Flagship wheel loader on show at Hillhead
THE 50-tonne L350F, the largest wheel loader ever produced by Volvo Construction Equipment, is all set to make its UK debut at Hillhead 2007.
According to Volvo, when tested in arduous load-and-carry applications the all-new machine recorded an 18% rise in productivity and 46% better fuel economy than its predecessor, due largely to the combination of the L350F’s new Tier 3/Stage IIIA Volvo engine, stronger hydraulics, an improved lift arm, a new Volvo transmission with lock-up and new axles.
The L350F is fitted with a Volvo D16E engine (featuring V-ACT) that produces most of its 397kW (540hp) of power and 2,550Nm of torque at low engine speeds, leading to improved fuel economy and reliability, and lower noise and emissions.
The engine is mated to the latest transmission from Volvo – the HTE400 – with automatic lock-up in third and fourth gears for improved productivity and reduced fuel consumption in load/carry and transport applications. The HTE400 transmission also features an automatic power-shifting system that offers a selection of gear-shifting programs to suit the application as well as the operator’s work style. The system can also be activated to automatically downshift to first gear, leaving the operator only having to select between forward and reverse gears.
The robust frame on the L350F provides a sound platform for delivering the machine’s power to the ground via new heavy-duty axles, which have fully floating shafts with planetary hub reduction and greased-for-life bearings in the rear axle trunnion. This combination is said to offer longer service life, increased stability and lower maintenance.
The L350F’s stopping power is delivered by outboard-mounted wet disc brakes with oil cooling. Powered by a hydraulic dual-circuit brake system, the parking brake automatically applies when the engine is switched off or brake pressure too low. The brakes can be monitored by wear indicators on each hub and a brake test can be conducted from inside the cab.
The load-sensing hydraulics system on the L350F has also been improved over the outgoing model with variable-displacement pumps providing exact flow and pressure where and when necessary for faster cycle times and increased lift force.
The L350F also has a higher dump height over the model it replaces, aiding loading efficiency, while the lift arm features improved geometry for better roll-back angles and attachment visibility. The L350F can also be specified with various boom options, such as the long boom for additional dump height, or the Boom Suspension System, which features heavy-duty shock absorbers to reduce bucket spillage and allow faster, more comfortable, work cycles. Other options include auto-lubrication and the new Care Track system for remote monitoring of all key functions in real time.
The L350F is equipped with a load-sensing steering system and can also be fitted with the optional Comfort Drive Control (CDC) system, which allows the loader to be operated using fingertip controls fitted to the seat armrest; this is said to be particularly useful in short-cycle, repetitive, high-production load-and-carry duties.
Volvo say the operator environment has also taken a significant step forward on the L350F with a 22% bigger laminated windshield, powerful halogen lighting front and rear, a double-filtered pressurized cab to keep dust out, and automatic climate control to maintain the desired temperature.
Ease of servicing and reduced downtime were two more important design considerations during development of the new L350F. Daily pre-start items can be quickly checked and all service items are conveniently grouped together. Lubrication points are also clu