The latest models of wheel loaders combine powerful engine and new transmission systems and next-generation hydraulics. Newer series are highly versatile and compatible with a wide range of purpose-built and custom-built attachments to take on any material handling job. They are being indigenously designed and developed for Indian Jobsite conditions. Wheel loaders find its applications in various segments, including mining, quarry, road, power plant, steel plant, cement plant, sea port, airport, Municipal Corporation and industrial activities. Major drivers to the growth are increased pace of road construction, auctioning of completed EPC projects through InVits and ToT, expansion of the railway network and mining sector.
The wheel loader manufacturers are coming out with a variety of features and bucket size enhancements based on application and customer requirements. Discussed below are different types of wheel loaders being used across different projects in the country.
Different Wheel loader models
Wheel loader with hydrostatic technology
The newer wheel loaders come equipped with Hydrostatic technology that uses hydraulic flow for forward and reverse movements. This is similar to the mechanism used in excavators, thereby eliminating the need for a transmission. In addition, the hydraulic braking feature improves the machine’s brake response. This helps the operator to confidently maneuver the machine. Further, a Variable Displacement pump optimises hydraulic oil flow based on the load. In terms of productivity and loading efficiency, the models have optimal dump height and reach. This helps in loading high-capacity trucks as well as loading material in the centre of the truck for a better spread. The machine also comes equipped with an array of bucket options to handle a variety of materials such as coal, limestone, iron ore and blue metal, among others. It also comes with an ergonomically designed operator’s cabin which is equipped with a new multicolored digital cluster that displays a host of machine information. The cabin is well ventilated, illuminated and offers ample leg space and clear visibility.
Wheel loaders with larger bucket capacity
This machine has a bucket capacity of 3.2 m3 and a maximum dumping distance of 1.12 m. The engine of the machine has a rated power of 162 kW at 2,000 rpm. The single joystick guarantees the precise, easy and comfortable operation of the loader arm and bucket, reducing operator fatigue. A wide range of available attachments ensures the machine’s versatility. A powerful and efficient 6-cylinder engine delivers maximum torque from the engine to the wheels. The machine also features a cooling system designed with an area-enlarged radiator, and optimized inlet and outlet air channels that provide high cooling efficiency that is useful in the Indian heat. These machines are used to carry large loads of sand and gravel in project sites. The design of these wheeled loaders ensures that service and maintenance are easily handled, with excellent accessibility throughout the machine.
Wheel loader for different geographical requirements
The latest models can be used for the general construction, small/medium blue metal quarries and raw material handling inside the process industries. Special variant Wheel Loaders are being used suitable for operation in high altitudes and extreme weather conditions to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO). These machines are fitted with ‘Cold Starting Kits’, enabling them to operate in sub-zero temperatures of up to minus 20 degrees. The buckets are available from 1.5 cu m to 3.5 cu m with the options of straight edge or bevel nose cutting edges. The buckets are also available with tooth points or without tooth points. There are models with buckets with ‘weld-on tooth points’ or ‘bolt-on tooth points’ as per the customer requirement. It also comes with a customer-friendly telematics feature that will allow fleet owners to plan operations and maintenance more efficiently. They will be able to make decisions based on data on operations.
Wheel loaders with large capacity torque converter
Wheel loaders are now designed with a drive train system that has a large-capacity torque converter for optimal efficiency. The machine has plenty of acceleration without the need for full throttle and it can achieve high travel speeds, even on grades or steep ramps leading to feeding hoppers. This significantly assists productivity and also delivers great value for load-and-carry operations. Electronic Heavy Duty Common Rail fuel injection system provides optimum combustion of fuel. This system also provides fast throttle response to match the machine’s powerful tractive effort and fast hydraulic response. This operator-controlled system allows the operator to select manual shifting or two levels of automatic shifting (low, and high). Auto L mode is for fuel-saving operation with the gear shift timing set at lower speeds than Auto H mode. The machine is also designed with a lock-up torque converter that provides increased production efficiency, reduced cycle times and optimum fuel savings in load & carries or hill-climb operations. The operator can engage the system from 2nd to directly 4th gear. This optional feature allows the operator to activate the system on/off with a switch located on the right-side control panel.
Wheel loader with the load assist system
The newer models are fitted with Load Assist and CareTrack, the intelligent systems offer valuable insight about your operations, reducing fuel consumption and cycle times. The new converter delivers increased torque output, resulting in better performance at low speeds. For improved cycle times and greater fuel efficiency, customize the lock-up engagement of your machine, it is attached with new generation OptiShift. The improved technology integrates the Reverse By Braking function and the new torque converter with lock-up. The wheel loader also features a simple, intuitive and ergonomic control system with an operator interface display that includes six analog-like gauges, colour indicator lights, and an LCD screen all within easy view, so operators can quickly monitor machine systems.
Wheel loader with breakout and traction force
The newer models can deliver up to 96 kN of breakout and traction force. The axis-fixed semi-automatic transmission makes full use of the engine’s power to increase torque and deliver greater traction. The single-plate rear frame and a four-plate front frame use joint bearings to ensure the flexible operation and a small turning radius. Its steep 45-degree dump angle and high 45-degree bucket rollback allow for more efficient load carrying and quicker cycle times. Bucket options for the loader vary from 1.4 m3 – 3 m3, and the design includes a thickened anti-friction plate that minimizes cutting resistance. The load-sensing fully-hydraulic system reduces power consumption and improves working efficiency through the use of a single-pump design. The enlarged radiator also optimizes the use of inlet and outlet air channels to lower the temperature of water and oil in the hydraulic system, making the machine highly energy efficient and reliable.
The biggest challenge for wheel loader manufacturers comes in the form of conversion of BS (III) to CEV Stage IV emission norms. The norms brought about changes in the pricing of construction equipment, incurring around a 30 percent increase in price. Simultaneously the price of steel has also gone up. The industry is quite dependent on the rental business, but the rates have not risen. But manufacturers are positive about stabilisation of manufacturing costs. Manufacturers expect new opportunities to open up once private players get into coal mining. . Handling of coal and aggregates in the mines, ports and industrial applications has been driving the demand for wheel loaders. Infrastructure development has led to faster growth in general construction and material handling. The government wants to utilise the coal reserves and is creating a framework to encourage private operators in coal mining which would provide further impetus to the demand, The manufacturers are focused on machine learning, high travel speed in forward and reverse directions, automatic bucket leveling option, return to dig option, low cycle time etc. to cater to the demands.