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Loader Arm Selection

First published in the November 2018 issue of Quarry Management

Carl Woollaston, wheel loader product manager with Marubeni-Komatsu, offers some outline guidance on choosing the correct wheel loader arm for your application

Wheel loaders form a crucial part of many companies processes and operations, and without them productivity levels would decrease significantly. It makes sense, therefore, when choosing a wheel loader, that all the right component parts are also selected in order to maximize the machine’s performance. One very important component to consider is the machine’s arm length. There are three arm types to choose from: standard, high lift and super high lift.


Standard arm

Standard-length arms (fig. 1) tend to be popular in quarries, skip-hire businesses and recycling aggregates – ie anywhere where the materials tend to have a high density. This is because the centre of gravity of the bucket and load are closer to the machine, thus maximizing the machine’s stability and reducing the dangers of it tipping over. Standard arms can also be manoeuvred more easily in confined spaces on tighter sites.

High-lift arm

High-lift arms (fig. 2) are suitable where the material density is low and transport tends to be high-sided. This makes this type of arm extremely popular in waste and recycling applications. Bucket sizes for these arms are slightly reduced, as the centre of gravity and load are further away from the machine’s front axle. Bucket capacities need to be carefully matched to material densities to ensure machine stability in operation.

Super-high-lift arm

Super-high-lift arms (fig. 3) are used where the material density is low and transport tends to be high-sided. Full arm extension can exceed 6m when this type of arm is paired with a high-tip bucket.

When paired with a high-tip bucket standard arms can just about reach into high-sided lorries – without this bucket they would not be able to do so. 

Figure 4 shows a machine loading a 4.5m high-sided bulker trailer. The high-lift arm paired with a high-tip bucket makes loading high-sided bulkers and walking-floor trailers easy and allows a certain amount of material tamping inside the trailer. 

With super-high-lift arms and a high-tip bucket the arm-to-bucket pin height is way above the trailer height, allowing a high degree of material tamping to be done inside the truck (fig. 5). 

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