Hitachi wheel loader with a full load

THE NEW ZW-5 variants have operating weights up to 47 tonnes and bucket capacities to more than seven cubic metres – perfect for use in large quarries and the lower end of the mining market. 

Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia (HCA) believes the three machines will not only meet customers’ expectations of the high-quality, reliable machines that the company is renowned for, but also provide operators with easy-to-use controls and a safer and more comfortable working environment. 

According to Frank Gili, HCA’s National Sales Manager, Construction and Forestry, the three new machines share several features that improve productivity, ease of operation and maintenance.

“The addition of these larger models makes our industry-leading wheel loader design available to a new range of customers in different applications,” Frank says. 

“Like the rest of the models in the range, those at the big end are all about getting the job done in a way that is as quick and efficient as possible, with no compromise on safety or comfort. For customers in the quarry and mining sectors, where work happens around the clock, this level of reliability and ease of use is essential.”

Hiroyuki Mitsuyoshi, HCA’s National Product Manager - Wheel Loader and Excavators, says the new models have been designed with two work modes to balance efficiency with productivity. 

“In Standard mode the engine revs are controlled for smooth efficient operation in normal conditions, while Power mode offers the operator extra traction when heavy digging is called for, or the loader is travelling uphill,” he says. 

“A new hydraulic circuit allows for combined lift arm and bucket operation during loading, and prioritises bucket use for dumping, while an anti-drift valve prevents internal oil leakage that can cause creeping of the lift arm. The result is a precise, economical machine.”

The new wheel loaders use an automotive-style planetary automatic transmission for smooth shifting, while a standard lock-up torque converter provides improved fuel economy and performance during travel.

“The auto-style transmission makes these wheel loaders simpler to operate. Standard traction control and torque proportioning differentials get the power to the ground efficiently, which means reduced wheel spin and longer tyre life,” Hiroyuki says.

Ride control with automatic mode reduces the possibility of bucket spill when the machine is moving and makes a less tiring ride for the operator. Hiroyuki says operator comfort was a key consideration throughout the design process.

The changes might seem small, but they can make a world of difference during a long day, especially in more extreme conditions. Access is easier, courtesy of wider steps on the sloped ladder to the cabin, while once inside, operators will be cool, calm and quiet, thanks to double-filtered air conditioning and high levels of sound insulation.

The heated air suspension seat has adjustable lumbar support and a high level of travel to allow for tall operators, while the wrist and arm rests and the side console are also adjustable. Controls are easier to use and a new large multi-function LCD screen displays all the necessary information at a glance.

Realising that a happy worker is a more productive one, the cabins of the new wheel loaders offer more storage space, including a cool box for food and beverage.

There are also a number of improvements to the audio system, including the addition of an MP3 dock, allowing operators to connect their personal music player.

Visibility has been improved all round the cabin.

There’s a pillar-less front window, which allows operators to see in front of the machine without any obstructions, and they can also see clearly out of the rear window, with both sides of the counterweight clearly visible when manoeuvring in tight spaces.

Hiroyuki says maintenance is simple because the new wheel loaders have been designed for ground-level access, which means greasing points, oil levels and fuel filters are easily accessible once the covers are raised. That allows for minimal downtime and optimum performance.

Another improvement is the reversible radiator cooling fan, which can be set to automatic mode when it’s dusty, to provide a minute of reverse flow for every 30 minutes of operation. The fan can be reversed manually as required in better conditions.”

Apart from the three new models, in a significant improvement across the range, six previous models have been upgraded. The two smallest models (ZW140-5 and150-5) have hydrostatic transmissions, but share the Standard and P modes of the larger machines, as well as the improvements to the cab.

Along with the other four models (the ZW180-5, 220-5, 250-5 and 310-5), all now offer substantial improvements in fuel economy compared to their predecessors, while all engines now meet US EPA Tier 4 Interim/EU Stage IIIB emission regulations. That means cheaper running costs and a reduced impact on the environment, across the range.

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