With bucket sizes ranging from 18-35 cu m (depending on materials), it has an operating weight range of 216-220 tonnes (depending on configuration) and is powered by a Tier 2-compliant Komatsu SSDA16V160E-2 engine rated at 1316 kW net.

15072011UpgradesFlagshipWA1200Loader-(1).jpgIt is available in two configurations, standard boom and high lift boom.In standard boom configuration, it can load Komatsu HD1500-7 (144 tonne capacity) and similar-class trucks in four passes, and 730E(184 tonne capacity) trucks in five passes.In high-lift boom configuration,it can load 830Es (222 tonne capacity) trucks in seven passes.

According to Michael Hall, Komatsu Australia's Mining Product Manager, the new WA1200-6 offers a number of improvements over the WA1200-3, which was released over 10 years ago.

"The WA1200-3 has been a very successful large mining loader," he said. "More than 100 of these have been sold over the past decade with around 30% of the going to mines in Australia.

"Its main application has been as a frontline loader in high production mines for example, Rio operates 20 of them in Western Australia. It has also found applications in coal mining in the eastern states, and in places has been used as ROM loader."

Michael said the WA1200-6's main improvements compared with its predecessor relate to higher productivity, better fuel and operating economy, and increased reliability and durability.

"Net engine power at 1316 kW is almost 100 kW higher than the WA1200-3, and even higher than equivalent competitors in the same class," he said.

"High productivity is achieved through higher breakout and traction forces than any other loader on the market and large bucket capacity.

"These features allow it to economically and effectively load all but the largest mining dump trucks currently in operation," he said.

Other productivity features include its "Hi-Cab" design, which gives the operator an eye-level height of 6380 mm sufficient to look directly into the body of a 220 tonne dump truck and a payload meter capable of providing detailed information on material volumes being loaded.

In terms of operating economy, tests carried out by Komatsu indicate that the WA1200-6 uses 15% less fuel compared with the WA1200-3, while fuel efficiency (cubic metres of material moved per litre of fuel) is more than 20% better.

These fuel efficiency improvements are achieved through a range of new technology developments onthe WA1200-6, including:

Operator-selectable maximum traction power, allowing the operator to set maximum traction force according to the condition of the road, material

and type of work, greatly increasing fuel efficiency and extending tyre service life.

A dual-mode active working system, which can be selected depending on the type of material being worked either "Powerful loading" mode giving more tractive power in blasted rock and hard ground, or "Normal loading" mode for loading loose material where higher traction forces are not required.

Automatically selected economy and power engine modes; power mode is only used when digging or when approaching a dump truck.

The use of more efficient hydraulic systems, including a "Pump Neutral Cut" system for the hydraulic pumps, which uses only the required amount of oil flow for the work being carried out, and a variable displacement steering pump incorporating Komatsu's Closed-centre Load Sensing System to deliver precisely the amount of oil flow required for steering.

A modulated clutch system which automatically raises the bucket faster when approaching a dump truck, while reducing forward travel speed reducing braking requirements and speeding up the approach to the truck.

"These upgrades to the WA1200-6 make it a significantly more fuel-efficient loading tool than its predecessor," said Michael.

"These fuel-saving features, combined with operator-efficiency improvements, including low-effort precision joystick control, automatic transmission and a pillarless cab for a wide and uninterrupted field of view, ensure optimum production while minimising operator fatigue."

Another operating cost-reduction feature is Tyre Saver, which reduces tyre slip and extends tyre service life by sensing a slipping tyre, then controlling the torque converter via the modulated clutch to minimise tyre slip.

Komatsu has also paid attention to improving durability and reliability through a range

of new features.

These include:

The use of Komatsu-designed and manufactured components throughout the drivetrain and hydraulic systems.

Increased torsional rigidity in the front and rear frames and the loader linkage for improved stress resistance.

Increased cooling capacity on the torque converter and hydraulic system.

"In addition to these features, we have also made the WA1200-6 easier to maintain and service, through increased oil replacement intervals, lubricated pins on the loader links, the inclusion of an automatic greasing system, and a 5100 litre capacity fuel tank giving 20 hours' operation between fills," said Michael.

"Overall machine component monitoring is through our Equipment Management Monitoring System (EMMS), which monitors the condition of all critical components.

"This is backed by our KOMTRAX Plus remote monitoring system for large mining equipment, which allows Komatsu service technicians to remotely monitor and analyse vehicle health and other operating conditions and feed this information back to the mine site.

"This ensures customers receive timely vehicle maintenance advice, resulting in reduced maintenance expenses, reduced downtime costs and the ability to avoid mechanical trouble,"

he said.

Since releasing the WA1200-6 on the global market late in 2010, Komatsu Australia has already sold three units, said Michael

"Global acceptance has been impressive, with production for this financial year already sold.

"Following a massive recovery effort at the factory after the March earthquake and tsunami, we expect the first of these units for Rio's West Angelas mine in north Western Australia, to be ready for shipping in July," said Michael.

"Additional units will be delivered to Western Australian mines over the next 12 months."