Komatsu has released an upgraded version of its 11-13 cu.m class mining loader, the WA900-8R, incorporating, it says, innovative technology features that deliver increased productivity and ease of operation, while reducing operating costs.
This new loader incorporates Komatsu’s “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 include the addition of a modulation clutch for controlling speed and torque, along with faster boom raise speeds to increase cycle times and a tyre slip control system.
“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,” Summerville said.
The new loader also includes a KomVision obstacle detection system that uses radar and 360° 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 t. It is matched for loading 90 t dump trucks (Komatsu HD785 size) in standard configuration, and up to 140 t trucks (Komatsu HD1500) in high-lift spec.
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, according to the company.
“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,” Summerville added.
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,” Summerville said. “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 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,” Summerville said.
A tyre slip control system, proven to be effective in extending tyre service life, Komatsu says, sees the modulated clutch applied to control the torque converter when it senses a potential tyre slip.
“All these features combine to reduce fuel consumption by up to 10% – while also increasing productivity – compared with the WA900-3E0,” Summerville said.
The new WA900-8R features Komatsu’s latest generation of cab to improve operator comfort and safety. This cab features low-effort control levers and an advanced joystick steering system, alongside an electronically controlled suspension system, according to the company.
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, Komatsu said.
Summerville said: “Our new automatic digging system actuates the bucket tilt and lifting operations by detecting the sensing pressure applied to the work equipment. It is 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 the 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.”
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, the company said.
Side-opening engine doors, an 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) all aid maintenance and servicing processes.
An adjustment-free braking system, along with service brakes mounted in-board from the final drives and brake on the sun gear (high speed, lower torque), ensure increased brake life, the company added.
Improved loader linkage and upgraded structures for the front and rear frame, meanwhile, provide a longer structure life.
“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,” Summerville said.