Pushing power: Hitachi

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.”

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Handling gold: Kerfab

Ryan Hoban, Kerfab Marketing Manager, talks to Waste Management Review about the company’s new range of waste industry-specific-wheel loader attachments.

Green waste is regularly called black gold – black because it turns dark when fully decomposed, and gold because of its untapped reuse potential.

Green waste presents a number of handling challenges and as such, is often perceived as too difficult to work with, according Ryan Hoban, Kerfab Marketing Manager.

Ryan adds that green waste’s perceived unviability is one reason the material’s potential remains untapped.

“Green waste is biodegradable, and often comes in the form of garden or park waste like grass, tree cuttings, branches and hedge trimmings, as well as domestic and commercial timber waste,” Ryan says.

“It is wet and heavy, arrives as a mass of varied particle sizes and is ultimately very cumbersome to shift.”

According to Ryan, all waste streams present a unique set of challenges, which highlights the need for specialised equipment.

After years building custom bespoke attachments for the waste industry, materials handling equipment manufacturer Kerfab has noticed a gap in the market.

“We’ve conducted countless site visits across Australia and found most facilities were using ill-suited attachments originally designed for other industries,” Ryan says.

“Most industries aren’t as harsh as the waste sector, and therefore don’t require their attachments to work at the same capacity.”

To correctly handle waste, Ryan says operators require wheel loader attachments designed specifically for their material stream.    

“To tame glass waste for example, high dump buckets are useful as they streamline loading into high-sided trailers,” he says.

“But even then, when buckets are designed simply for general use applications, waste operators are likely to run into challenges.”

Ryan says that after extensive research, it became clear the waste industry needed its own range of prefabricated, purpose-built attachments.

“We developed the WastePro range in response to an evergrowing but demanding industry, where productivity is critical and downtime must be prevented at all costs,”  Ryan says.

“The WastePro range is the only set of attachments in Australia designed solely for the unique demands of waste management companies.”

Ryan says the WastePro range enables efficient procurement and removes the necessity of custom builds. He adds that in addition to green waste, the WastePro range features attachments suitable for all waste stream including glass, cardboard and construction and demolition.

“Kerfab is committed to customer service and working in collaboration with our clients. However, it is not uncommon for an operator to require quick and easy access to attachments,” he explains.

“We hope to facilitate this through our new WastePro range.”

Ryan says because general use attachments aren’t designed to handle waste conditions, they can decrease the effectiveness of wheel loaders and the lifecycle of buckets, which leads to premature wear and increased downtime.

“From green and general waste to plastic recyclables, Kerfab has designed multiple variants of our attachments to help maximise uptime and increase equipment life,” he says.

The new range consists of eight separate bucket and grapple attachments, with different models available depending on an operator’s specific material stream.   

“A bucket used to move large amounts of paper needs different functionality design to one working with abrasive material such as crushed glass, and Kerfab has designed the WastePro Range around that fact,”  Ryan says.

According to Ryan, Kerfab paid specific attention to durability during the WastePro design phase.

“More moving parts means there is a greater chance for breakdowns, which is why it’s so important for grapples and high dump buckets be built for purpose,” Ryan says.

“We have also developed heavier duty cylinders to cope with the immense pressure required to repeatedly operate a fully loaded high dump bucket.”

Unlike Kerfab’s standard line, the WastePro Range is manufactured using Hardox, a wear-and-abrasion resistant steel.

“These attachments are designed to increase efficiency, longevity and maximise return on investment,” Ryan says.

“We know how important it is for companies to have minimal downtime, so our attachments are designed to limit this, and subsequently drive productivity.”

Ryan says Kerfab’s after-sales service BackUp+ offers another line of defence for the range. He adds that Kerfab has a network of engineers and fabricators in every major city in Australia.

“They are in place and ready to assist in routine maintenance, such as replacing cutting edges and wear plates, complex fixes and warranty claims.

“This ensures that any attachment related issue will be dealt with quickly to minimise downtime. However, since Kerfab attachments have a less than one per cent failure rate, this scenario is unlikely,” Ryan says.

The WastePro range has recently undergone final testing, with buckets and grapples already in use at waste companies and councils across the country.

“Kerfab will officially launch the range at the Australasian Waste and Recycling Expo in October,” Ryan says.

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