Latest Komatsu Production Loaders Cut Operating Costs, Boost Performance

Komatsu has released upgraded low-emission Tier 4 engine powered versions of its WA500 and WA600 production loaders, with enhancements that see them consuming less fuel while delivering increased productivity and operating efficiency.

The new WA500-8, powered by a Komatsu SAA6D140E-7 engine rated at 264 kW net, has operating weights of 36.9-38.2 tonnes (depending on configuration) and can handle buckets from 4.5-7.0 cu m.

The new WA600-8 is powered by a Komatsu SAA6D170E-7 engine rated at 395 kW net, is available with operating weights from 55.4-57.5 tonnes and takes buckets from 6.4-7.8 m.

Both engines are Tier 4 Final certified, reducing NOx and PM levels by up to 90% compared with their Tier 3 predecessors, and achieving fuel savings of up to 15%, said Richard Feehely, Komatsu Australia’s National Business Manager, Quarries.

“Komatsu technologies contributing to their low emissions and reduced fuel consumption include heavy duty aftertreatment, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) systems and high-pressure common rail fuel injection systems, a Komatsu variable geometry turbocharger system and advanced electronic controls,” he said.

“This electronic control system constantly carries out high-speed processing of all signals from sensors installed in the engine and the machine, providing total control of all components. 

“Engine condition data is displayed on the monitor inside the cab, providing all the necessary operating information to the operator. 

“This data is also uploaded via our KOMTRAX telematics remote monitoring system, helping owners and fleet managers with their machine management along with maintenance and service requirements,” said Feehely.

The WA600-8 also features Komatsu’s KOMTRAX Plus, designed for production machines, enabling expanded monitoring of a fleet via satellite and wireless LAN. 

“With KOMTRAX Plus, users can analyse machine health and performance from a remote location, on a near-real time basis,” he said. 

“By making critical data on component condition and trend data readily accessible to fleet managers, KOMTRAX Plus makes a very effective tool in maximising productivity and lowering operating costs.”

Higher productivity and operating efficiency are achieved through the loaders’ integrated drivetrain, hydraulics and redesigned bucket.

“A large capacity torque converter, with lockup in second to fourth gears, combined with our SmartLoader Logic engine control system, ensures that engine torque is always precisely optimised to the production task at hand,” he said.

“In addition, we’ve introduced an automatic digging system that actuates bucket tilt and lifting operations by sensing the pressure applied to the work equipment. 

“This system helps alleviate operator fatigue while optimising bucket loads.”

Other operator assistance features include a remote bucket and boom positioning system for fast changeover of attachments or buckets, and automatic kickdown that downshifts to first gear on entering a pile.

Both loaders are supplied with joystick steering as standard, allowing all steering and forward/reverse travel to be controlled by wrist and finger control to further minimise operator fatigue. Previous models of the WA500 were equipped with steering wheel, which is now an option on the WA500-8.

In addition to their joystick steering system, the two new loaders have new-design operator seats with integrated electronic pilot control (EPC) levers, with the option of a third spool control for controlling additional work functions.

“Our joystick steering and control systems make these loaders extremely easy and low-effort to operate; operators become familiar with these controls very quickly, and find they are far more comfortable and relaxed using them, and are less fatigued at the end of a shift,” said Feehely. 

Both loaders have been designed for ease of servicing and maintenance, including side-opening gullwing style engine doors, giving easy access to all regular service elements, swing out cooling fan, which can be set to automatically reverse, and widely spaced cooling fins on the radiator.

“For many years, our WA500 and WA600 class loaders have been recognised as leaders in their class in quarry and smaller-scale mining applications, whether in tough face loading work handling virgin or blasted material, or in large-scale stockpile tasks requiring large volumes of material to be handled, loaded and blended,” Feehely said.

“With these two new generation Dash 8 machines, Komatsu has again set the standard, delivering ultra low emission machines that use less fuel, are easier and less tiring to operate, are more productive, and have lower total owning and operating costs.

“And the ability for fleet management personnel to monitor very detailed data on every facet of machine operation through KOMTRAX Plus gives unprecedented control over operating and maintenance costs,” he said.

Brief specs of the two machines are:

WA500-8: Operating weight, 36.9-38.2 tonnes; engine, Komatsu SAA6D140E-7, rated at 263 kW; transmission, automatic full powershift with lockup torque converter; maximum speeds, F/R, 37.3/38 km/h; bucket capacity range 4.5-7.0 cu m; static tipping load (GP bucket, bolt on cutting edge) at 40° full turn, 25,365 kg; bucket breakout, 24,600 kgf; dump clearance, 4755 mm.

WA600-8: Operating weight, 55.4-57.5 tonnes; engine, Komatsu SAA6D170E-7, rated at 395 kW; transmission, automatic full powershift with lockup torque converter; maximum speeds, F/R, 37.7-41 km/h; bucket capacity range, 6.4-7.8 cu m; static tipping load (excavating) at 40° full turn, 32,675 kg; bucket breakout, 39,500 kgf; dump clearance, 5665 mm.