Ground movers and shakers

A round up of the best in earth-moving machinery

What do the words heavy equipment conjure up to you? Being the all-knowledgeable aficionado that you no doubt are, you could probably reel off a ream of machine types. However wheel loaders and excavators are to the lay person and potential purchaser alike are the two most common types – and it’s with them we start CMME’s run through the latest machines in and around the market.

One of the most recent and potentially game-changing additions to the market is Caterpillar’s redesigned 320D L hydraulic excavator in the shape of the 320D L Series 2. As CMME’s Stian Overdahl covered in June, this is a machine designed to cope with long and arduous hours in Saudi Arabia.

The Series 2 excavator has certainly been built with the Saudi customer in mind dumping electrical fuel injection to take a step backwards to mechanical fuel injection. While Cat stresses that this is a move to handle the high sulphur content in local diesel fuel; fewer filters are used and they are fitted with the promise of an extended lifespan. Contractors working in remote locations can expect the engine system to be far easier to maintain and repair in the field and workshops.

Caterpillar believes design changes have enhanced performance, meaning the Series 2 can matches previous models.

The new 320 D L was quickly followed by Caterpillar unveiling its new 349 D2 L hydraulic excavator. Not a Middle East-specific machine per se, but the 349 D2 L is a flexible addition to the Cat dealer ranks. As such the 44,400 kg to 47,300 kg machine features heavy-duty major structures that, depending on regional offering, is available with reach and/or mass front linkage.

The 349 D2 L opts for the electric option for fuel injection inside the fuel-efficient, ISO14396 – 301kW (403-hp) cat C13 Acert engine. The machine therefore benefits from a powerful and precise hydraulic system which, as CMME’s noted in its review, ensures “high production in all applications, whether the machine is working with a bucket or any of the extensive range of cat work tools.”

The electronic controls that govern the C13 Acert engine’s mechanically actuated unit-fuel-injection system, which operates at high pressure, ensures complete combustion and optimum fuel economy.

Caterpillar claims that 349 D2 L owning and operating costs have been reduced by reverting to an optimized economy mode each time the machine is started regardless of what mode the operator had previously selected. The 349D2 L’s upper main frame is robotically welded to ensure consistent, high quality welds and features box-section main channels connected by a massive tube at the boom foot for rigidity and strength.

Curved side rails in the outer frame resist bending and torsional loads. Pentagonal-section track frames for undercarriage are fabricated of thick steel plate for optimum durability. The 6.9m reach boom is offered with a 3.35m reach stick. The 6.55m mass excavation boom is offered with a 2.55m mass stick for Africa, Middle East and CIS and a 3.0m mass stick for Turkey.

Caterpillar also launched three new small wheel loaders, the 924K, 930K and 938K to replace the popular H-series models: the 924H, 924Hz, 928Hz, 930H, 938H and IT938H. The small loaders feature a Tier 3 engine, improved fuel and great operator comfort. Among the new features are an efficient electronically controlled hydrostatic drive system and the new optimised Z-bar loader linkage already seen on the larger loaders. The three K-loaders are powered by the Cat C7.1 ACERT engine, which develops 102kW for the 924K, 115kW for the 930K, and 136kW for the 930K. The loaders are built with the new optimised Z-bar loader linkage, which blends the breakout power of Z-bar linkage with the parallel-lift and load-handling characteristics of Cat VersaLink or IT (Integrated Toolcarrier) linkage. The new linkage, available in both standard- and high-lift configurations on the 930K and 938K, accepts pin-on tools, Cat Fusion coupler or a coupler that meets ISO 23727 and is compatible with competitive work tools

Like Cat and Zahid’s ‘reveal’ of the Series 2, Galadari Trucks and Heavy Equipment (GTHE), the leading heavy equipment distributor and authorised dealer of Komatsu in the UAE, launch of the latest Komatsu Excavator (PC200-8MO) proved to be an opportunity to promote both dealer and machine in the UAE market.

The new Komatsu excavator is the newest edition to the Dash-8/200 Komatsu Excavator Series. It was developed under the three concepts of Environment, Safety, and ICT which conformed to the “highest standards of environmental regulations while meeting the user needs from the major markets and maintaining optimum performance levels”.

The PC200-8MO comes packed with a Cummins 110kW engine capable of running at 2,000rpm. Operating weight for the machine hits the 20T sweet spot for both contractors and dealers and the specs include respectful stats such as a bucket capacity of 0.8m3 , a dig depth of 6.62m, and a dump height of 7.11m.

A Raw Power look at earthmovers late last year also featured the D155AX-6 crawler-mounted bulldozer from Komatsu and it remains a significant entrant into the arena. The D155AX-6 is one of its signature Sigmamover machines, with a dozer blade designed in the shape of a sigma (?) rather than the typical U-shape. The frontal design concept adopted for digging and rolling up at the center of the blade increases soil holding capacity, simultaneously reducing sideway spillage. Reduced digging resistance produces smoother flow of earth, enabling the dozing of larger quantities of soil with less power.

On the D155AX-6, a re-thought linkage system holds the blade closer to the tractor, for improved visibility, enhanced digging force and reduced lateral sway of the blade. The new digging approach also reduces fuel consumption of Komatsu SAA6D140E-5 turbocharged after-cooled diesel engine. The drivetrain has an automatic transmission with lockup torque converter.

The automatic gearshift transmission selects the optimal gear range depending on the working conditions and load placed on the machine. This means the machine is always operating at maximum efficiency, while manual gearshift mode is selectable. In the automatic mode, when a load is applied, the gear automatically shifts down, and when the load is off, it automatically shifts up to a set maximum gear speed. This mode economises both fuel and production where the torque converter lockup mechanism is actuated according to load.

A need for precision control is an aspect of dozer operation that is often underappreciated, but operators on-board the D155AX-6 benefit from a palm command electronic controlled travel control joystick, providing them with a relaxed posture and superb fine control without fatigue.

Transmission gear shifting is simplified with thumb push buttons. There is also better visibility while ripping, after the number of ripper cylinders were reduced from four to two, as well as the expanded ripper movement offering a wider range of operation. Low maintenance costs are also ensured with a simple hull structure main frame design that increases durability and reduces stress concentration at critical areas, while flat face O-ring seals are used to securely seal all hydraulic hose connections and to prevent oil leakage.

The king of Chinese dozers. Shantui begun this year pushing all-comers aside in the UAE on the back of its deal with Genavco. Indeed Shantui’s strong first quarter of 2014 saw it move $25 million of kit in the Middle East. (Completed by agents from Shantui’s Dubai subsidiary company, unit sales featured more than 200 pieces of earthmoving equipment.)

Shantui is steadily building a reputation for building machines that are capable of digging in in desert conditions,

Being sold for use in the desert conditions of the Middle East is a testament to the reliability of Shantui’s products, which are developed to provide value in any circumstance and on any job. From our broad line of bulldozers to our reliable concrete machinery, Shantui’s products are designed with the customer’s needs in mind.”

The SD43-2 may have been out for almost two years but it remains at the leading edge of its dozer offering.

The transmission features a planetary gear, forced connected, electric and hydraulic control system, with a three-element, single-stage, single-phase torque convertor. The machine has three forward gears, and three for reverse. A modular design allows for easy repair, lowering maintenance costs for the customer.

The track gauge for the SD43-2 is 2260mm, with seven track rollers on each side. Width of the track shoes is 610mm, while the maximum drop below ground is 700mm. Overall ground pressure is 0.123MPa. Its joint venture with Cummins in China has helped the KTA19-C525 which delivers 310kW @ 2000rpm, and maximum torque of 1900Nm.

Also out in the market for some time but worthy of consideration for those looking at the very heavy end of the excavator spectrum are Doosan’s 48t DX480LCA and 51t DX520LCA large crawler excavators which were built with the Middle East and Africa markets in mind.

The DX480LCA model is a mass excavation machine fitted with an extra heavy counterweight and a short front end to deliver more break-out force for really tough digging jobs.

Both new excavators are powered by the Doosan DE12TIS six-cylinder air to air intercooler Tier II compliant diesel engine developing 238kW of power at 2,000rpm using a mechanical injection system. In its standard configuration, the DX480LCA model offers a bucket capacity ranging from 1.71-2.86m3, while the standard version of the DX520LCA excavator offers a bucket capacity from 0.93-3.6m3.

Doosan has also recently launched mid-range models for the Middle East and Africa market: the DX225LCA, DX300LCA and DX340LCA. Doosan says the three new robust models feature stripped down electronics to minimise downtime. Some times to push forwards you need to go backwards.



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