With winter now arriving in earnest, JCB’s timely offer extends to it 3CX and 4CX backhoe loader models. The system is not just a benefit to operator comfort, the manufacturer points out: it also means the machine is ready to start its daily shift more quickly, boosting productivity. It also removes the requirement for an engine block heater in cold weather and so extends engine life by reducing cold starts.
The system can be activated using a 24-hour timer, with up to three pre-set start times, or manually through a switch in the cab. The heater can also be used manually throughout the day, when the machine is not in use, maintaining a comfortable working environment for the driver. It works by using a water heater that is integrated into the engine’s coolant circuit.
The water heater unit automatically runs a safety check before heating, before starting an integrated diesel-fuelled burner. Atomised fuel is sprayed into the combustion chamber and ignited with a high-tension spark. The hot combustion gases flow through a heat exchanger, which transfers the heat to the engine coolant system. This thermal energy is forwarded to the cab through the machine’s ventilation outlets, with residual warmth remaining in the engine.
As the heater is electronically and thermostatically controlled, it works intermittently, only burning for the amount of time required to reach the desired temperature. It consumes 0.27-0.62 litres/hour of fuel.
As the heater runs off the machine’s own fuel supply, there is no requirement for additional tanks or storage. There is also no need for an external power supply, as with an electric block heating system, so the machine can be left in remote areas overnight.
JCB chief innovation and growth officer Tim Burnhope said: “This is another fantastic innovation on JCB’s backhoe loaders that will allow operators to simply get in and drive, without having to defrost windscreens or warm through the engine. As well as providing greater comfort for the operator it will cut downtime and boost productivity for the customer.”