160 are a long wheel base and a low center of gravity for a stable, smooth ride. The LS160 has an operating weight of 5,534 lb, a 40-hp engine, a maximum ground speed of 7.5 mph, a breakout force of 2,828 lb, a lift capacity of 1,790 lb, an operating load of 1,500 lb, a dump height of 7 ft 6 in. and a dump reach of 2 ft 4 in.


Hydrostatic transmission pumps on the LS160 offer lower control efforts for less operator fatigue and reduced noise. An electronic instrument cluster offers an automatic shutdown system under certain conditions as standard equipment.


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