New Wheel Loader Boosts Productivity and Fuel Economy

Volvo Construction Equipment says that field testing of its new flagship wheel loader—the 54-metric ton L350F— achieved an 18% increase in productivity and 46% better fuel economy than its predecessor. These improvements, according to the company, are due to the L350F’s new Tier 3/Stage IIIA Volvo engine, stronger hydraulics, an improved lift arm, a new Volvo transmission with lockup, and new axles.

The L350F is fitted with a 540-hp Volvo D16E engine that generates most of its power and torque at low engine speeds. The engine features Volvo’s V-ACT (Volvo Advanced Combustion Technology) system, which cuts peak combustion temperatures and reduces the formation of NOx. The engine is mated to a new Volvo HTE400 transmission with automatic lockup in third and fourth gears. Lockup is automatically applied when the control unit registers the correct output speed, improving productivity and reducing fuel consumption in load/carry and transport applications. The transmission also features an automatic power shifting system that provides a selection of shift modes to suit the application and the operator’s work style. The system also can be activated to automatically downshift to first gear, leaving the operator only to select between forward and reverse gears.

The loader’s new heavy-duty axles have fully floating shafts with planetary hub reduction and greased-for-life bearings in the rear axle trunnion, all features designed to give axles a longer service life, increased stability and lower maintenance. Stopping power comes in the form of outboard-mounted wet disc brakes with oil cooling. Powered by a hydraulic dual circuit brake system, the parking brake automatically applies when the engine is switched off or brake pressure too low. The brakes can be monitored by wear indicators on each hub and a brake test can be done from inside the cab.

The load-sensing hydraulics system on the L350F has been improved over the outgoing model, and the new version also has a higher dump height than the model it replaces, aiding loading efficiency. Bucket capacity ranges from 8–16 yd3.