For speedy and economical execution of loading duties, proper choice of equipment is of primary importance. When selecting the most efficient wheel loader for the job at hand, the key is to meet the desired production targets with the lowest cost of operations. NBM Media reports.
Buyers today are making an informed decision before making a purchase; they are obtaining site performance data of the machine, and its various operating parameters like cycle times, payloads, fuel burn, production per hour idling time, etc. According to wheel loader manufacturers, customers are becoming acquainted with the all-round abilities of the compact wheel loaders, especially when configured with hydro-mechanical tools. There is also an emerging requirement for ‘designed-for-segment’ machines that offer tailored services, and a shift towards higher capacity loaders. While in 2018, smaller capacity wheel loaders in the 3-ton range were popular, in recent times, it’s the 4 and 5 ton categories that are becoming increasingly popular in India.

JCB - 430ZX Plus

In view of the current trends, JCB has developed its “Intelli Series” digital technology, and integrated it into its machines. The technology gives critical inputs on all loading parameters. Based on this information, the running costs and productivity can be calculated for improved performance and rationalized usage of the machines. It helps in ascertaining the productivity of the machine and in turn the site.

Jasmeet Singh, Associate Vice President, Corporate Communications and Corporate Relations, JCB India
Says Jasmeet Singh, Associate Vice President, Corporate Communications and Corporate Relations, JCB India, “Based on the data generated the buyer can analyse for the optimized usage of his/her wheel loaders and rationalize future purchases by making informed decisions by buying new machines that actually fit in the application profile. The data processing due to the “Intelli Series” is quite simple and easy to understand. The real time data can be logged in and calculated to study the machines’ operation cycle, fuel consumption patterns, instances of over/under loading etc. While our ‘Live Link’ intelligent solutions provide information on operating parameters like fuel consumption, fuel pilferage, whether the machine is in an operating or static condition, and has geo fencing capability, the ‘Intelli Series’ provides a more holistic real time data for the loaders.”

He adds, “While newer intelligent systems are leading to higher usage of machines, improvisations are being undertaken to enhance their efficiency levels.

Tata Hitachi - ZW550 KL EN030

Hemant Mathur – Assistant Vice President (Sales and Marketing), Tata Hitachi
Elaborating on the advancements being made in the Tata Hitachi wheel loaders to improve their performance and fuel efficiencies in loading/unloading and carrying applications, Hemant Mathur – Assistant Vice President (Sales and Marketing), Tata Hitachi, says,” The Tata 340H wheel loader is a unique machine in many ways; it has been developed to run without a mechanical transmission, which prevents losses, and also makes the machine faster and more powerful at a significantly low fuel consumption, making it more productive. We also offer a variety of buckets based on application and customer requirement. The strong lift arms and linkage yield high production during digging, loading and hauling. Big bucket breakout force and optimum bucket rollback ensures high production and good load retention. Buckets are designed and shaped for efficient scooping-up and loading. Bolt-on cutting edges are easy to replace. The bucket leveler and boom kick-out feature further aid in improving production.

He informs that Tata Hitachi offers the most differentiated offering in its 3Ton payload: the TL340H wheel loader. Almost all players offer a traditional hydrodynamic wheel loader, which means it uses transmission to transfer power from engine to axles. Tata Hitachi incorporates the unique Hydrostatic technology, which is common in its excavators for TL340H. In the Hydrostatic drive technology, power is transferred from the engine to the axle via hydraulic motors. The most striking advantage of this technology is increased efficiency, which directly translates to higher fuel efficiency.

Apart from its Hydrostatic technology, TL340H is equipped with a variable displacement pump to further its fuel savings advantage. For the 5ton and above payload segment, Tata Hitachi offers imported HCM loaders which cater to mining and heavy-duty cycle applications. ZW220 is the 5ton payload in this segment. For the greater than 5ton payload segment, Tata Hitachi offers two models: ZW370 and ZW550. Tata Hitachi also has an entire range of mining wheel loaders imported from Hitachi, Japan.

“We have also worked on the ergonomics for ease of operation by the operator. Wheel loaders have an average working condition of 6-8 hours per day. High utilization machines clock close to 16-20 hours per day. Therefore, a comfortable cabin has become a necessity for the operator because of the long working hours and site conditions. The AC cabin, though an optional feature offered by most manufacturers, is requested by customers. TL340H cabins are FOPS level1 compliant and the front grille – which is a standard fitment - provides ample safety protection for operators and helps them concentrate on the job at hand,” informs Mathur.

Schwing Stetter India’s XCMG wheel loaders used in general construction, quarries, mining and ports etc., give over 10% fuel efficiency with their advanced high pressure, common rail engine with ECU, even in extreme working conditions. A super heavy load frame structure ensures safety in risky terrains. Owners can save over 20% maintenance cost by upgrading the engine’s fuel filter system. With strong power and a high torque, the engine can provide the power required for heavy-load operation. Finite element analysis design (FEA) ensures optimization of the bucket shape and achieve a lightweight design such that the wheel loader can achieve 30% overload. Attention to operator comfort in the cab design ensures higher productivity.

Schwing Stetter - XCMG ZL50GV

V.G Sakthikumar, MD, Schwing Stetter India
Elaborating on the loaders’ features and efficiency, V.G Sakthikumar, MD, Schwing Stetter India, says, “Lower cost of operations and higher productivity is driven by the advanced hydraulics and transmission systems of the XCMG wheel loaders. The loaders’ driveline adopts XCMG’s patented technology heavy-duty energy-conservation transmission and torque converter assembly. The enhanced design and use of imported carrying parts improve the overload capacity of transmission. The drive shaft flanges are of DIN and SAE specifications. The distribution diameter of the fastening bolts is enlarged to realize super-strong torsion resistance and adapt to high strength and heavy-load continuous operations. The first-class distributor valve and flow amplifying valve (steering priority and double-pump confluence) guarantees low pressure loss, less system heat, and reliability of parts. The hydraulic pump supplies stronger hydraulic power, and the hydraulic hoses have high heat, pressure resistance and long life. The hydraulic pipelines adopt double sealing in the DIN standard of 24º taper thread + O - ring to achieve better sealing performance and effectively solve the leakage problem.”

Schwing Stetter’s brand-new V series XCMG wheel loaders launched at BC India 2018 has an optimally designed cab with 360-degree panoramic glass design for greater safety during operations; an interconnected design that binds the operating handle to the operator seat to reduce fatigue, and a steering column with hydraulic operating system to reduce the number of turns and improve steering efficiency. The sealed structure of the cab reduces indoor noise by 30%, while the indoor micro-pressurization design prevents dust from entering the cabin.

Liugong Wheel Loader

Nischal Mehrotra,  Director Sales, Liugong India
According to Nischal Mehrotra, Director Sales, Liugong India, “There is an emerging trend of using bigger sized crushing plants of 200 tph and above. This is due to the demand for higher volumes of processed minerals for the bigger stretches of road and railway projects. The plants typically work between 16-18 hours, so wheel loaders must be indexed to the plant configuration and to their throughput deliverables. In view of this trend, we have been pitching our new generation 856-H wheel loader of 5-ton capacity, which is being manufactured at our Pithampur plant with close to 70 percent localization. It is fitted with ZF transmission or our Liugong Quantum series of engines, which are manufactured in collaboration with Cummins.”

The 856-H series features a unique variable horsepower mode where the engine delivers power to the loaders based on the volume of loads to be handled or hauled. The 856-H comes with a diesel electric configuration and has a higher productivity differential than that of the 3-ton class of wheel loaders. The Quantum engines have been engineered to meet the higher load carrying requirements of the high capacity loaders. Liugong’s new 5-ton class wheel loader, which the company plans to promote in a major way, has been developed to deliver the right amount of power based on the engine horsepower ratings. Besides its higher performance ability, it is more fuel efficient by 5 to 6 liters.

In India more then 60% batch mix plants are less than 100 Cbm/hr. Liugong is aggressively promoting its 2-ton class wheel loader with its one Cbm bucket. Says Mehrotra, "The 2-ton loader fits better with the 100 Cbm or less per hour batch mix plants than the 3-ton loader or backhoe. It also saves around 4 liters of fuel as compared to the 3-ton, and gives faster returns on your initial investment. The versatile machine can be fitted with various attachments and is being used extensively in paper, plywood, cotton and pharma industries. The 2 and 3-ton are also being used for handling crushed granular sub-base materials through the track machines engaged in construction sites."

Bringing more value to its wheel loaders, Liugong is offering buckets of different capacities, block handlers for granite and marble quarries, besides advanced ROPS and FOPS, and air-conditioned cabins. Adds Mehrotra, “Along with our advanced products, we remain a highly service driven company as we ensure timely supply of genuine parts and maintenance to minimize downtimes.”

Volvo CE India is offering nine variants of wheel loaders in India. The smallest machine is the L90F, which has a static tipping load of 9,140 kg; while the largest machine is the L350H, with a static tipping load of 34,780 kg. Powered by the Volvo engine, the machines deliver high torque at low rpm and fuel efficiency. The electro-hydraulic transmission with smooth-shifting Automatic Power Shift enables high maneuverability and faster cycle times. A 100% differential lock on the front axle gives the wheel loaders high traction. The OptiShift feature in the loaders eliminates power losses in the torque converter and reduces fuel consumption by almost 18%. Combined with Volvo’s patented Reverse by Braking (RBB) technology, OptiShift boosts productivity and efficiency.

Volvo CE - WLO L350H T4f

Dimitrov Krishnan, Vice President & Head, Volvo CE India
Says Dimitrov Krishnan, Vice President & Head, Volvo CE India, “RBB is ideal for short-cycle or truck-loading applications. It senses the loader’s direction and slows the machine by applying the service brakes automatically thereby increasing fuel efficiency, improving operator comfort and increasing machine lifetime. Added feature for rationalization of power utilization is the load-sensing hydraulics, matched to the fuel-efficient engine. Volvo Contronic Monitoring System enables closer monitoring of operations and performance of our machines.”

Safety features in the wheel loaders include ROPS (Roll Over Protection System) and FOPS (Falling Object Protective Structure). The trademark Volvo Care Cab with spacious interiors, comfortable seating, and large storage compartments also has safety built into its design, with excellent visibility through large rear-view mirrors; grab handles and anti-slip steps; a two-way exit with easy opening from the inside, restricted machine speed if the operator door is open, front pillar-mounted switches, in-cab adjustable return-to-dig, boom kick-out, and bucket position detents. Clean air is delivered via a patented two-stage air-cleaning system that re circulates 90% of the air, with only 10% coming from the outside. The consistent temperature is maintained by the automatic climate control system, contributing to lower operator fatigue and greater productivity.

SDLG - L933 i

Surat Mehta, Head-SDLG India
SDLG has positioned its wheel loaders for application in material handling jobs across sectors. According to Surat Mehta, Head-SDLG India, “The larger capacity SDLG L958F is popular with customers looking for machines to load materials at coal mines or transport aggregates at crushing plants. But in 2017, one in three of the wheel loaders that we sold was the 3-ton L933, which is ideal for low-duty applications. Its front and rear frames have undergone 100,000-cycle stress tests; it has a fully hydraulic, load-sensing steering system for easy operation and accurate steering; a maximum dumping height of 2,950 mm; a dumping distance of 1,050 mm; and an operating weight of 10,150 kg.

The company had launched the L936 and L946 at Excon 2017. Powered by a BS III Weichai Deutz engine, the L936 features a fully hydraulic, load-sensing steering system. The 4-ton L946 is also fitted with a BS III Weichai Deutz engine, and according to the company, has the best dumping height and fuel efficiency, and the lowest cost per ton in its class in India.

Driving Loading Efficiencies
While manufacturers have been carrying out advancements for higher machine availability and fuel efficiency, they have not discounted the fact that, being premium machines, the wheel loaders need to closely match the application in order to achieve the required production target, else the loader may not be able to get the job done at all, consequently destroying the unit or reducing the lifetime of the wheel loader.

According to Surat Mehta, SDLG has the right bucket for the right application such as, heavy-duty buckets for mines, general purpose buckets for aggregates, light material buckets for low density cargo, and attachments like wood grappler, log forks, side dump buckets (for tunnelling jobs) and pallet forks.

Schwing Stetter India sells and services XCMG LW300FV 3 - ton loader with general purpose (GP) 2.1 m3 and 3.0 m3 light material bucket. The XCMG ZL50GV 5 - ton loader has a general purpose (GP) 3.5 m3, 5.0 m3 light material bucket and 2.7 m3 rock bucket. For big loaders of 7-14 tons, the options are 4.5 m3 -14 m3 buckets.

Volvo CE India is offering bucket capacities of 2.2 m3 to 12.7 m3, along with attachment brackets, loader buckets, forks, material handling arms, grapples, and log pushers.

Intelligent Systems
Volvo CE’s Care Track telematics in its wheel loaders gives owners access to machine monitoring information that helps save time and money. The system generates reports on fuel consumption, operational hours, geographical location and more. These reports are available via a web portal or can be received via SMS or email alerts. CareTrack can also be used to manage machine servicing and wear parts such that fleet managers can reduce fuel costs, optimize machine and operator performance, maximize uptime through timely maintenance.

CareTrack is offered as a specialized package, designed to enhance customers’ business. The package includes CareTrack standard Access machine hours, location and service plans and wear parts via the web portal. Tracking and status notifications tells owners and operators when a machine goes outside the pre-set location and time boundaries. A status report supplies fuel level, machine location and machine hours. Operation reports highlight how each machine is used if operators are working efficiently. Production on board weighing technology shows a machine's true productivity. This includes information on load efficiency and number of cycles, all of which help in reducing fuel consumption and improving the life of the components.

Schwing Stetter India’s XCMG wheel loaders have remote operating and control system through GPS which help customers to understand the machine, including its attendance rate, total weight loaded of loader in regular time, actual working hours, reminders of mandatory maintenance, downtime, oil consumption and so on. It makes it easier for users to fully control and get a comprehensive analysis of the machine operating conditions. “This also helps in achieving maximum benefits with timely adjustment of strategies such as purchase budget of new equipment, fuel procurement, spare parts reservation, line with the demand,” says Sakthikumar.

At Tata Hitachi, to provide customers a real-time status of the machine, its TL340H loader is equipped with Insite - a telematics solution that tracks machine utilization. This remote monitoring facility gives up-to-date information to customers about their machines.

Demand Projection
The demand for wheel loaders mainly comes from the mining and infrastructure sectors, however, in recent years, demand has been more from the latter, given the government’s push and investments in roads, real estate, metro construction, railways, handling of solid waste, and material handling at ports, etc. In the mining space, demand normally comes from coal and iron ore.

Says Mathur at Tata Hitachi, “We feel that the growth in demand for the small wheel loaders will be tepid in the near term - affected by disruption in demand by the elections, delayed government spends, and upcoming regulatory changes – all of which will all have a significant impact on the demand and price of the machines. A lot, however, depends on how the government drives the infrastructure projects and liquidity thereon from this stage onwards.”

Timelines for construction is shrinking, leading to implementation of modern higher capacity crushers and batching plants that need higher volume of material being handled, and in turn, leading to the use of wheel loaders. Further, given the environmental issues with natural sand, the market for M-sand is increasing and this will also lead to increased demand for wheel loaders at crusher sites.
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