JCB Unveils a New Generation of High-efficiency Backhoe-loaders

MUNICH, GERMANY - JCB has unveiled a new generation of backhoe-loaders (featured on the Equipment Today April 2010 cover) that offer customers more versatility, productivity, cost efficiency and comfort.

JCB's proven past in backhoe-loaders stretches back to 1953 when the company first pioneered the machine. Over those six decades, the company has pushed the boundaries in backhoe development and now two in every five of these machines sold anywhere in the world are made by JCB.

At the Bauma show in Munich, the wraps came off the most efficient JCB backhoe-loader ever, offering customers average fuel savings ranging from 6% to 16% at typical daily work rates, largely achieved through the introduction of a new EcoDig system incorporating three hydraulic pumps.

The striking new design of the machine features a re-styled counterweight and new vertical grille design offering an even more aggressive feel. The sharper lines on the excavator and loader profiles contribute to the robust look, while the sloping hood retains excellent forward visibility.

In addition, the machines benefit from a host of new features including an improved cab for greater comfort, and power brakes providing proportional braking and fuel economy improvements. Optional features include:

  • New heated front windshield - an industry first for backhoe-loaders
  • An in-cab hot beverage machine
  • Combined hammer and bi-directional circuit for excellent versatility in attachment use
  • A 9-metre factory-fitted hose reel for improved productivity and versatility

Tim Burnhope, JCB Group Managing Director for Product Development and Commercial Operations, said, "JCB has been at the forefront of backhoe design for almost 60 years and through innovation we continue to raise the bar and offer our customers machines which have superior performance and are more cost efficient and comfortable to operate.

"The new generation of JCB backhoe loaders represent a significant investment and the result is JCB's most efficient backhoe loader ever which has been designed with fuel economy firmly in mind. Whether loading, roading or digging JCB's latest generation of backhoe offers the customer a machine that works harder but uses less fuel.

"We believe the new JCB backhoe will cement our position as the world's best-selling brand in a market which we expect to grow significantly over the next five years."

Increased Productivity

The biggest changes are under the skin. A new EcoDig hydraulic system now utilizes three hydraulic pumps to provide the same hydraulic output but at lower engine speeds, itself delivering average fuel savings of up to 15%. Operators are able to select from two working modes, either Eco mode or low flow, to optimize productivity and improve machine control.

A secondary benefit of the three pump design is faster performance of the extradig extending dipper stick, further boosting productivity. The new hydraulic system and lower engine speeds also contribute to a cut in exhaust emissions and a reduction in overall machine noise levels, both inside the cab and externally.

The new backhoes come with the existing EcoRoad options of Smooth Ride System (SRS) and TorqueLock to help boost productivity further. TorqueLock reduces fuel consumption by up to 25% while increasing speed by up to 10% and the Smooth Ride System maximizes load retention around the job site for increased productivity and operator comfort.

Power brakes are to be introduced on both 3CX and 4CX models. The system provides proportional braking throughout the pedal travel, providing operators with improved braking and reduced effort.

JCB has also redesigned the pedal position in the backhoe loader cab, with an automotive style position which improves ergonomics. The power brake design ensures that there is full brake pad release when the driver comes off the pedal. This enables operators to better maintain roading speeds and contributes to a further one per cent saving in fuel consumption. By using the machine's hydraulic system to supply oil for the power brakes, there is no requirement for separate brake reservoirs. This simplifies service and reduces the number of daily checks for the operator.

The EcoLoad package of options add to the enhanced productivity. The return-to- dig feature automatically resets the shovel to dig position, saving time and effort; the transmission disconnect diverts hydraulic power to the loader for faster lifting. In addition, high engine torque at low revs provides excellent pushing and hill climbing performance and limited-slip differentials (LSD) provide extra traction in challenging conditions.

A new design and a new cab

The best-selling 3CX and 4CX ranges benefit from a striking redesign, incorporating sharper lines in the counterweight, grille and hood, and making best use of JCB's bold new machine branding. The cab adopts a similar style to the Fastrac, with improved run-off channels to prevent rain water collecting on the roof.

The machines also benefit from independently adjustable working lights at the front and rear of the roof, providing improved visibility all around the working area in poor light conditions.

The cab is refreshed internally, as well, with a move to a black interior in the lower half of the cab, including the seat, which has new material to provide increased comfort and less wear. The pillars and roof lining adopt a lighter grey color, making the cab feel even more light and spacious.

JCB engineers have found a new material to cover the redesigned steering wheel, offering improved grip for the driver. The backhoes also benefit from new high quality switches, activating consoles which provide excellent light definition. The high quality switches have laser etched images that are clearly backlit, enabling clear visibility of switches at night.

JCB will be taking a lead from the automotive industry with the option of an innovative automatic heated front windshield on all 3CX and 4CX models later this year. Available in time for winter 2010, the heated windshield rapidly clears ice and misting in cold conditions, allowing the operator to get to work without delay in the morning.

Attachment Availability

A new combined hammer and bidirectional auxiliary circuit makes the fitting of attachment power circuits easier. The circuit has been designed to provide low flow and high flow across all 3CX and 4CX models, including all fixed and extending dipper variants. This greatly increases versatility for the customer as the machines are compatible with an increased number of optional attachments.

There is also the option of a new 29-ft. hose reel on the Hand Held Tool Circuit, that allows contractors to use hydraulic power tools alongside the backhoe loader, removing the need for separate power packs.

Taking A Coffee Break

Sometimes it is the small things that matter most to the operator. In the 1970s, JCB took the time to think of the operator first, supplying a kettle as an option with each machine so that the driver could make a hot drink even when away from the site facilities.

Now JCB will revive this link with the past. All 3CX and 4CX models will be available with an optional hot beverage machine, capable of producing tea or coffee, that will lock securely into an area at the side of the cab. The machine uses the 12V supply directly from the machine and has been designed to fit into the existing cab layout.