Jun 02, 2023

Hitachi’s next generation wheel loaders get a complete redesign

Hitachi rolled out its next generation of wheel loaders at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2023, which the company says have been completely redesigned from the ground up for the North American market.

The three new models in the Dash-7 lineup – the ZW180-7, ZW180PL-7 and ZW220-7 – offer efficiency, safety and maintenance enhancements, including new cabs, speed control, a payload weighing system and the ConSite telematics technology suite.

Additional ZW-7 wheel loaders will continue to roll out through the year, replacing the ZW-6 models.

The ZW180-7 and ZW180PL-7 wheel loaders have an operating weight of 33,047 pounds and a 3.5 cubic-yard bucket capacity. Both models are powered by a 173-horsepower Cummins engine.

The ZW180-7 offers either standard or high-lift front arms for bucket applications, while the ZW180PL-7 offers a parallel linkage for fork and toolcarrier applications. The parallel link arm configuration provides increased control while loading or unloading items, as well as greater visibility when using attachments.

"With the three front-linkage options, these wheel loaders offer the versatility to handle any application, whether the loader is used to move pallets around the yard, load materials into trucks or manage stockpiles," says Matt Koester, wheel loader product manager, Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas Inc.

The 4-cubic-yard ZW220-7 wheel loader is available in both standard and high-lift arm configurations. It features a 41,035-pound operating weight and is powered by a 210-horsepower Cummins engine. The five-speed transmission and limited slip differentials ensure traction in demanding applications, the company.

"The next-generation ZW-7 wheel loaders feature upgraded technology for advanced productivity, enhanced operator comfort, improved serviceability and new safety features with a rear collision detection system," says Koester.

New technology on the loaders includes a payload weighing system, which lets operators check the weight of the load in the bucket from the cab monitor and log the material loaded. Four modes — tip-off to truck, tip-off to pile, auto-add and manual-add – allow the payload weighing system to manage loads according to the application. The system also emits a warning when the bucket is overloaded, improving safety.

Approach speed control adjusts travel speed with fewer pedal operations during loading, reducing operator fatigue and fuel consumption. The auto power-up function increases hill climbing performance by identifying slopes and adding power to prevent engine speed from dropping when traveling uphill.

For improved operator comfort, Hitachi gave the new wheel loaders larger and quieter cabs. The cabs feature an 8-inch anti-glare LCD monitor with Bluetooth radio, a seat-mounted armrest with ergonomic electric-hydraulic controls, ergonomically located switches and an adjustable seat and mirrors. The position and design of the cab pillars and the layout of the monitor and switch panel have also been adjusted for improved visibility from the cab.

Using three cameras mounted on the rear, the Aerial Angle peripheral vision camera system provides a wide 270-degree bird's-eye view of the loader's surroundings on the monitor.

An optional rear obstacle-detection system with automatic speed reduction is available on the ZW-7 models.

"About 50% of the time that wheel loader is going in reverse," notes Simon Wilson, vice president, sales. "We improved the styling around so that you can see. But there is also an optional tool now that has rear obstacle detection that will automatically slow the vehicle down, so it doesn't run into a person or into a wall. Those types of items are very key for customers, especially large fleet operators that have multiple operators that may not be as used to the machine."

The ZW220-7 also features emergency steering. The emergency electric pump delivers the necessary oil pressure for power steering even in the case of an engine failure.

Critical components on the loaders are now better protected from Mother Nature. An inner element of the engine air filter prevents dust from entering the engine while cleaning the outer element. The air conditioner is also protected with a sealed internal filter to prevent dust ingress. An intelligent automatic reversing hydraulically driven fan and wide-fin radiators prevent debris from clogging the cooling system. Filters and components are easily accessible for daily maintenance checks.

ConSite, Hitachi's suite of telematics tools, remotely monitors operational status and alerts owners and operators to upcoming maintenance needs. ConSite Air is a new optional add-on that allows the wheel loader to be diagnosed remotely by the servicing dealer.

The system is also able to push remote software updates. "Just like your cellphones where you can update remotely, our technicians and our dealerships now can remotely diagnose and remotely dial into those machines," says Wilson. "They have the ability to go in and see — before they have to drive out to the site — how that machine's operating, or make sure they have the right parts before they before they get on the road."