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New Wheel Loaders from Liebherr

First published in the November 2015 issue of Quarry Management as The X Factor

Liebherr introduce their new large XPower wheel loader series

Last month Liebherr revealed to the international construction trade press their new XPower generation wheel loaders, which are said to represent a significant milestone in the technological history of the company’s wheel loader product offering. According to Liebherr, the XPower is more than just a new machine, it is a comprehensive, innovative wheel loader concept that has the new power-split, Stage IV/Tier 4 final-compatible, XPower drivetrain at its heart.

One of the key XPower innovations is the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology developed by Liebherr’s competence centre for diesel engines. This simple, reliable and highly effective emission-reduction system no longer uses diesel particle filters and exhaust gas recycling, thereby minimizing the risk of breakdowns, reducing fuel consumption and maintenance, and, in turn, increasing productivity during operation.

Available across the whole range of large Liebherr wheel loaders, from the L 550 to the L 586, with standard bucket sizes from 3.2m3 to 6.0m3, the main objectives in the development of the XPower series have been fuel efficiency, power, maximum performance and comfort. Moreover, as a result of focused investment in durability and robustness, the XPower concept is said to offer even greater reliability and a longer lifespan than previous Liebherr wheel loader generations.

Power split

The power-split, Stage IV/Tier 4 final-compatible drivetrain at the heart of the XPower machines is said to be particularly robust, with impressive performance and fuel efficiency. The drive concept combines hydrostatic drive and mechanical drive – the former being the most efficient drive type for material uptake and travelling over short distances, while the latter is the most efficient and powerful option for long distances and for driving uphill.

With power-splitting generally acknowledged as the drive technology of the future for wheel loaders, Liebherr say their wealth of experience with hydrostatic drive concepts has been a major contributor to the success of their XPower drivetrain development. The power-split transmission manages the interaction of the two drive types, continuously adapting the mixing ratio of the two drive paths without noticeable switching and without interrupting traction. In this way, the power of the wheel loader adapts to the specific requirements of the operation at hand, to ensure maximum productivity.

The proven Liebherr Power Efficiency (LPE) system plays a key role in the drive system. The most important components, including the diesel engine, power-split transmission and operating hydraulics, are proactively co-ordinated by this intelligent system, resulting in high levels of efficiency and fuel savings. Liebherr’s own comparative tests have shown that XPower wheel loaders require up to 30% less fuel than conventionally driven wheel loaders, resulting in significant operating cost savings.

With their low fuel consumption, the new XPower wheel loaders are not only more environmentally friendly, but they also suffer virtually no brake wear as the XPower drivetrain independently supports braking so that the operating brake plays only a support role. Tyre wear is also reduced by up to 25% as the continuous force control in combination with the automatic self-locking differential prevents the wheels from slipping.

XPower wheel loader customers can choose between Z-bar linkage and industrial linkage for the L 550, L 556, L 566 and L 580 models. The revised Z-bar linkage provides up to 20% higher breakout forces compared with previous generations, which means that each XPower wheel loader can move heavier loads than its predecessor. The bucket design has also been revised in line with lift-arm optimization, making it possible to increase the volume of a standard bucket by 0.2–0.5m3, depending on the machine type. Operators can, therefore, move more material with each load cycle, while the enhanced penetration capability of the new buckets facilitates fast and efficient filling.

Aesthetically pleasing

Whilst design and development of the XPower wheel loaders focused on functionality and user-friendliness in particular, attention was also paid to the look of the machines. With their modern design elements and striking lines, the machines create a dynamic and powerful impression. But as well as being aesthetically pleasing, this aspect has important functional advantages. The tapered engine hood, for example, gives the driver excellent visibility towards the rear of the machine and increases safety immediately around it.

In addition, heavy components are installed right at the back of the machine’s rear section, shifting the centre of gravity behind the rear axle and removing the need for any additional counterweight. Liebherr say this optimization of weight distribution results in higher tipping loads and greater handling capacity per hour of operation.

For consistent and reliable cooling performance, the XPower radiator is located directly behind the operator’s cab in the cleanest area of the wheel loader, thereby reducing maintenance and increasing the life-span of the cooling system.

Also built into the XPower series are design details that make service work easier for the machine operator. For example, the engine hood opens backwards, providing free access to the engine for all maintenance work, while a pedestal for comfortable and safe working is integrated into the opened hood. In addition, the most important maintenance areas are situated close to the cab, the fuel and urea tank are combined in one location to make refuelling easier, and a treading surface at the cab facilitates safe cleaning of the windscreen.

Driver comfort has always been a major design focus for all Liebherr construction machines and the new XPower wheel loaders break new ground in this area. Broad access steps lead to a spacious new comfort cab within which the displays, operating elements and driver’s seat form an ergonomic unit that can be adjusted to the needs of the individual driver. The movement-following Liebherr operating lever is integrated into the driver’s seat as standard and allows accurate and intuitive control of the working and driving functions. To maximize safety, the glass and window areas of the comfort cab are larger and extend further downwards than in earlier wheel loader models, to improve all-round visibility, while the reversing camera is integrated into the cab’s touch-screen display.

Developed for countries where emission Stage IV/Tier 4 final applies, formal introduction of Liebherr XPower wheel loaders is scheduled for Bauma 2016.

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