Beyond Tier 4

Sept. 11, 2012

EPA’s Tier 4 Interim regulations for exhaust emissions took effect last January, so construction equipment manufacturers have been busy introducing models of dozers and loaders that meet the new rules. And they have seized the opportunity to upgrade these machines beyond just the engine compartment. New loaders abound, from a wide range of manufacturers, so enjoy your choices. It’s a good time to shop for a new loader or dozer.

Just last March, John Deere said it is adding four models to the K-Series crawler dozer line: the 550K, 650K, 700K, and 750K crawler dozers, which build off the popular and successful 850K that launched in 2011.

“Our customers wanted an Tier 4 Interim engine, a quieter and more comfortable cab and the operating ease and maneuverability they have come to expect from John Deere,” says Jon Gilbeck, global product marketing manager for crawler dozers, John Deere Construction & Forestry. “With the success of the 850K, we only thought it was logical to expand the K-Series’ offerings.”

A John Deere PowerTech 6.8-liter (700K, 750K) or 4.5-liter (550K, 650K) Interim Tier 4 diesel engine provides an increase in horsepower from the previous J-Series, along with increases in overall tractor weight, resulting in more productive machines. The horsepower ranges include 85 horsepower (550K), 101 horsepower (650K), 125 horsepower (700K), and 155-165 horsepower (750K) at 1,800 RPM.

The K-Series uses cooled EGR technology with exhaust filters to slash exhaust emissions. That is Deere’s proven and fully integrated solution to meet 2012 EPA emissions regulations. The engine’s diesel particulate filters are cleaned automatically during routine operation, eliminating the need to idle down for maintenance and increasing overall machine productivity. In addition, filter access is easy, should it need servicing.

The John Deere IT4 engine also offers operation on slopes up to 45 degrees while maintaining adequate oil flow to machine systems. A hydraulically driven cool-on-demand fan operates only as needed, decreases cab and bystander noise levels, and cuts fuel consumption. A reversing feature is standard for the 750K and optional for the 550K, 650K, and 700K to blow out debris.

The four new crawler models come equipped with hydrostatic transmissions, a feature John Deere pioneered in crawler dozers in North America in 1976. These transmissions provide customers with infinite speed control, power management, live power turns, counter rotation while staying in gear, and dynamic braking. In addition, Total Machine Control allows customized machine response that can be tailored to meet the needs of individual operators.

Large Wheel-Loader
At World of Concrete in January, John Deere introduced the 844K Series II wheel loader. Improvements to the 7-yard-class loader center on new axles, improved stability and a 6% boost to full-turn tip-load capacity, Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) certification, and low-profile tires.

The 844K II is a Tier 3/Stage 2 emission-certified machine with a 13.5-liter, 380-horsepower John Deere PowerTech diesel engine. An Interim Tier 4/EU Stage IIIB engine was slated to be available in May 2012.

“Our Customer Advisory Group directly influenced the updates and modifications to the 844K Series II,” says John Chesterman, product-marketing manager for wheel loaders, John Deere Construction & Forestry. The most significant customer-driven improvements are found in the 844K Series II axles. These new higher-capacity axles feature standard temperature monitoring and automatic cooling and filtration. In addition, the 844K II employs Hy-Gard oil that allows change intervals to extend to 2,000 hours.

In March last year, John Deere introduced the new 755K crawler-loader. The new loader has a new Interim Tier 4-certified diesel engine to help contractors get work done with less noise and fewer emissions. Capitalizing on the loader design, track systems, and comfortable cabs engineered for its dozers and K-Series loaders, Deere says the 190-horsepower 755K is quiet, comfortable and easy to operate. Dozens of customers worked closely with Deere product development on the 755K.

“The 755K incorporates several enhancements that not only increase productivity, but respond to individual operator preferences, such as the V-pattern or joystick transmission control option,” says Dan Drescher, crawler product marketing manager for John Deere Construction & Forestry. “There’s also a rear ripper design, a viscous-mounted cab for noise suppression, and increased serviceability to make daily maintenance easier.”

The 755K crawler-loader has powertrain and track system technology designed for Deere’s new 850K crawler dozer. Together with an IT4-certified engine, the crawler loader reaches performance targets for hydraulic power, lift capacity, drawbar pull, and engine power boost. “The 755K also has a higher maximum hinge pin clearance than the competition, more dump clearance and more static tipping load capacity,” said Drescher.

New From Caterpillar
New Cat K Series small wheel loaders-924K, 930K, and 938K-are completely redesigned, incorporating new engines that meet Stage IIIB/Tier 4 Interim emissions standards. Among the new features are an efficient electronically controlled hydrostatic drive system, new Z-bar loader linkage, refined operator’s station and a choice of couplers and buckets for best matching the machine to the application. Predecessor models-924H, 924Hz, 928Hz, 930H, 938H, and IT938H-will be available in markets having lesser fuel quality and less-stringent emissions standards.

Photos: Cat

The Cat C6.6 ACERT engine powers the three new K-Series wheel loaders and works efficiently with the machines to deliver fuel savings

up to 30%, compared with H-Series models. Emissions-control technology includes a diesel particulate filter that automatically regenerates (burns away collected particulates) without interrupting normal operation. The C6.6 ACERT rated speed setting of 1,800 rpm, compared with 2,415 rpm for the H-Series, contributes significantly to reduced fuel consumption, lowered sound levels, and reduced wear. An engine-idle shutdown system further reduces fuel consumption.

K-Series models are equipped with a stepless, four-range, hydrostatic drive system that allows independent control of ground speed and engine speed for efficient operation of hydraulically powered work tools. A new creeper control feature further improves low speed operations by allowing the operator to adjusted maximum ground speed down to 1 mph. An operator-controlled rimpull-control system helps reduce wheel spin and consequent tire wear, and a front differential lock enhances traction.

Caterpillar says its new 980K wheel-loader offers excellent fuel efficiency and an engine certified to meet Tier 4 Interim and Stage IIIB emissions standards in North America and Europe. Major improvements include a new cab, load-sensing hydraulics, a 25% increase in lift force and a 16% increase in tilt force over the 980H. The loader also features new electro-hydraulic steering with either joystick or steering wheel control, plus Performance Series Buckets and an optional lock-up torque converter.

The 980K is equipped with the new Cat C13 ACERT engine with peak net power of 369 horsepower (275 kilowatts) at 1,500 rpm. The loader accommodates buckets from 5.25 to 16 cubic yards (4 to 12.20 cubic meters) and is a productive and cost-effective tool in quarry, aggregates, construction, and other high-volume applications.

Cat says operators will work comfortably and productively in the 980K. New steps that have a greater inclination angle than the H Series provide easy access to the cab. A wider door opening, well-placed grab bars and a new front-hinged door that can be opened and closed while seated allow for easy entry and exit. Left and right sliding windows can be opened and closed with one hand while seated, making it easier to communicate with people on the ground.

In March last year, Caterpillar announced two new wheel loaders, the 950K and 962K feature engines certified as meeting US EPA Tier 4 Interim and EU Stage IIIB emissions standards. Each loader features many improvements including a new operator station, optimized Z-bar linkage, Performance Series Buckets and high-efficiency drive train.

The 950K and 962K share the new Cat C7.1 ACERT engine. At 1,900 rpm, the engine provides peak net power of 211 horsepower (157 kilowatts) in the 950K and 221 horsepower (165 kilowatts) in the 962K. The loaders use buckets ranging in size from 3.25 to 12.00 cubic yards (2.50 to 9.20 cubic meters). Both machines can be equipped with a Cat Fusion coupler and a variety of work tools, making them ideal for construction, aggregates, forestry, industrial, and other material-handling applications. The new K Series loaders replace their H Series predecessors.

New From Volvo
Volvo recently introduced the L60G, L70G, and L90G in the 13- to 17-ton class rankings. With Volvo’s patented Torque Parallel linkage, the loader arms remain perfectly parallel throughout the lifting range, which ensures excellent load stability, the company says. These new machines meet the requirements of the Tier 4 Interim emissions legislation that came into force on January 1, 2012. The L60G, L70G, and L90G are all fitted with a Volvo 6-liter, 6-cylinder turbocharged V-ACT (Volvo Advanced Combustion Technology) off-highway diesel engine, which features cooled gas recirculation and a particulate filter with active regeneration. The diesel particulate filter (DPF) temporarily holds the particulate matter and then incinerates it, further reducing emissions. Producing between 161 and 173 horsepower, depending on the model, these three units provide high torque at low engine speeds.

The L60G, L70G, and L90G all enjoy the modern stylistic overhaul of the rest of the G-Series range. This includes a new electrically operated sloping engine hood design that improves rear visibility and, when opened, provides wide access to the engine compartment, making servicing and repairs easier.

The L90G wheel loader features a 23% increase in lifting force and 19% improvement in breakout force, compared to the previous model in that size. The improvement ensures smooth operation and full buckets-resulting in faster cycle times and increased productivity.

Load-sensing hydraulics deliver power to hydraulic functions only when needed, eliminating unnecessary oil pumping. Fitted with high capacity axial piston pumps with variable flow, the working hydraulic pressure has been increased from 3,771 to 4,496 psi. These improvements provide superior control of the attachments and loading, as well as higher breakout forces and faster lift and tilt functions.

Transmissions feature the exceptional Volvo Automatic Power Shift (APS) concept, which ensures the loader always operates in the ideal gear by sensing engine and travel speed, kick-down, engine braking, and other factors. Offering operators a choice of four gear-shifting programs, APS results in more efficient work cycles with lower fuel consumption and wear.

New From CASE
Last January Case Construction Equipment introduced the new 621F wheel loader model, which features a 6.7-liter Tier 4 Interim-certified engine that delivers up to 162 horsepower. Classified as a 2.75-cubic-yard loader, the Case 621F has an operating weight of 26,641 pounds.

Case says the new loader provides up to a 10% increase in fuel economy over the previous model, while delivering faster acceleration, quicker cycle times and higher travel speeds. Case F-Series loaders use selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to meet emission standards, which results in lower temperatures in the exhaust system while optimizing combustion.

“Like other F-Series models, the 621F offers four programmable power modes to save fuel and increase available power,” says Tim O’Brien, brand marketing manager, Case Construction Equipment. “These easy-to-program power modes-Economy, Standard, Max, and Auto-give operators flexibility in matching engine power to their tasks at hand.”

A new dual-mode shutdown feature maximizes fuel economy and monitors vital engine components. Using the fuel-saver mode, the operator can limit the time the machine will idle. The desired shutdown time can be set in five-minute increments. “The automatic shutdown feature can provide up to another 30% in fuel savings,” O’Brien said.

The new Case wheel loaders include standard limited-slip front and rear axles that provide outstanding traction in all conditions, especially in non-compacted surfaces such as gravel. Optional heavy-duty axles with locking front and conventional rear differentials help reduce tire wear when working on hard surfaces. The standard four-speed transmission with manual kick-down capability provides maximum traction and increased bucket penetration.

In March 2011 Case Construction Equipment expanded its new F-Series line into a new size class with the 1021F and the 1121F models. These machines are designed for quarry, aggregate and truck-loading applications. The 1021F features a 296-horsepower engine, a 5.5-yard bucket, a dump height of 121 inches and an operating weight of 53,500 pounds. The 1121F is rated at 320 horsepower, has a 6.25-yard bucket, a dump height of 126 inches and an operating weight of 60,800 pounds.

Case’s F-Series improvements include joystick steering, selectable power modes and a rear-view camera. Case is also introducing an all-new hydro-mechanical transmission package. “That will provide additional fuel savings, faster acceleration and faster hydraulic cycle times,” said O’Brien.

Case says the new hydro-mechanical transmission offers all of the advantages of hydrostatic drive, along with the durability and features of a conventional mechanical transmission. The new transmission intelligently adjusts the mix of power deliver depending on travel speed. The hydrostatic pumps and motors work at lower speed for quick response, smoothness and efficiency. At higher speeds, power transmission is mixed with mechanical gears. At the highest speed, the mechanical portion of the transmission does most of the work in direct-drive mode.

Komatsu’s New Dozers
At CONEXPO-CON/AGG last year, Komatsu America introduced its new line of D65-17 crawler dozers. The new crawler dozers are powered by the 8.9-liter, EPA-Tier 4 Interim-certified Komatsu engines. The company says the new engines lower fuel consumption by 5% over the Tier 3 engines they replace.

A standard track, low ground pressure track and wide track model are available to offer customers the weight distribution and flotation options that best suit their applications. Operating weights range from 44,355 pounds to 49,315 pounds depending on the version. The new models push with a net 205 horsepower at 1,950 rpms. And the D65-17 models have an automatic transmission with torque converter lockup.

Komatsu’s Tier 4 Interim engine platform uses an advanced electronic control system to manager airflow rate, fuel injection, combustion parameters, and after-treatment functions to optimize performance, reduce emissions, and provide advanced diagnostic capability. Komatsu has also developed a hydraulically actuated variable-geometry turbocharger and an exhaust gas recirculation valve, which result in better precision and air management as well as longer component life. The Komatsu Diesel Particulate Filter has an integrated design that will not interfere with daily operation but will keep the operator aware of its status.

Komatsu offers the choice of a Sigmadozer blade for excellent productivity and grading, or a Power-Angle-Tilt blade for maximum versatility and performance. Sigmadozer has a large blade capacity of 7.34 cubic yards on the D65EX and 7.72 yards on the D65WX. Komatsu says Sigmadozer is based on a completely new excavation theory and improves dozing productivity by 15% over conventional semi-U blades. The blade reduces sideways spillage because it digs and rolls material up at the center of the blade.

Komatsu also introduced its new D155AX-7 crawler dozer at CONEXPO last year. The new machine is powered by a 354-horsepower Komatsu engine that is certified to meet EPA’s Tier 4 interim and Europe’s Stage 3B standards. An automatic transmission is matched with the new engine to achieve exceptional productivity, yet attain good fuel economy.

As do most Komatsu machines, the new dozer comes fitted with the latest Komtrax technology, which sends machine operating information to a secure website using wireless technology. Hour meter, location, cautions, and maintenance alerts, to name just a few features, are relayed to the web application for analysis.

New Komatsu Loaders
Just this past April, Komatsu introduced the 353-horsepower WA500-7 wheel loader. The engine is Tier 4 Interim and Stage 3B certified in Europe. The WA500-7 has an operating weight of 76,611 pounds when equipped with a 7.3-cubic-yard general purpose bucket. Top speed is 22.1 mph. The new loader comes equipped with Komtrax, which is Komatsu’s telematics system that sends machine operating information to a secure website using wireless technology.

The WA500-7 features Komatsu’s Smart Loader Logic, which provides optimal engine torque when the job requires. The feature can save fuel by adjusting engine torque to match the machine application, such as when traveling with an empty bucket. For that, high engine torque is not required. Komatsu Smart Loader Logic functions automatically and does not interfere with operations.

The WA500-7 has a Komatsu Large Capacity Torque Converter with Lock-Up as a standard feature. This provides improved acceleration, improved hill climb ability, a higher top-end speed and lower fuel consumption. The Lock-Up function activates in second, third, and fourth gears and gives the machine a maximum ground speed of 23.2 mph.

At CONEXPO last year, Komatsu America introduced the WA380-7, which features a 191- horsepower engine that is Tier 4 Interim and Stage 3B certified for emissions control. Komatsu says the new engine increases power while reducing fuel consumption by about 10%, compared with the comparable Dash 6 model. The new loader comes equipped with Komtrax, which is Komatsu’s telematics system, explained above.

The WA380-7 also features Komatsu SmartLoader Logic and Large Capacity Torque Converter with Lock-Up. Smart Loader Logic helps to save fuel by reducing engine torque when the loader is not working hard, such as when it’s carrying an empty bucket. The torque converter with lock-up provides improved acceleration, better hill-climbing ability, a higher top speed and lower fuel consumption. The lock-up function activates in second, third, and fourth gears.

A new operator’s cab provides a comfortable and quiet work environment, which helps the operator maximize productivity. The front glass has been lowered and the dashboard has been redesigned to improve visibility. Electronic Pilot Control levers and a forward-neutral-reverse switch are part of a redesigned seat-mounted right-hand console. A new high-resolution LCD monitor features enhanced capabilities and can display information in 25 languages for global support. Using the monitor, an operator can easily modify settings for items such as the Auto Idle Shutdown or the auto-reversing fan.

Doosan’s Quarry Loader
The 335-horsepower Doosan DL500 wheel loader features bucket sizes ranging from 5.9 to 6.8 cubic yards. The machine is designed for larger material handling operations such as quarries, mines, demolition, and industrial operations.

A robust Z-bar lifting system provides a bucket breakout force of 61,373 pounds. Depending on the application, the operator can choose between two working modes, Standard or Economy, to maximize production or minimize fuel consumption. Standard limited slip differentials on both the front and rear axles allow the DL500 to deliver excellent bucket penetration into hard materials.

Like all Doosan wheel loaders, the DL500 features a full powershift transmission with Manual and Automatic modes for smooth shifting. Four forward speed ranges provide maximum speeds of 3.9, 7.1, 11.2 and 21.7 miles per hour. Three reverse-speed ranges go up to 15.2 mph.

To reduce fuel consumption and lower noise levels, the DL500 features a hydraulically driven, variable-speed cooling fan with electronic thermostat that constantly monitors engine coolant and transmission oil temperatures. The fan direction can be reversed from the operator’s cabin to quickly clean out the radiator in dusty environments, and the fan itself swings out to easily clean the entire cooler group.

The 217-horsepower Doosan DL300 delivers low-end performance and strong torque rise required to dig and carry heavy loads. At the same time, an electronically controlled, high-pressure common-rail direct fuel injection system helps keep emissions and fuel consumption low, Doosan says. The machine features standard limited slip differentials on both the front and rear axles.

With available bucket sizes ranging from 3.5 to 4.6 cubic yards, the DL300 can take on a wide range of material handling tasks, from loading aggregates to industrial and agricultural operations. The Z-bar lifting system provides a standard bucket breakout force of 36,419 pounds, which is among the highest in this size class. Depending on the application, the operator can choose between two working modes-standard or economy-to maximize production or minimize fuel usage.

Terex, Kawasaki, Leibherr, and JCB
Terex markets a range of four heavy/industrial wheel loaders that start with the TL 160, which is a 101-horsepower machine, at the low end. The mid-range models are the TL 210 and the TL 260, which boast engines rated at 162 horsepower and 174 horsepower, respectively. The largest model is the TL 310, which has 203 horsepower. Bucket capacities range from 2.0 cubic yards on the TL 160 to 8.5 cubic yards on the TL 310. Terex says the wheel loaders “combine compact dimensions with impressive productivity.”

Kawasaki offers the 92ZV-2 wheel loader, which the company says was designed as a new machine from the ground up. That means the loader has a new chassis, new transmission, and new hydraulic systems-not stretched versions of the next smaller model. In 2008, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Hitachi Construction Machinery and TCM Corp. announced that the three companies reached an agreement to form an alliance focused on their wheel loader business. The new corporation consists of Kawasaki’s wheel loader operation, of which Hitachi obtained a 34% stake.

Liebherr offers a range of nine models of wheel loaders featuring tipping loads that go from 16,000 pounds to 45,000 pounds. Engine ratings range from 115 horsepower on the L 524 to 335 horsepower on the L 586. All models are fitted with the innovative hydrostatic Liebherr travel drive. Liebherr says the machines consume up to 25% less fuel than comparable machines from other manufacturers under the same operating conditions.

JCB, which stands for Joseph Cyril Bamford, company founder, markets a range of 10 wheel loaders that range up to 206 horsepower and an operating weight of 47,036 pounds. Bucket capacity of the largest model is 4.6 cubic yards. Dump heights range up to 10 feet, 1 inch. JCB’s smallest wheel loader has 58 net horsepower and a bucket capacity of 1.0 cubic yard. The mid-range loaders have bucket capacities of 2.6 and 3.5 cubic yards, and horsepower ratings of 152 and 165.

Kubota offers two compact track loaders, the 75-horsepower SVL75 and the 92-horsepower SVL90-2 models. For 2012 the SVL90-2 is in compliance with the Interim Tier 4 exhaust emission regulations, using a Common Rail fuel injection system, in combination with an EGR and a DPF system.

Powered by efficient Kubota engines, both compact track loaders are all-Kubota designed, engineered and manufactured to deliver exceptional reliability, durability and quality.

“Kubota’s track loaders are different from our competitors because they are created exclusively from Kubota engineered and manufactured components in this specific track loader design,” said Erik Ouwersloot, Kubota product manager. “The SVL75 and SVL90-2 models offer customers a new dimension in Kubota quality and versatility to add to their equipment selection.”

Both Kubota SVL compact track loader models deliver best-in-class bucket breakout force and have exceptional lifting capacity. The 74.3-gross-horsepower SVL75 boasts a 6,204-pound bucket breakout force and a 4,881-pound lifting capacity. The 92-gross-horsepower SVL90-2 has a bucket breakout force of 7,961 pounds and a lifting capacity of 5,869 pounds. Both models are powered by a four-cylinder, direct injection, turbo-charged Kubota diesel engine. Kubota’s versatile compact track loaders are equipped with a rigid-mount undercarriage and a vertical lift designed for long reach (41 inches) and maximum lifting and dumping capabilities. A variety of performance-matched attachments are available for the SVL75 and SVL90-2, including several bucket options with teeth or straight edges, four-in-one buckets, pallet forks and more.

The SVL75 and SVL90-2 offer a wide cab entrance and a spacious, comfortable operator area. The roomy operator area features a high-back, fully adjustable suspension seat and ample leg room. A hand-and-foot throttle ensures exceptional convenience. Both models are equipped with two-speed travel and high-ground clearance for optimal travel performance on rough construction site terrain. The overall design is built to ensure stability and comfort in uneven terrain.

Kubota’s SVL75 and SVL90-2 are designed with time-saving maintenance in mind, featuring an easy tilt-up cabin for convenient access. Daily maintenance checks for engine oil dipstick, fuel filter, water/fuel separator, air cleaner and coolant level are simple, and greasing the machine is also easy with all grease fittings accessible from ground level. A slide-and-tilt radiator and oil cooler are simple to reach because it requires the removal of only four bolts to be tilted for easy cleaning. In addition, Kubota’s compact track loaders were designed to sustain hard work and heavy loads; the main frame and undercarriage are a one-piece, welded unit to provide uncompromised structural strength.

Advice to Buyers
“Select the size of machine for your current applications and ensure that it has enough power and capacity to satisfy your future growth,” said Ouwersloot. “Also, choose a dealer that will support your product well.”

Something to add specifically to buying CTLs?

When it comes to selecting a CTL, consider a vertical lift CTL if truck loading is part of your job. Because you can get closer to the vehicle and dump the load past the center of the truck body, and strike the load flat, something that is difficult to do with a radial lift loader. Generally a vertical lift machine has greater stability, reaches further and has a higher lift capacity.

Excellent all around visibility and the smooth joystick controls should be important considerations as well. Smooth controls allow the operator maneuver the machine into difficult and confined spaces with reduced chances for damage. Visibility of the front and sides of the tracks also ensure better control.

Current users reporting back on the Kubota SVL’s note: “We like the stability of the Kubota SVL’s on hillsides, slopes and uneven terrain”; “The stability and balance of the SVL’s are superior, and on the flat they travel in a straight line”; “That 41-inch reach is important to me and its lifting and bucket breakout power made it a winner for me.”