Hitachi focuses on operator comfort, safety with latest generation of wheel loaders
Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas has introduced the ZW-7 generation wheel loaders. These new machines have an emphasis on comfort, versatility, and safety.
"Operator comfort was a key design priority with our new wheel loaders series. A lot of work went into the cab to make it more comfortable to operate. For instance, improved sealing increases cab pressurization. This translates into a quieter cab, a more comfortable cab, and a cleaner cab," says Matt Koester, wheel loader product manager at Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas.
The new wheel loader series have larger, quieter cabs with improved ergonomics and panoramic visibility. A standard fully adjustable heated air ride seat incorporates a seat-mounted armrest with electric-hydraulic controls and ergonomically located switches. The armrest and controls adjust 3.5 inches (8.9 centimetres) forward or reverse to comfortably accommodate operators of all sizes.
Versatility of the ZW-7 wheel loaders
ZW-7 generation wheel loaders will range in size from 3 cubic yards to 5.5 cubic yards (2.3 cubic metres to 3.8 cubic metres).
Most models offer either a standard-lift or high-lift configuration. There are also models with a parallel-link front arm configuration that is ideal in fork and tool carrier applications. This configuration keeps attachments parallel with the ground as the loader arms move up or down. Operators have increased control while loading or unloading items. The parallel-link arm configuration also allows greater visibility when using forks and other attachments.
Electric-hydraulic joystick controls reduce operator fatigue and the number of hydraulic lines in the cab.
Power is provided by Cummins engines that conform to Stage V emissions regulations. The ZX-7 wheel loaders feature an enhanced power-up mode that increases hill-climbing performance by identifying slopes and adding power to prevent the engine speed from dropping when travelling uphill.
"The new technology on the ZX-7 generation wheel loaders allows operators to adjust machine settings for enhanced efficiency. A new sub-monitor provides a way for them to interact with this technology and select their preferred settings," says Koester.
A standard eight-inch (20.3-cm) anti-glare LCD sub-monitor allows operators to interface with integrated machine settings, a payload weighing system, rear object detection, and a rearview camera display. The information is available at a glance, without the need to dig through different display settings to find it.
The payload weighing system uploads productivity information to the ConSite telematic system. Operators can check the weight of the load in the bucket from the inside cab monitor and log the material loaded. The payload weighing system offers four modes – a tip-off to truck, a tip-off to pile, auto-add, and manual-add. These modes allow the system to manage loads according to their application. In addition, the unit is equipped with a warning function that reacts when the bucket is overloaded, improving safety during operation.
Designing cabs with panoramic visibility helps create a safer and more comfortable working environment. The position and design of the cab pillars and the layout of the monitor and the switch panel have been improved to ensure a wider field of view from the cab.
The ZW-7 wheel loaders utilize an Aerial Angle peripheral vision camera system. It provides a 270-degree view of the machine's immediate environment. Aerial Angle includes three cameras mounted on the rear of the machine. Operators can see both the left and right sides of the machine on the monitor inside the cab.
Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas has also created an optional rear obstacle detection system. It provides visual and audible alarms based on the distance to the object. The ZX160-7 wheel loader is also available with rear object detection with automatic deceleration. Once activated, the system automatically disengages the accelerator. The hydrostatic drive pumps are de-stroked and provide gentle deceleration until the operator acknowledges the object by diverting or applying the brakes.
Design enhancements help protect critical components from the environment. An inner element of the engine air filter protects the engine from dust ingress while cleaning the outer element. Even the air conditioner is protected with a sealed internal filter that prevents intrusion of dust into the air conditioner unit.
Airborne debris can become an issue in many wheel loader operations, often decreasing the cooling system's performance. Hitachi addressed this with an automatic reversing hydraulically driven fan and wide-fin radiators which prevent clogging. Easy-access filters and improved access to components simplify daily maintenance. Using telematic tools to monitor machine health also helps boost uptime.
ConSite, which remotely monitors operational status and alerts owners and operators to upcoming maintenance needs, offers a new optional add-on, ConSite Air. It allows the wheel loader to be diagnosed remotely, as well as remote updates of the software. The servicing dealer can quickly diagnose issues that may arise, leading to increased uptime.