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New Holland reveals new generation B Series PRO wheeled excavators in Turin

Digger Blogger | 15:50, Sun November 11 2012

The Digger Blog has just returned from a couple of days in the beautiful city of Turin in Italy, where I witnessed the presentation of a new range of wheeled excavators from New Holland, The event was held in conjunction with the company’s Grand Prix 2012 operator challenge final.

The new line up consists of three brand new models, the WE150B PRO, WE170B PRO & WE190B PRO, which range in weight from 15 to 19 tonnes. Two models (the 15 and 17 tonne models) were on display at the event for the assembled press to inspect and try out. The machines are a brand new design, which have been designed and manufactured to provide reliability, first class performance, precision, and above all, ease of use for the operators. These points were described by New Holland’s product specialist Antonio Strati, as the four main pillars behind the design process of this new range of machines.

At the heart of the new B Series range is a high performance, large displacement Tier IIIA engine, which offers high torque and power. The WE150B is powered by a 122.4 hp (90 kw) engine, with the WE170B being powered by a 142.8 hp (105 kw) model. The engines are coupled to a 3-pump hydraulic system, which includes a dedicated swing pump, to ensure that no power is lost from other hydraulic functions when slewing. The machines also benefit from an auto power boost function, which increases hydraulic pressure by up to 370 bar when digging gets tough, this results in an extremely fast and productive machine, offering rapid cycle times and all round efficiency on site.

A common feature on new machines these days, is ease of access for routine maintenance and servicing. The new B Series pro range also has excellent accessibility to service points from ground level. All oil and fuel filters can be easily accessed from the right hand rear panel and are conveniently located around the hydraulic pump housing.

On the other side of the machine, two large hinged doors open up to allow access to the side-by-side radiator layout, which results in extremely reliable cooling and aids cleaning of any debris that may accumulate during dusty summer months. Also included on this side is access to the air filter, radiator expansion bottle and wiper wash refill bottle.

The new machines also feature a re-engineered electro-hydraulic system, which now only relies on one CPU, instead of the three controllers, as on the outgoing models. New software has been developed to maximise the machines uptime and to deliver clear and concise diagnostics. This new system has been rigorously tested to ensure long time performance and reliability.

On the undercarriage front, the machines have been fitted with new heavy-duty ZF axles and transmission, which provides superb traction on site, and when “roading”, the machine can deliver a higher maximum travel speed of 35 kph. Ground clearance has also been improved which is always a bonus when working on rugged and un-even ground, that we encounter on the jobsite.

Climbing into the cab of a wheeled excavator can often be a daunting experience for those who have not encountered them in the course of their operating careers. I have operated various wheeled excavators over the years, but one thing I liked about the cab layout in these new models was the level of simplicity inside. Controls and switches were nicely laid out and kept to a minimum, which in my opinion can only be a good thing. Visibility, as one might expect, is very good from this all new cab design, with the integrated rear view camera in the dashboard, offering good vision behind at all times. The spacious cab features a heated air suspension seat, full auto air conditioning, radio with USB port and Bluetooth for mobile phones as standard, and is ROPS and FOPS compliant.  

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A travel control switch pad is provided on the steering column, with which the operator can select road mode, creep speed, gear shifting and axle lock, all on the touch of a button. Conveniently placed foot pedals to the right of the steering column control travel and brakes, with the brake pedal incorporating the familiar brake lockdown facility. To the left of the steering column two pedals are located, one which operates the two piece boom and an additional pedal for auxiliary attachments. Travel direction is selected by using a series of three buttons, consisting of forward, neutral and reverse, which are located on the right hand joystick.  

The operator has a choice of work modes to match the task in hand, as has become the norm with machines today. There is also an adjustable swing speed function available, enabling the operator to tailor the slew speed/power and brake force according to his needs at the time. There is also a levelling mode available, which can be selected from the left hand joystick, this mode is said to offer the operator the highest level of precision during fine grading operations.

In this shot, New Holland’s demonstration operator Steve, a veteran of many SED shows here in the UK in the past, was displaying the machine's impressive balance and stability on the demo plot. The design of the B Series PRO range, optimises weight distribution and minimises the offset of the undercarriage, resulting in very good stability, and high lifting capability. The machine is not a compact model, but rear overhang is extremely minimal.

Uptake for stick time amongst the assembled journalists was very high on the first day, and unfortunately the New Holland team was not aware that I am a full time machine operator. However I did manage to get a brief spell on the WE170B on the second day, which was the day of the Grand Prix final. Sadly heavy rain persisted virtually all day, making conditions tough for everyone involved.

During my time on it, I found the WE170B to be an extremely comfortable and operator friendly machine to operate, with all important controls and functions easily accessible from the fully adjustable seat. Digging conditions on the demo plot were fairly hard, with the ground consisting of gravel and large stones, but the machine coped admirably, and you could sense the auto power boost function kicking in during the hard digging period.

 I was also impressed with the machine's stability even when working over the side without any outriggers or blade on the ground. The model on the demo plot only had a short dipper arm, which is more suited for heavy lifting work, and I would have liked to have tried one with the longer dipper, which we in the UK prefer. Longer dippers are much easier for grading works, as you are not chasing the arm down so much during the work cycle.

New Holland have expressed an interest in getting me back out to Turin at a later date so I can spend more time on the latest machines and really put them to the test, so I am really looking forward to that next year. I did get to spend some brief time on the new E140C SR during my visit, and I will share my thoughts on that machine and full report on the Grand Prix Final in upcoming posts on the blog soon. In the meantime, I would like to thank the whole team at New Holland in Turin for inviting the Digger Blog to this event.

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