By Philippe Bisson, brand marketing manager, CASE Construction Equipment
Tip #1: Size it Right
The primary factors to consider when purchasing a wheel loader are operating capacity (bucket size, breakout and lift capacity) and footprint. The right size of a wheel loader is often determined by surrounding equipment and operations.
Some important questions to ask:
- How much material needs to be moved on a daily basis?
- How many passes does it take to load the type of trucks you have?
- How quickly do materials cycle through the hopper you’re loading?
- Is there another machine that the wheel loader needs to keep up with, such as an excavator or bulldozer, to move material as efficiently as possible?
- What size/weight of materials will the machine need to lift or place?
The answers to these questions will determine the general size class of the machine that is right for you.
Tip #2: Don’t Waste Fuel
Fuel is one of the greatest expenses an equipment owner has, and fuel efficiency can drastically affect the lifetime owning and operating costs of a machine.
Having too much or too little horsepower for the job at hand can waste large amounts of fuel. Idle time, improper operator behaviors, jobsite travel patterns and maintenance can also affect fuel efficiency. On select CASE wheel loaders, the optional five-speed lock-up torque converter can also improve fuel efficiency in some applications (in addition to improving acceleration and hill climbing).
Each Tier 4 emissions solution also affects fuel efficiency differently. CASE Construction Equipment’s full-scale F Series wheel loaders (521F – 1121F) feature SCR technology. As an after-treatment system, SCR lets the engine run at peak performance, which provides faster throttle response while also maintaining lower temperatures and delivering up to 20 percent better fuel efficiency. Fuel savings can be furthered with these machines as they feature a standard engine shutdown option — allowing owners to limit engine idle time.
Tip #3: Weight, Counterweight
One of the highest “take rates” among options on CASE wheel loaders is the counterweight, which helps improve lift capacity, traction and machine stability. Roughly 80 percent of full-sized CASE wheel loader buyers choose a counterweight.
Tip #4: Smooth Ride
Another option with approximately an 80 percent take rate is Ride Control. Ride Control was custom built for wheel loader use. It automatically reduces loader arm bounce at elevated speeds and features industry-leading adjustable speed settings, giving operators full control of their load retention and comfort.
Tip #5: Understand Arm Configurations
Depending on the model, most wheel loaders are available in Z-bar (standard, most common), XR (extended reach) and XT (tool carrier) configurations. While Z-bar is the most common, XR models are popular in agricultural applications for placing materials and reaching high bins, while XT arms are popular in material handling applications with forks for handling of palletized and bulk materials.
Tip #6: Make it Comfortable
Your operators are spending upwards of 10 hours a day in the machine. It’s important that the machine has features to keep them comfortable, cool and engaged.
Air conditioning, heat and a radio are some of the top features to look for when evaluating different machines. CASE wheel loaders feature one of the industry’s quietest and most spacious cabs with a dual air filtration system and optional heated air-ride seat, guaranteed to keep operators comfortable during long shifts.
CASE also offers an award-winning joystick control package that helps reduce operator fatigue. It even helps shorten cycle times with its low effort, responsive design.
Tip #7: Make it Visible
Floor-to-ceiling windows, like those found in CASE F Series wheel loaders, allow operators to view everything happening around them on the jobsite and down to the bucket or attachment.
Optional lighting – including new LED light packages available on CASE wheel loaders – also helps improve visibility while working at night and dusk, and helps improve jobsite awareness of machine movements.
Tip #8: Go Heavy Duty
Optional heavy-duty axles with open differentials are available for use with solid tires on hard surfaces to provide greater traction. The locking differential option is recommended for use in traction-limited conditions to provide better traction.
Tip #9: Go to the Extreme
Wheel loader manufacturers offer packages designed for specific operating cases, including waste handling, agriculture and snow removal – but all wheel loader buyers should take into consideration the extremes of their environment and add options based on that, from low-temperature packages up to specialized heavy debris cooling systems and specialized guarding.
Tip #10: Couple Up
When faced with the decision to go with a quick coupler and auxiliary hydraulics, keep this in mind: The ability to quickly switch between a wide variety of attachments expands the capabilities of that machine. Consider both the attachments you need now and the attachments you may need on future jobsites. Forks, specialty buckets, snow removal attachments, grapples and agricultural attachments all expand the functionality of the machine based on the application.
Tip #11: Get Covered
Manufacturer and dealer support is a critical in maintaining the longevity of a machine, minimizing downtime and ensuring the machine runs as efficiently as possible. Before purchasing a new wheel loader, research the different warranties and support programs offered with each machine.
CASE ProCare – offered on all CASE wheel loaders from the 521F and up – is the most complete maintenance and support warranty offered in the industry. Standard on all CASE machines, ProCare offers a three-year/3,000-hour full machine factory warranty, three-year/3,000-hour planned maintenance contract, and three-year Advanced SiteWatch telematics subscription.
Tip #12: Make Service Simple
Look for machines that offer easy access to important maintenance compartments. On CASE wheel loaders, daily maintenance is simple thanks to ground-level service checks, eye-level fluid gauges and an electronically lifted rear hood that provides complete engine access. Routine cleaning is made easy due to the mid-mounted cooling module that limits debris buildup. The Sy-Klone ejective air pre-cleaner extends air filter life, helps reduce costs related to parts, labor and downtime, extends engine life and helps further improve fuel efficiency.