Innovations Abound Among Earthmovers

CONEXPO-CON/AGG showcases major advancements in heavy equipment design.

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Attendees at CONEXPO/CON-AGG were treated to a number of exciting new product introductions in various equipment categories. Yet, the biggest buzz tended to center around those presented in the earthmoving sector.

Here are some of the most significant new models featured at the show. To learn more about any of these units, turn to the reader service card following page 8. And to see even more new product introductions, turn to our further show coverage starting on page 16.

John Deere exhibits new form
John Deere created quite a stir with the unveiling of its 764 High-Speed Dozer (HSD), a rubber-tracked unit that combines the speed capabilities of a grader with the flotation capabilities of a crawler dozer.

Touted as the "first new machine form in decades," the 764 HSD has the ability to perform finish grading and moderate dozing at roughly twice the speed of a similarly sized crawler.

"The finish grading speed lets operators do precise work faster," says Dan Drescher, product marketing manager for crawler dozers and crawler loaders. "That means higher production and more profits."

The unit's 24-in.-wide tracks offer 4,989 sq. in. of track on the ground for greater flotation. This enables it to travel at up to 18 mph across a jobsite without damaging pavement.

The 32,000-lb. 764 HSD is powered by a 200-hp John Deere PowerTech 6.8L Tier III-certified engine. The entire powertrain works to distribute power to the tracks for maximum push while avoiding spin. When the machine articulates, the inside and outside track speeds automatically change to improve turning. The hydrostatic transmission also adjusts to deliver the maximum power and speed to the tracks under varying load conditions.

Additional features include an articulation joint for added maneuverability, a 12-ft. six-way dozer blade, a fore-mounted operator's station and "plug-and-play" Integrated Grade Control to allow the addition of your favorite laser/GPS system.

Cat electrifies with track-type tractor
As part of its commitment to "sustainable innovation" that benefits both customers and the environment, Caterpillar introduced what it terms the "first electric drive track-type tractor using modern technology."

"From an environmental sustainability perspective, the D7E uses substantially less fuel per hour - dramatically reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emissions," says Stu Levenick, Caterpillar Group President. In addition, all major components are engineered to be rebuilt or reused in the future.

The 60,000-lb. D7E incorporates variable-speed electric motors that serve the function of a continuously variable transmission. This electric drivetrain has 60% fewer moving parts compared to previous D7 models. It also provides power for auxiliary components so that no engine belts are needed.

Power is provided by a 235-hp Cat C9 engine with ACERT Technology that meets Tier III emissions standards and is designed with Tier IVa in mind. The engine drives a generator to produce electricity to power the two AC electric drive motors, which are connected to a differential steering system.

Compared to the D7R Series II, the D7E has been shown to deliver 25% more material moved per gallon of fuel, 10% greater productivity and 10% lower lifetime operating costs. The electric drive train also makes operator training easier, since there are no gears to shift.

Additional features of the new machine include a center-post cab; a single, larger blade lift cylinder with less than half the parts of a dual-cylinder system; the SystemOne undercarriage; and optional AccuGrade grade control system.

The D7E will be commercially introduced in select markets in 2009.

Volvo highlights hybrid loader
Not to be outdone, Volvo Construction Equipment has also introduced a first - a pre-production prototype of its L220F Hybrid wheel loader. The unit is said to offer more power, better performance and a 10% reduction in fuel consumption.

The loader's parallel hybrid technology uses the Volvo D12 engine as its platform. But the heart of the system is the Integrated Starter Generator (ISG), positioned between the engine and transmission and coupled to a battery that offers several times the power capacity of a standard lead acid battery.

The ISG reduces engine idling by allowing the engine to be turned off when stationary, then almost instantly restarted by rapidly bringing it up to optimum working speed using a burst of energy from the battery. A massive electric torque "boost" is also provided when needed, supplying sufficient torque to start work without over-revving the engine, or to deliver added breakout force at lower diesel engine rpms. The battery is replenished automatically without reducing productivity.

Another energy-saving feature is an electrically powered climate control system. The system, as well as other auxiliary devices, can be run for up to an hour even with the diesel engine shut off.

Volvo plans to begin deliveries of the L220F Hybrid late next year.

Kobelco expands short-radius lineup
A leader in short-radius excavators, Kobelco Construction Machinery continues to build upon its line with the 215SR and 235SR ACERA models.

Both models feature a 153-hp Tier III-certified engine offering 6% higher fuel efficiency than the previous models. Quiet, tandem, in-line hydraulic pumps, combined with the Intelligent Total Control System, provide more breakout force with smooth hydraulic controls and the precision required for fine grading and leveling. The power-mode selection feature provides a choice of four different modes suited to the application.

An Integrated Noise Dust Reduction system delivers optimal air filtration and engine and hydraulic cooling. It also lowers noise levels by up to 5 dBA by quieting both intake and exhaust air.

The 235SR ACERA provides added breakout force over the 215SR and features a standard heavy-duty boom, arm and undercarriage. A high and wide undercarriage is also available.

Komatsu boosts its HST dozer fleet
Following closely on the heels of the D51-22 models, Komatsu America introduces the D39EX-22 and D39PX-22 (low ground pressure) crawler dozers equipped with the Hydrostatic Transmission (HST). The HST enables selection of either Variable or Quick-shift speed control.

The D39EX-22 models feature a Komatsu SAAD107E-1 4.5-liter Tier III-certified engine delivering 105 net hp at 2,400 rpm. Operating weights range from 20,834 to 21,804 lbs. A large power angle tilt blade provides a capacity of 2.89 to 3.01 cu. yds. The super-slant nose coupled with a new cab-forward design moves the operator closer to the blade, while improving balance, ride and stability.

The steering system is designed to provide smooth, agile movement when dozing, even in gradual turns, permitting the operator to approach dozing objects accurately in corner grading and sidewall operations.

Other features include the latest Komtrax fleet monitoring system, Palm Command Control System, hydraulic dynamic braking system and convenient maintenance checks.

Case reaches 30-metric ton mark
Case Construction Equipment expands its E Series wheel loader line with the addition of the 30-metric-ton 1221E. The unit is powered by an electronically controlled, six-cylinder Tier III-certified Cummins engine rated at 320 net hp.

The 1221E wheel loader has a standard payload capacity of 7.6 cu. yds. Traditional Z-bar and XR linkage configurations are available. Optional Ride Control improves material retention and reduces shock loads on the machine and the operator. Ride Control can be set for full-time mode or the auto mode, which activates when roading above 6 mph.

For maximum traction and stability, the loader is equipped with limited-slip axles on the front and rear and outboard planetary and wet-disc brakes.

A large isolation-mounted cab offers an operator sound level of 72 dBA. The tilt and telescoping steering column and infinitely adjustable seat, arm rests and control placement enable the operator environment to be set to individual preferences. Floor-to-ceiling glass in the front and a sloped rear engine compartment provide a clear, direct view all around the machine.

Liebherr supplies demolition solution
Liebherr offers a complete demolition excavator solution, with everything from the excavator to the attachment designed and built by the company.

Take the R 954 C VH-HD Litronic, for example. The 160,000-lb. unit has a reach of 92 ft. thanks to a 37-ft. 1-in. demolition boom, an 8-ft. 2-in. intermediate boom and a 28-ft. demolition stick. It also features a 360° operating radius without any limit in stability or reach.

An adjustable undercarriage retracts to 9 ft. 9 in. for transport and extends up to 12 ft. 11 in. for optimal stability with a significantly increased footprint.

The cab can be inclined up to 30° for easy viewing of the attachment and work area. It is also equipped with heavy-duty window protection and armored glass.

The Liebherr Tool Control allows the operator to easily change hydraulic tools and adjust pressure and flow rates from the control panel in the cab. The Liebherr Demolition Control System is an active safety feature that provides information on the machine operating angle, and automatically limits attachment movements that could affect stability once the maximum reach is achieved.