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Liebherr wheel loaders for Hanson Aggregates

Liebherr L586 XPower wheel loaders

Company takes delivery of UK’s first two L 586 XPower machines for loading duties at Cefn Mawr Quarry

HANSON Aggregates have acquired the first two Liebherr L 586 XPower wheeled loaders in the country and put them to work at their Cefn Mawr Quarry, near Mold, in Flintshire, North Wales, where they are said to be impressing thanks to their fuel efficiency, increased load over height and operator comfort.

Launched at bauma 2016, the XPower range of loaders employs Liebherr’s version of the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) to provide a fuel-efficient and durable alternative to traditional mechanical driveline systems.

The system combines a split driveline that is both mechanical and hydrostatic. The hydrostatic drive is most efficient in short loading cycles, whilst the mechanical drive is used for long-distance driving or climbing gradients.

The transmission automatically manages the interaction between the two drive types, continually adjusting and mixing the ratio of the drives without interrupting traction.

The combination of the CVT transmission and Liebherr Power Efficiency (LPE) software, which continuously monitors the engine, transmission and hydraulic system, as well as driver input, to ensure the loader is constantly running at optimal performance, is said to allow for potential fuel savings of 30% over comparative wheel loader models.

The XPower range has also benefitted from the introduction of new Tier 4 Final emissions-compliant engines, with the L 586 being fitted with a six-cylinder Liebherr engine that delivers 354hp at a maximum of 1,800 rev/min, with maximum torque achieved at just 1,300 rev/min.

Unlike many designs of wheel loaders, the Liebherr range does away with the typical large counterweight, instead relying on the positioning of the engine to balance the machine. This has allowed Liebherr engineers to streamline the rear canopy and ensures simple and easy access to all major components.

The large, hydraulically opening bonnet also doubles up as a sturdy working platform when accessing the engine compartment, whilst the repositioning of the engine and lack of a large transmission has allowed the cooling pack to be moved to a location in front of the engine and away from potential sources of contamination.

Easy access to the redesigned Liebherr cab is via a safe, angled ladder underneath the nearside of the cab. The cab’s redesigned structure gives greater forward vision thanks to a new windscreen that incorporates fully glazed lower corners.

And whilst the Hanson machines are equipped with a steering wheel, Liebherr also offer a proportional joystick steering option. Also, Liebherr’s full-colour touch screen has been fitted to a sliding rail that allows the operator to position the unit wherever they want on the cab pillar. The screen shows all machine functions, providing an intuitive route for the operator to tailor the machine’s operation and relaying the image from the bonnet-mounted rear-view camera.

Richie Shawcross, regular operator of one of the L 586 XPower loaders at Cefn Mawr Quarry, commented: ‘It is a lovely machine to drive and much more comfortable than any other machine I’ve driven. The controls are smooth and there is plenty of power at all times. The touch screen allows me to do my daily fluid checks without having to lift the bonnet.’

The Liebherr joystick, which is built into the operator’s seat, allows all working and manoeuvring operations to be performed with a high degree of precision and sensitivity. The new electro-hydraulic system allows the operator to programme the lift arm and bucket positions from the cab. The tipping speed for crowding and dumping the bucket can be regulated individually and quickly via the touch-screen display.

Hanson’s two wheel loaders have been specified with longer loader arms to give approximately 450mm more reach and lift height over the standard versions, as the machines will occasionally be required to load the site’s fleet of 65-tonne capacity dumptrucks. ‘Our previous machines struggled to do this, but the new Liebherr’s have plenty of clearance over the skip,’ explained quarry manager Phil Davies.

Liebherr say the machines’ ability to load 65-tonne capacity quarry trucks in six passes before turning their attention to loading 44-tonne gross artics demonstrates the versatility of the long-arm configuration.

Both machines carry 5.5 cubic metre-capacity buckets, one of which has been equipped with teeth for face loading while the second is a general-purpose unit for the rehandling of finished product. Also, in a bid to increase productivity at the site, both machines have been supplied with the latest RDS Loadmaster Alpha 50 digital weigh-loader technology.

Loading from a compacted stockpile of blasted material, the hydrostatic transmission on the L 586 XPower distributes power equally to all four wheels, which are fitted with Michelin XLD tyres. Liebherr claim the XPower driveline reduces tyre wear on the loaders by up to 25%.

‘Once we had the demonstration machine we knew we were going to be happy with the new models,’ said Phil Davies. ‘We have seen an increase in performance and a marked decrease in the amount of fuel we use…with the Liebherr LiDat system telling us we are using an average of 18.2 litres/h.

‘Both machines are now moving in excess of 1,800 tonnes of material per shift and this means our product costs less per tonne to produce now, which can only be a good thing. Both loaders have been totally reliable so far and all through the demonstration, purchase and commissioning procedure Liebherr and their wheel loader specialist, Colin Scott, have been excellent to deal with.’

Both L 586 XPower  machines have been taken on a six-year operating lease with all routine maintenance being carried out by technicians from Liebherr’s Wigan depot. ‘We can’t envisage any issues with the machines. They are well-built and very much on top of the job,’ concluded Mr Davies.

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