In October 2001 Komatsu heralded the introduction of their new generation of ‘dash-five’ series wheel loaders in Europe with the launch of their 23-tonne WA470-5. This was closely followed by the arrival of the new 26-tonne WA480-5 and more recently by the 18-tonne WA380-5, which was officially unveiled at last month’s SED show. Focusing on the productivity and profitability requirements of their European customers, Komatsu say the new machines have been designed to set new standards in wheel loader performance, comfort and economy.
Achieving optimum functionality was one of the company’s prime considerations when designing the new dash-five series. For example, the new Komatsu SpaceCab offers 25% more volume, making it the largest cab in its class. It features a large frameless windscreen for an optimum view of the bucket and tyres, while the slanted design of the rear end of the machine provides good visibility behind the loader.
The cab itself is mounted on viscous shock absorbers that, in the case of the WA470-5, ensure an interior noise level of just 71dB(A), the lowest in this class and some 4dB(A) less than the machine’s nearest competitor (in standard configuration).
The pressurized ROPS/FOPS cab also features air-conditioning, an air-cushioned and multi-adjustable heated seat, a tilt and height-adjustable steering column and easy-to-work hydraulic controls on a multi-adjustable hydraulic console.
The WA470-5 model is powered by a turbocharged, 6-cylinder Komatsu high-torque, low-emission engine that develops 195kW (261hp) at 2,000 rev/min and achieves a maximum torque of 1,245Nm at 1,400 rev/min. According to Komatsu, the machine delivers over 10% more horsepower and 35% more traction than its dash-three predecessor, while fuel consumption is up to 75% less than its nearest competitors.
On all dash-five models, the operator can choose between two engine modes – ‘normal’ and ‘power’ – depending upon the application in hand. In the ‘normal’ mode, which is suitable for all general loading duties, fuel consumption is reduced through the use of a reduced-power characteristic map for the engine. In the ‘power’ mode maximum power is available for hard digging or driving up steep inclines.
The dash-five transmission can also be changed at the flick of switch to suit various applications; the operator can select between manual transmission shifting and three automatic modes (high, medium and low).
The new common-rail direct-injection engines used in the dash-five series comply with worldwide Tier II emission regulations, and their combination of low engine speed, electronic fuel injection and better sound insulation also help reduce exterior noise levels. The WA470-5, for example, generates an exterior noise level of just 105dB(A).
All dash-five models utilize a two-stage hydraulic system that adapts itself to the job in hand. The main and switch pumps together offer high capacity for high-speed loading cycles, while the main pump alone supplies a reduced quantity of oil for maximum tear-out force. However, when the alternate pump is switched off, by pressing the kick-down switch, maximum tractive force is available in every gear while simultaneously lifting the bucket, a feature that can prove beneficial when loading feed hoppers from a steep ramp.
Loading operations can be further enhanced with an optional semi-automatic dig system, whereby a pre-programmed bucket-filling process is carried out for both hard and soft digging. This means that the operator no longer has to manually move the bucket lever when driving into material, making loading simpler and more accurate. Also available as an option is a new integrated payload weigh scale which provides the operator with a pictorial representation of the weight of each bucket load and the quantity of material already loaded. The system can store and print out information on up to five different materials.
Servicing procedures have also been greatly improved on the dash-five models, with safe and convenient access to all daily service points from ground level via large gull-wing doors, while the reversible radiator fan and swing-out oil cooler and air-to-air charge cooler simplify radiator cleaning. In addition, intervals between engine oil and filter changes have been increased from 250h to 500h.
The dash-five’s integral EMMS (Equipment Management Monitoring System) has a service interval display and a self-diagnostic function to further assist and speed up service work. A display of various fault codes ensures rapid fault diagnosis, keeping the operator and customer-service engineer constantly informed of current and optimum machine state and allowing timely ordering of any necessary replacement parts.
Marubeni-Komatsu Ltd, Padgets Lane, Redditch, Worcs B98 0RT; tel: (01527) 512512; fax: (01527) 502310.