Innovative technology significantly improves efficiency
Komatsu has released an upgraded version of its 11-13 cu m class mining loader, the WA900-8R, incorporating innovative technology features that deliver increased productivity and ease of operation, while reducing operating costs.
This new loader incorporates Komatsu’s innovative “SmartLoader Logic” technology to provide the engine with precisely the right amount of torque for each part of the duty cycle.
According to Mark Summerville, Komatsu’s National Product Manager, this feature improves fuel economy by up to 10% compared with the previous model, while also increasing productivity.
Further productivity improvements including the addition of a modulation clutch for controlling speed and torque, along with faster boom raise speeds to give for faster cycle times.
“These features, combined with automatic dig and a semi-automatic approach and dump system means the WA900-8R can significantly improve an average operator’s efficiency,” he said.
The new loader also includes a Komvision obstacle detection system that uses radar and 360-degree cameras to alert and prompt the operator to react if a person, vehicle or obstacle is detected – greatly improving the safety of personnel in and around the machine.
Replacing the WA900-3E0, the WA900-8R is powered by a Komatsu SAA12V140E-7 engine rated at 671 kW, and has an operating weight of 116.4 tonnes.
It’s matched for loading 90 tonne dump trucks (Komatsu HD785 size) in standard configuration, and up to 140 tonne trucks (Komatsu HD1500) in high-lift spec.
Productivity and economy features
Features that contribute to increased productivity, while reducing operating costs, include:
• Komatsu “SmartLoader Logic” system for improve fuel economy
• Large-capacity torque converter.
• Tyre slip control system
• Increased boom speed and breakout force
SmartLoader Logic optimises engine torque across all applications to minimise fuel consumption, while always ensuring the loader has the torque and digging power it needs.
“This system functions automatically and doesn't interfere with operation, saving fuel without decreasing production,” Summerville said.
The system is matched to the loader’s automatic transmission, with an electronically controlled modulation (ECM) valve that automatically selects the correct gear speed based on travel speed, engine speed, and other travel conditions.
“This ECM valve system also engages the clutch smoothly to prevent lags and shocks when shifting, for more efficient machine operation and a more comfortable ride.”
The WA900-8R’s powertrain has a large capacity torque converter designed to ensure optimum efficiency.
“This ensures greater productivity in ‘V-shape’ loading applications because the torque converter’s increased tractive effort means it doesn’t require full throttle,” said Summerville.
“It also allows the loader to achieve higher gear ranges and maintain higher travel speeds when working in load-and-carry applications.”
The loader’s hydraulics are designed around Komatsu’s proven closed-centre load sensing system (CLSS) technology.
“This uses a variable displacement piston pump combined with CLSS to deliver hydraulic flow exactly when the task requires it, preventing wasted hydraulic flow, which further contributes to better fuel economy.”
Another new feature is a tyre slip control system, which has been proven to be effective in extending tyre service life. When it senses tyre slip, it applies the modulated clutch to control the torque converter and minimise tyre slip.
“All these features combine to reduce fuel consumption by up to 10% – while also increasing productivity – compared with the WA900-3E0,” said Summerville.
The new WA900-8R features Komatsu’s latest generation of cab to improve operator comfort and safety.
Other features include the addition of a trainer seat, shockless stop cylinders, climate control air conditioning and modulated clutch.
These features, combined with ergonomic improvements, all contribute to higher operator productivity, easier and safer operation, and reduced fatigue. These include:
• A new automatic digging system
• A semi-automatic approach and dump system
• A completely redesigned large operator cabin seat, incorporating low-effort control levers and an advanced joystick steering system
• An electronically controlled suspension system (ECSS).
“Our new automatic digging system actuates the bucket tilt and lifting operations by detecting the sensing pressure applied to the work equipment,” said Summerville.
It’s designed to significantly reduce operator fatigue and improve efficiency ensuring optimum bucket fill every time the machine enters the pile, whether in rock or in loose materials.”
This system is designed to work in conjunction with a new semi-auto approach and dump system.
“This automates boom lift and bucket dumping when approaching a dump truck, particularly in ‘V-shape’ loading operations,” he said.
“Combining this with our automatic digging system, loading operations from stockpile to dump truck is made much easier, and operator effort and fatigue greatly reduced.”
The operator’s compartment – a large, pillarless ROPS/FOPS cab – features a new air suspension seat that provides enhanced support on rough roads and dampens machine vibrations, providing a more comfortable ride.
“Integrated within the seat is an electronic pilot control lever console and a joystick steering lever,” Summerville said.
And with WA900-8R loaders frequently used in load-and-carry applications, Komatsu has standardised on an electronically controlled suspension system (ECSS) to substantially reduce pitching and bouncing on uneven surfaces.
“This ensures better travel performance, reduced operator fatigue and less material spillage, while delivering a smooth ride, even at high travel speeds,” said Summerville.
Maintenance and serviceability have been optimised through a high-resolution in-cab monitoring system, which works in conjunction with Komatsu’s Komtrax Plus remote monitoring system.
Maintenance is simplified through side-opening engine doors, easily accessible engine compartment with dual-side engine bay access ladders, along with a swing-out cooling fan – with reverse – and wide-core radiator (with modular core).
An adjustment free braking system, along with service brakes are mounted inboard from the final drives and brake on the sun gear (high speed, lower torque), ensure increased brake life.
Improved loader linkage and upgraded structures for the front and rear frame, provide a longer structure life.
The machine is also fitted with nine lanyard anchorage points, providing safer maintenance access in difficult areas.
“With our new WA900-8R loader, Komatsu has developed a best-in-class mining loader, while delivering significantly higher productivity and operating efficiency, combined with lower fuel consumption and reduced operating costs,” said Summerville.
Brief specs are:
WA900-8R standard boom: Operating weight, 116.4 tonnes; bucket capacity range, 11-13 cu m; engine, Komatsu SAA12V140E-7 (Tier 2 emissions compliant) rated at 671 kW at 2050 rpm; dump height, 4610 mm; static tipping load, 40 degree turn, 63,610 kg; bucket breakout, 71,900 kgf.
WA900-8R high-lift boom: Operating weight, 116.72 tonnes; bucket capacity range, 9.9-11.5 cu m; engine, Komatsu SAA12V140E-7 (Tier 2 emissions compliant) rated at 671 kW at 2050 rpm; dump height, 5225 mm; static tipping load, 40 degree turn, 58,100 kg; bucket breakout, 77,000 kgf.