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New earthmoving machines

An array of advanced earthmoving machines are coming to market, offering increased performance, lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions

The global market for earthmoving machines has been particularly strong over the last year. Demand for new equipment has been at a high, with sales of crawler excavators proving especially robust. Manufacturers have responded by increasing output, while tempting customers with new models offering major performance gains.


In the market for dozers, Caterpillar is taking the unusual step of replacing one model, with two. The firm’s D6T is being phased out and in its place Caterpillar is offering a D6 with a conventional four-speed transmission (replacing the previous three-speed system) or an XE variant with a diesel electric drive. The firm says that the mechanical drive version offers a 20% fuel saving over the earlier D6T, while the innovative diesel electric model offers fuel savings of up to 35%. The electric drive runs with its engine at optimum rpm at all times, helping lower fuel consumption.

Productivity is said to be improved for both models although the new XE electric drive model is said to provide additional manoeuvrability. Track wear is a key issue for running costs of dozers and Caterpillar believes that the more progressive ramp up of speeds for the electric drive variant will help reduce stresses and deliver extended working life.

Caterpillar’s new D6 comes with the choice of a four-speed fully automatic drive or a high-drive electric transmission. The D6 automatic transmission provides increased productivity and up to 20% better fuel efficiency versus its three-speed predecessor. Both of the new variants are available with the variable power angle tilt (VPAT) or push arm configurations, as well as a choice of standard or wide LGP with  extra-wide LGP track shoes.

Meanwhile, Dressta is now introducing the TD-15 and TD-25 crawler dozers. The 21tonne class TD-15 is powered by a Stage V compliant diesel rated at 159kW. Featuring improved load-sensing hydraulics, the machine is said to be 10% more fuel efficient than the model being replaced. Other improvements include a bigger cab with large windows and new rearview camera for the operator. The TD-25 is a 41tonne class machine with power from a 246kW diesel. Like its smaller sibling, the machine has an improved cab said to offer better visibility and operator comfort. The machine also benefits from a new bogie undercarriage system, which is said to boost operator comfort in tough conditions. Both models are said to be easier to service than earlier generation machines from the company.


In the market for graders, Case has introduced an innovative steering system. This patented design uses sensors, providing steering feedback to the vehicle control unit. The firm has combined the controls for the front wheel and frame articulation angle into a single function managed by either the joystick or the steering wheel. This novel combined steering system can be used in conjunction with variable steering ratios and if tight steering is required, this can be supplemented by the wheel-lean function. When not required, the wheel-lean function can be disconnected from the combined steering, leaving the wheel steering angle and frame articulation moving simultaneously.

John Deere is capitalising on its recent purchase of the Wirtgen Group to introduce two of its grader models, the 622GP and 762GP, to the European market. These are powered by 6.8litre and 9litre John Deere diesels and delivering 169kW and 190kW and featuring moldboards of 3.66m and 4.27m width respectively. Machine operators can use both the joystick controls or conventional steering wheel  and features include automatic differential locks and six-wheel drives.

The firm will introduce other earthmoving machines from its range to the European market in due course, but has opted to start with these two graders as they suit thee same road construction market as the Wirtgen road machines.

Wheeled loaders

Design innovation is being seen in the wheeled loader segment also. Although just a concept, Case CE’s ProjectTETRA offers an interesting view of future designs. This wheeled loader is intended to run on biomethane derived from waste materials from the domestic sector or industry. Power for the machine comes from an engine supplied by sister firm  FPT Industrial. Rated at 170kW, this offers the same output as a conventional diesel. However, switching to gas as fuel reduces emissions by around 80% overall, with just 5% of the CO2 emissions of a conventional engine, 10% of the NO2 and 1% of the particulates.

Another highly visible feature of this concept machine is the choice of tyres. Michelin supplied a prototype, non-pneumatic, puncture-proof tyre featuring a flexible structure that is said to be all but indestructible for site use.

Rather more down to earth is the new HL960A wheeled loader from Hyundai, which meets the latest European Stage V emissions requirements and is powered by a diesel rated at 168kW. A high power-to-weight ratio allows the 19tonne class machine to be used for pick and carry operations, with a 3.3m3 bucket offered as standard but with a wide range available to suit user needs.

And from Komatsu comes its prototype WA475-10 wheeled loader. High efficiency is claimed with a 30% reduction in fuel consumption. This 24tonne class machine is claimed to be 30% more fuel-efficient than similarly-sized wheeled loaders, due to its novel mechanical hydraulic transmission. Emissions are also low due to a Stage V compliant engine, integrated with the transmission and operated using the firm’s novel variable speed control.


The excavator segment remains the most competitive of all in the market for earthmoving machines. New models are being offered from an array of firms, with Caterpillar claiming that its new ICCT system helps boost the efficiency of its 36tonne class 336 and 336 GC excavators by around 45%, cutting fuel consumption by up to 15%. Smart hydraulics are said to be a key feature in improving overall efficiency.

The machines are offered with the standard Cat Grade with 2D system offering guidance for depth, slope, and horizontal distance. The system can be upgraded to Advanced 2D or 3D variants. Sophisticated tools available include automatic limits for boom, stick, and bucket movements, as well as a payload system, an E-fence feature that prevents the excavator from moving outside operator-defined set points and the latest Cat LINK hardware and software telematics technology.

Doosan has developed Stage V compliant excavators with its latest LC-7 Stage V models. The new machines include the DX300LC-7, which benefits from a new cab layout as well as a sophisticated machine management package, said to improve efficiency and cut fuel consumption by 7% over the earlier model. Power comes from a new Doosan DL08 engine while a key feature is the firm’s state-of-the-art DoosanConnect wireless fleet monitoring package, which is a web-based fleet management solution.

Hitachi’s ZX210X-6 ICT is the latest excavator in the firm’s range and is available with machine control technology from Trimble. This is Hitachi’s first ICT excavator and the firm claims this technology will help boost efficiency by 30-50%, as well as improving safety.

The package allows the machine to dig to grade more quickly. The bucket angle retention allows slope finishing to be completed with fewer movements, while the overcut protection means operators can work without worrying about over-digging. Fast reacting sensors mounted on the body, boom, arm and bucket enable accurate measurement of the excavator’s incline and the angle of the front of the machine. The 3D package provides accurate position data for the machine and the system allows 3D design data to be downloaded via the internet or a USB device.

Also new from the firm is a Super Long Front version of the ZX210LC-6, offering a maximum digging reach of 15m. The model suits work such as dredging, slope finishing and landscaping and features a large counterweight for stability and safety. The machine shares key components with the standard Zaxis-6 model and has been designed and built in-house. Powered by a 128kW diesel, it weighs around 25tonnes and benefits from a larger box-type cross section and thicker steel plates than normal.

New from Hyundai for Europe are the HX220A L and HX300A L excavators, which meet the latest emissions regulations with Stage V compliant engines. The 22tonne class HX200A L is powered by a diesel rated at 136kW and features a 1.34m3 bucket as standard. Meanwhile, the 30tonne class HX300A L is powered by a diesel rated at 180kW and features a 1.85m3 bucket as standard. Both machines feature the firm’s latest cab layout, which is said to offer good all-round visibility and high-quality operator ergonomics. The two machines can be used with an array of hydraulic attachments to suit varying duties, while a range of buckets can be selected for specific working applications.

Komatsu continues to develop its hybrid excavator offering with the launch of its latest HB215LC-3 model, which is said to feature the firm’s most advanced hybrid and powertrain technologies so far. Major reductions in fuel use and CO2 emissions are claimed, along with increased production, improved control, intelligent safety systems, the latest KOMTRAX telematics, advanced hydraulics and the new Komatsu Integrated Attachment Control system.

KOMTRAX telematics and Komatsu CARE, a Komatsu maintenance program for customers, offer top fleet management and support, protect the machine against misuse and guarantee maximum efficiency and uptime. The HB215LC-3s Komatsu SAA4D107E-3 engine delivers 110kW, while the hybrid system uses an electric swing motor/generator.

Liebherr says that the new R 934 Litronic excavator is available in Stage V compliant format. Weighing around 35tonnes, the machine slots into the range between the R 936 and the new R 938, using components from the latter. Both the R 934 and R 938 are available with engines to suit local emissions standards. The R 934 is offered with bucket capacities from 1-2.5m³.  

The machine has a particularly robust x-shaped structure as well as a new wide long crawler (WLC) undercarriage. Other features includes long-life undercarriage components, automatic central lubrication and LED lighting.

From Volvo CE comes a new mid-sized 20tonne crawler excavator, the EC200E. This slots into the range between Volvo CE’s existing EC220E and EC180E units and is aimed at an important weight class. Power comes from a Stage V-certified D4 Volvo engine, which is said to be fuel-efficient and feature low maintenance needs. The machine benefits from Volvo CE’s power boost function and features the firm’s advanced hydraulics, offering fast cycle times and optimum productivity, as well as an ECO mode that reduces fuel consumption. The excavator can be factory-fitted with additional auxiliary hydraulic piping to power hydraulic attachments.


The ADT segment is also seeing the introduction of new models from Doosan and Terex Trucks. Doosan is launching Stage V compliant versions of its 30tonne DA30 and 40tonne DA40. The models now have Stage V Scania 9litre and 13litre engines rated at 276kW and 368kW respectively, with relocated diesel and AdBlue tanks for easier refilling. The greasing system and transmission filters have also been relocated to make them easily accessible.

The machines have a new cab and self-levelling front suspension that adjusts itself depending on the operating conditions. The electronic and hydraulic systems in the new trucks have also been upgraded to offer improved performance. These models retain the articulation hinge positioned behind the turning ring and the free-swinging rear tandem bogies used on earlier generation machines from the firm.

Terex Trucks is unveiling its updated TA300 and TA400 articulated haulers. The TA300 benefits from the new EP320 transmission, with two additional forward gears providing eight in total, as well as four reverse gears. In addition, the TA300 now delivers a 5% improvement in fuel efficiency, as well as a 5km/h increase in maximum speed to 55km/h. This allows faster cycle times, as well as a reduced cost/tonne.

The TA400 is designed to handle extreme operations and has a maximum payload of 38tonnes. The machine has a heaped capacity of 23m3 and is powered by a fuel-efficient Scania DC13 engine that develops 331kW and a maximum torque of 2,255Nm. Terex Trucks says its fuel-efficient engine range is globally emissions-compliant and meets the requirements of EU and North American legislation without the need for a diesel particulate filter (DPF).

Other features of the TA400 include a high power-to-weight ratio, cooled multidisc brakes, an electronically activated exhaust brake, a six-stage modulating transmission retarder and an Allison HD4560 transmission.

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