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Punchestown debut for new Komatsu wheel loader -ACM wheel loader
2015-02-11 10:55:50
Amongst the machines making their debut at the FTMTA farm machinery show in Punchestown is the new Komatsu WA320-7 wheel loader.
 
Being exhibited alongside Zetor and Merlo on the McHale Plant Sales stand, the WA320-7 is an upgrade of the WA320-6 model that was beginning to prove popular amongst a number of leading contractors as a silage, grain and feed stores handler. Its various features include a 3.2-tonnes capacity bucket.
 
According to Komatsu the WA320-7 marries a well proven hydrostatic drivetrain with Komatsu’s Tier 4 interim engine technology that reduces fuel economy by up to 10%. The WA320-7 has a parallel lift boom with 10% more lift than the previous model and z-bar linkage for high breakout force for digging.
 
he company bought the Kawasaki from May Equipment in Columbia, S.C., mostly because of how durable and reliable an older generation loader, the 115Z-IV, has proven to be for Thompson Contractors. The firm’s old machine, in constant use for 15 years, has racked up an incredible 39,000 hours scooping up rock and dumping it onto 65-ton (58.9 t) trucks for transport.
Seay’s crews have operated it about 55 hours a week in all those years.
It has never needed a major repair in 15 years, nor has the engine or transmission ever needed to be rebuilt.
And it is still in use.
“We’re replacing our 115Z-IV with this new one and we will keep the older machine as a spare,” Seay said. “We’ll do a little bit of maintenance to it as far as rebuilding the cylinders, which have not been done to it before. Then it goes right back to work.”
Toughness, Versatility Required
Thompson Contractors uses its Kawasaki 115 wheel loaders at its quarries as yard loaders but also as backup in case one of its hydraulic shovels breaks down, according to Seay.
Randy Will, Webster County engineer, recommended purchasing a 2015 John Deere model 644K, Tier 4 Final wheel loader from Murphy Tractor and Equipment Co., for 6,900.
 
"The road department currently owns six wheel loaders, and they range in age from 1984 to 2012," Will said. "I budgeted to purchase a new wheel loader in fiscal year 2016 ... with delivery and payment after July 14th, or after that."
 
Quotes for a new wheel loader were limited to Murphy Tractor and Equipment, a John Deere provider, and Ziegler, Inc., which offers Caterpillar products.
 
"They are reputable, in-town dealers," Will said. "They have provided the department with equipment parts, repairs and warranty service for several years."