Waste Management Review speaks with Matt McCarthy, Hitachi National Major Account Manager, about designing wheel loaders for the waste industry.
Be it mining, construction, forestry or waste management, wheel loaders are a key fixture across multiple industries. While the basic function of the machine remains relatively unchanged, different applications require specialised additives and system structures.
In a waste context, this can include devices to regulate temperature, individual guarding and differential systems designed to enhance pushing power.
Recognising the impact of industry understanding, international construction equipment manufacturer Hitachi has developed a specialised waste service team to guide in-house design and customer support.
Matt McCarthy, Hitachi National Major Account Manager, says his job requires him to work closely with major accounts to monitor their needs and industry-specific requirements.
“If a company hopes to sell into a specific industry, it must have a layered understanding of how the sector works and what its central needs are,” Matt says.
“While Hitachi’s client list spans multiple sectors, we are very attuned to the specificity of the waste and recycling industry, and the need to employ heavy-duty equipment solutions.”
Matt says Hitachi’s close relationship with the waste industry allows the company to develop machines based on acquired knowledge.
“One of our biggest strengths as a national company is our expansive branch network and industry-focused departments,” Matt says.
“This means we have a significant breadth of knowledge to pull from, plus the size of our team enables fast response times.”
Matt says when it comes to machinery and equipment design, the waste sector is demanding.
“Operators at transfer stations, landfills and resource recovery facilities expect a lot from their equipment for good reason, given they regularly deal with harsh materials that require safe and environmentally sound handling.”
Matt says Hitachi’s ZW-5 Wheel Loader range was designed with site conditions in mind and is suited to most applications.
“It can handle anything from solid waste, organics, to recyclable waste and construction and demolition material.”
According to Matt, ZW-5s were designed using research and development from Hitachi’s excavator range.
“Hitachi is renowned for our hydraulic excavators,” he explains.
“When developing the ZW-5, we chose to incorporate a lot of the same design principals, features, benefits and even componentry.”
ZW-5 Wheel Loaders use a torque proportional differential system, which Matt says is a key point of difference.
“Hitachi includes standard torque proportioning differentials against the whole range, meaning all the machine’s usable power is available to the ground,” he says.
“Customers comment that the pushing power of the machines is exceptional, and because it’s concentrated, they are using a lot less fuel.”
The Hitachi torque proportional differential system automatically adjusts the machine’s driving force to both wheels.
“Unlike conventional differential systems, when road resistance under both wheels is different, the differential reduces slippage and enables the loader to move freely, even in slippery and uneven terrain,” Matt says.
He adds that another benefit of the differential system is reduced tyre wear.
“Hitachi’s system sends torque to the wheels to gain better traction, leading to less damage and longer tyre life.”
Hitachi Wheel Loaders are also equipped with a new hydraulic circuit that accelerates the combined operation of the bucket and lift arm for loading, while prioritising bucket use for unloading.
“The lift arm movement contributes to the new ZW-5’s high productivity levels, as the flow control lowers the lift arm smoothly, reducing vibrations and operator fatigue,” Matt says.
Matt says the manoeuvrability of the ZW-5-Wheel Loader series is also enhanced by automatic gearshift controls.
“The auto one option automatically shifts between first and fifth gear, dependent on the load, when second to fifth gears have been engaged.”
“The auto two option automatically shifts between second and fifth gear, relative to the load. If required, the operator can also change gears manually by using the down shift switch to suit the terrain on any job site.”
The ZW-5’s automatic reversible cooling fan, which Matt says allows the wheel loader to work long hours more consistently, is another relevant feature for the waste industry.
“The fan facilitates easy radiator cleaning, with a one-minute automatic reverse rotation every 30 operating minutes,” he says.
“Having engaged cleaning systems in place is crucial when working in dusty and hot environments.”
For its waste customers, Hitachi also provides a specialised waste handling package. “We can fit ZW-5s with durable guarding, reducing the potential for waste to get trapped in the machine and cause damage,” he says.
“We also have dust protection screens and guards for the front windshield, buckets and axle seals all of which conform to outdoor waste safety specifications.”
According to Matt, Hitachi’s commitment to understanding industry is driven by its total cost of ownership focus.
“Hitachi isn’t just thinking about purchase price. Instead, we are continuously examining ways to reduce total life costs through fuel saving technology and specialised servicing,” he says.
“When a machine is not working efficiently there is reduced productivity, and as such, the operator isn’t earning income.
“It’s Hitachi’s job to keep these machines running, so uptimes can be as high as possible.”