Loader-Backhoes Gain Liftoff

Nov. 1, 2012

Caterpillar and Deere both announced a new backhoe series, and Case improved the N Series. Volvo has two new models, and JCB has a new 50-horsepower loader-backhoe.

Last January, Case Construction Equipment announced a range of improvements to its N Series loader-backhoe lineup. The upgrades include the application of cooled exhaust gas recirculation emissions-controlled technology to achieve Tier 4 interim certification.

The Case 580N, 580 Super N, 580 Super N Wide Track, and 590 Super N backhoes now feature 3.4-liter, turbocharged engines that range from 78 horsepower in the 580N to 108 horsepower in the 590 Super N. The Tier 4-interim engine burns cleaner while delivering up to 4% better fuel efficiency under load, Case claims. Other new standard N Series features include automatic Ride Control on four-wheel-drive models that engages at roading speeds to reduce bucket spillage. The N Series also has remote hydraulic test ports that allow easy ground level access for service diagnosis.

Case has also added a standard panel of dipper teeth on the bottom surface of the dipper, along with an optional extension/replacement pack that can expand the area of the dipper covered with serrated teeth. The dipper teeth enable the machine operator to secure unusually shaped or oversized pieces of rock or debris by pinning those objects against the dipper with the bottom of the bucket. The dipper teeth not only provide good control of materials being moved; they also protect the dipper from excessive wear, Case says.

Photo: CASE

New optional features include a block heater for easier cold-weather starting, and a remote jumpstart with master disconnect switch to enhance security and convenience during jumpstarts. Case N Series loader/backhoes offer the Power Lift feature that channels hydraulic power directly to the boom with the touch of a button. “As a result, our backhoe lifting capabilities outperform competitive models by as much as 39%-while running at low engine speeds,” says Rob Marringa, Case brand-marketing manager.

The Case N Series loader-backhoes offer several transmission choices, including the PowerShift S Type and Powershuttle options. All transmission choices are available on the 580SN, the 580SNWT and the 590SN. The 580N offers the Powershift S-Type and PowerShuttle transmissions.

Case offers a range of attachments for its backhoes, including a new hydraulic thumb, hammers, brooms, forks, augers and rakes. Case says it provides the only cab-activated hydraulic backhoe quick coupler, hand-held hydraulics, and loader quick-coupler options.

New From Caterpillar
The three new models in the Cat F Series backhoe loader range-416F, 420F, and 430F-are center-pivot machines featuring design changes, including a new Cat C4.4 ACERT engine that meets Tier 4 Interim emissions standards, greater lift capacity, more bucket breakout force and increased backhoe control. Features retained in F Series models from their E Series counterparts include a powerful, load-sensing, closed-center hydraulic system; the Cat four-speed Power Shuttle transmission for on-the-go directional and range shifting; an excavator-style boom for added clearance when digging over obstacles or loading trucks; and an ergonomic, automotive-style operator’s station.

The electronically controlled Cat C4.4 ACERT, using a high-pressure common-rail fuel system for operating efficiency, is equipped

Photo: JCB

with the Cat NOx Reduction System and a diesel particulate filter for emissions reduction. Net horsepower remains unchanged for the 416F and 420F, at 87 and 93, respectively, but increases to 109 for the 430.

Driveline changes for the new models include a more aggressive torque converter in the 420F for improved performance when both loading and roading, and hydraulically boosted brakes for the 416F. Both the 420F and 430F have a new electronic pump torque limiter for improved power management and improved hydraulic performance. Hydraulic refinement also includes more precisely tuned spools in the backhoe valve, providing exceptional controllability.

Performance at the loader end gets a significant boost with the new F Series models. New lift arms for both single-tilt and IT (Integrated Tool Carrier) models increase maximum hinge-pin height by 5%, maximum dump height by 7%, bucket breakout force by as much as 9%, and lift capacity at maximum height by as much as 13%. In addition, loader changes result in improved material retention for IT models.

The new F Series models use a composite fuel tank that resists rust and reduces condensation. A new hydraulic tank incorporates a suction strainer and a larger, replaceable, cartridge-type filter. The new hinged cooling pack improves service access, as do new engine side panels that require no tools for removal.

The relocated battery compartment (moved to the nose of the tractor) leaves space for a right-hand storage box, and a new remote jumpstart feature provides easy access. New one-piece counterweights contribute to improved machine balance, and a new double-clevis swing casting design adds durability.

Deere’s New K-Series
In March, John Deere announced its K-Series backhoe loaders, eight models (310K EP, 310K, 310SK, 310SK TC, 315SK, 410K, 410K TC, 710K) that build on the success of the J-Series. Two economical tractor loader models (210K EP, 210K) round out the K-Series and provide additional job-site versatility.

“Our customers are a diverse group that use backhoe loaders and tractor loaders for a variety of applications,” says Louann Hausner, product marketing manager for backhoe loaders, John Deere Construction & Forestry. “The new K-Series provides North American contractors a variety of options that are powerful, versatile, productive, and economical.”

The new K-Series meets today’s emission regulations. Powered by a certified Interim Tier 4 John Deere PowerTech engine, the K-Series comes equipped with a five-speed transmission that allows top speeds of 25 mph when roading. An optional AutoShift transmission enables smooth shifting and improves operator comfort by reducing the number of times the Transmission Control Lever (TCL) needs to be actuated during operation. A single loader lever with integrated electro-hydraulic auxiliary loader control eliminates the need for a second lever when using a multi-purpose bucket. In addition, a complete redesign of the cab ventilation now circulates cab air from front-to-back, directing airflow where operators need it the most.

Enhancements were also made to John Deere’s Total Machine Control (TMC) backhoes. Updates include a joystick redesign that gives operators even easier operation with equal lever efforts in all directions for smooth and productive operation as well as improved swing control that allows for more precise trench work with less backhoe wag.

The K-Series includes many key features that increase machine uptime such as improved engine access and a cooling package design that allows each of the coolers to be separated for easy cleaning. To protect the machine on the job site, backhoe loaders with a Sealed Switch Model come standard with machine security. Differential Lock Protection can easily be enabled through the monitor and prevents potential damage from the rear differential lock being engaged at too high of speeds.

In an effort to lower daily operating costs, John Deere is providing smart technology with auto idle, auto shutdown, and keyless start. These three features come standard on all machines equipped with a sealed switch model. In addition, an economy mode setting provides a sweet spot for maximum productivity and optimal fuel savings. An electronically controlled, variable-speed cooling fan, controlled by an electronic clutch will reduce horsepower draw on the engine for quieter operation and improved fuel economy.

The 210K EP and 310K EP are two new models designed specifically for rental and large contractor customers that need reliable, easy to use power. The EP models provide a 70-horsepower engine with IT4 power without needing any aftertreatment technology. This eliminates the need for additional operator training or extra monitoring of machines that have numerous operators focused primarily on quickly getting on and off a machine to get a job done.

In addition to the backhoe loaders, the 210K EP and 210K tractor loaders deliver excellent seat rotation. Dual-tilt rear cylinders and tilt steering and are ideal for paving and grading applications. With strong visibility, ride control, limited slip front axles and a single lever for controlling a loader with auxiliary hydraulics, this tractor is also ideal for loading.

The new K-Series offers several customer-favored features that carried forward from the J-Series. These include a multiplate clutch engagement that allows for on-the-fly Mechanical Front Wheel Driver engagement; proven PowerShift transmission; best-in-class deluxe lighting package that includes 10 adjustable work lights, enabling customers to work longer and more safely before sunrise and after sunset; exclusive multilanguage digital monitor for onboard diagnostics, calibrations and machine information; and same side, ground-level daily service for easy maintenance checks.

New From Volvo
The launch of the new BL60B and BL70B models sees Volvo Construction Equipment redesign its backhoe loader range-offering improved performance, usability and a modern appearance. With an average operating weight that ranges from 17,500 pounds to 19,500 pounds, and gross power of 83 horsepower to 98 horsepower, the BL60B and BL70B were designed and built with power, long life, and cost-saving efficiency in mind.

The one-piece chassis, loader arm, and excavator boom are all made from high-quality steel and are robotically welded, giving precise, constant weld runs for structural integrity. The loader arm has a box-welded design and is reinforced with a cross-tube. The larger excavator boom has a narrow, tall arch design that is inherently strong and uses a closed box-welded approach with fewer components and welds for durability and performance. The boom allows excellent visibility into the trench, as well as enabling closer proximity to the truck for loading. The cast iron kingpost offers flexibility of movement and swing.

Compared with previous models, the new BL60B and BL70B feature new controls. The machines are fitted with two floor-mounted ergonomic levers that give optimum grip for the operator’s hand movements when operating the excavator. The right lever is fitted with a horn for safety, and the left lever can have an optional fingertip button. This button controls the two-way auxiliary hydraulic line required when using double acting excavator attachments.

Fitted with either 16.5-inch or 18-inch front tires, these machines have a small turning radius and are extremely maneuverable, as well as easier to position on site. Helped by a new cast bucket linkage design, the bucket can rotate 205 degrees-allowing vertical digging in all positions without repositioning the machine.

Delivering the Power
The BL60B and BL70B both have D5D four-cylinder 4.8-liter Volvo engines with direct injection and turbocharging. These high-torque, fuel-efficient engines meet the requirements of the Tier 3 emissions legislation. The torque converter on these machines is one of the largest in the industry and has excellent peak torque and torque rise. A differential lock on the rear axle is engaged via a foot switch on the side of the brake pedal and provides maximum rear wheel grip over slippery surfaces.

Volvo says both the loader and excavator benefit from flow sharing hydraulics that enable multifunctioning for efficient and smooth operation. The BL70B features load sensing hydraulics that constantly adapt to the needs of the job at hand. With oil delivery that matches the required force, the backhoes deliver the speed and power required for all hydraulic functions. In applications such as load and carry, where speed is important, the system efficiently delivers the required flow.

Volvo says its cab is now better than ever. Boasting 15% more space than before, the room between the operator’s seat and the left side of the cab has been increased, as has space around the excavator mechanical controls or pilot towers, making the position change between loader and excavator easier and more convenient. There is also a larger area to store personal items. The seat, steering controls, and instruments are all designed to lower fatigue and keep operators alert and in control.

Both ends of the machine can be equipped with versatile, easy-to-use attachments and quick couplers. B-Series backhoe loaders can be configured with general or multipurpose loader buckets, pallet forks, hydraulic thumb, standard and heavy-duty excavator buckets, and hydraulic breaker attachments.

Service and daily maintenance are made easy with the B-Series, with the one-piece lifting hood and filter-service points all grouped together at ground level. Fewer greasing points and long greasing intervals also help to increase uptime. A tilting oil cooler in front of the radiator makes cleaning both the cooler and the radiator quick and easy.

Terex’s Backhoe-Loader
Not long ago, Terex introduced its TLB 840 backhoe loader to North America. This is the ninth-generation of backhoe loaders offered by Terex. The machine boasts an 88-horsepower Perkins engine and is powered by an optional four-speed servo power syncro transmission with automatic shifting. The TLB840 has a curved backhoe boom design that offers greater clearance to reach over obstacles and load closer into trucks. With a dig depth of 14 feet 9 inches (extendable to 18 feet, 1 inch), the TLB840 is designed with a new slewing system that provides high torque for easier backfilling and slewing uphill.

JCB has upgraded its 50-horsepower 1CX product-the smallest member of its world-leading backhoe loader family-with longer loader arms, an extending dipper option, servo controls and a power management system. The new optional loader arms are 4 inches longer to provide easier loading of site dump trucks.

New From JCB
At the rear, an extending dipper option adds up to 20 inches to the digging envelope, taking maximum dig depth to 10 feet. This allows easier truck loading, with the backhoe easily able to reach the center of the dump truck.

A new power management system (PMS) improves performance, reducing engine lug-down as the machine starts to dig and increasing power when driving into a pile with the front bucket.

Optional servo controls for the backhoe provide the operator with greater control and less effort, and no need to lean forward when working the rear excavator. Not only is the system more productive, it removes the control lever post, creating more space for the operator, particularly around the feet. Customers can choose between either SAE or ISO control pattern by using the optional changeover switch.

Inside the cab the 1CX gets an improved seat, offering 2 inches of additional legroom, making it easier for the operator to get comfortable and to spin the seat for backhoe operation. Auxiliary functions can now be controlled by optional proportional switches in the servo levers, rather than by the foot pedal, offering more precise control and less fatigue for the operator. The cab also benefits from new laser etched image switches as used on the larger 3CX and 4CX models, making it much clearer for the operator.

Hall: Rental Is “More Fiscally Responsible”
As the chief executive officer of Volvo Rents, Scott Hall heads up one of the nation’s largest equipment rental operations. In view of the recent rental boom, we decided to ask him a few questions. Here are his answers.

Q:  How do you explain the recent growth in construction equipment rentals?

A: Over the past several years our customer base, like many industries, has had to consolidate to survive. This meant a reduction in owned fleet. As work is starting to slowly return, the demand for this fleet is coming with it. Confidence in the recovery is limited, which makes the proposition to rent equipment a more fiscally responsible decision. Balance sheets are tight. Tying up capital in equipment that may or may not be used to its full potential can have repercussions for cash flow.

Q: In 2010, Volvo Rents had total volume of $225 million, according to Rental Equipment Register. What was that figure in 2011 and what do you expect it to be in 2012?

A: We were down slightly in 2011 for various reasons. It’s very difficult for us to compare year-over-year numbers, due to our substantial growth in locations, fleet, and employees. Volvo Rents is by all measures now not the same company. But in general we see a very favorable increase in 2012.

Q: In which areas of the US do you expect the strongest growth over the next 12 months for earthmoving and pipeline construction?

A: The forecasts for the oil-and-gas industry continue to hold true. Anywhere that industry is engaged will be a strong market. We are also starting to see some of the infrastructure projects in larger metropolitan areas start to happen. Funds are tight, but the work on our country’s water, sewer, and power-generation systems needs to be done.

Q: Will Volvo Rents continue to grow by acquisition, and if so, where?

A: Acquisitions are still part of the growth plan for Volvo Rents. Some of those decisions will be based on customer demand. We are starting to get to the point where we can let the customer demand pull us into markets that we are currently covering at a geographical

Q: Could you please identify one or two ways in which Volvo Rents achieves an edge over the competition in excavating equipment, shoring and pumps? Limit to two ways, please.

A: Being associated with Volvo has its advantages in fuel economy, quality, and safety. Volvo has been, and will continue to be, an industry leader in fuel-efficient machines. Rental customers should take fuel economy into consideration when renting equipment. In some cases it could make the difference in job-site profitability. We still pride ourselves on local decision-making. We strive to place the decisions that affect customer satisfaction as close to the customer as possible. Our locations are empowered to know their local market and, when need be, make resolutions for the customer.