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Liebherr Completely Redesigns TA 230 Articulated Dump Truck

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Liebherr has unveiled its next generation of articulated dump trucks to customers in the U.S.

The TA 230 Litronic was redeveloped from scratch, based on comprehensive market and customer analyses, and includes state-of-the-art technological advancements, the company says. It is designed for overburden transport, larger infrastructure projects and other off-road applications.

New machine concept

The overall design of the front end of the truck increases ground clearance. The powershift transmission has been positioned under the cab, and the exhaust gas aftertreatment is installed behind the cab, allowing for a large hood-slope angle for increased visibility. A touch display with integrated rear camera increases visibility in the rear.

“The visibility on this machine is unparalleled compared to anything you’ve seen,” said Chris Crews, Liebherr USA articulated truck product manager, noting the lack of A-frame bars through the windows for a more panoramic view. 

With the hood mounted at a 7-degree angle, Crews said, someone can stand in front of the hood and the driver can still see the person. “That’s money in your pocket for not running somebody over,” he quipped.

New LED lighting also increase visibility for both the operator and everyone around the truck. For example. dipped-beam headlamps with integrated high beams illuminate the road, and optional LED headlights light up the working area. Additional lighting is provided at the rear of the dump bed and another light package at the mudguards to improve maneuvering at night. There is an optional LED access light for safety when getting into the cab.

“This is definitely the brightest machine on the market,” said Karsten Kloecker, Liebherr area sales manager.

Powerful drive 

A 6-cylinder, 360 horsepower Tier 4 Final diesel engine, paired with an automatic eight-speed powershift transmission, with actively controlled longitudinal differential locks, offers travel speed of 35 mph, and 9.9 mph in reverse. Despite the size of the engine, it is configured to limit sound.

“This is the perfect truck for working in urban and populated areas,” said Mike Randall, Liebherr general manager product manager. “It reduces noise pollution, and you get no complaints from the neighbors.” 

The TA 230 is equipped with both hill assist and speed assist. With the hard stop function, the end position damping of the dump-bed lifting cylinders can be activated or deactivated at the touch of a button. The speed-dependent steering continuously adapts the ratio of the steering movements to the current speed. This allows easy and accurate maneuvering at low speeds, but also accurate steering at higher speeds, as well as fewer steering corrections when cornering or taking bends. 

“The braking system on the TA 230 is state-of-the-art automatic retardation of the engine and the powertrain, ensuring smooth stops and further reducing stress on the operator,” Randall said. “As a bonus, this feature almost ensures maintenance-free brakes for life, and of course, the more money saved means more profitability.”

Also, the redesigned articulated swivel joint allows independent movements of the front and rear end for increased maneuverability. The positive-locking swivel joint with tapered roller bearing handles stress arising during use and optimal force distribution, the company says. To further maintain high ground clearance the front axle suspension is secured with A-rods and shock absorbers at the articulated swivel joint and separate and oscillating A-rods of the rear axles at the rear end. Automatic traction control is also available for the TA 230, meaning that as soon as slipping occurs at an axle, the torque is transferred to the axle or axles with traction. 

Wheel loader dumping into TA 230 ADTOptimized dump bed shape: The front is straight and the sills are low so that loading with a wheel loader, for example, is possible across the entire length.Liebherr

More material, shorter time 

The dump bed of the new TA 230 Litronic is designed for transport of up to 28 tons. Numerous improvements have been made to the dump bed for quick and efficient loading and unloading, as well as safe transport of the material, Liebherr says. The front of the dump bed is straight, and the sills are low, so that loading with a wheel loader is possible across the entire length. 

A standard weighing system shows the current payload during the loading process on the display in the cab. An optional loading light on both sides at the back of the cab shows the loading level outdoors. To accelerate the release of the material during unloading, the inner edges of the dump bed are tapered. Other options include dump bed heating with exhaust gas management so unloading can easily be completed at cooler temperatures. 

Two tipping cylinders at the side allow the load to be tipped against the slope easily and quickly. Thanks to the large opening width, tipping of large and bulky transported material is easily possible, the company says. During transportation, the long chute ensures minimal material loss. The dump bed volume can be increased with an optional tailgate. Even with the tailgate the overall width of the TA 230 is below 10 feet, which allows it to be transported on a lowboy trailer.

TA 230 Litronic operating in off-road conditions.The new TA 230 Litronic is designed for challenging off-road applications and offers superb off-road capability, maximum traction and combined pulling force.Liebherr

Maintenance-friendly

The TA 230 automatically runs daily checks on itself with sensor technology. It runs through an inspection catalogue at the start, in which levels of engine oil, coolant and the central lubrication system are checked. Any deviations are shown on the display in the cab. As a result, the daily set-up times can be reduced, costs can be saved, and the durability of the components can be extended, Liebherr says.

The electrohydraulic-opening hood has an integrated folding ladder with non-slip steps to access the entire engine. All relevant service points are visible and easily accessible with maintenance able to be performed from a platform. Many routine service points are accessible at ground level, including for fuel. In addition, general service points are always on the cold side of the engine.

Quick specs

  • Empty vehicle weight: 54,200 lbs.
  • Payload: 61,800 lbs.
  • Max. dump bed capacity with tailgate: 23.67 yd³ 
  • Engine output (ISO 9249): 355 hp
  • Emission stage: Tier 4 Final
  • Max. driving speed: 35.40 mph (forward) / 9.90 mph (reverse)

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Volvo electrifies 22-metric-ton excavator

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Taking the next step to battery power for its machine lineup, Volvo Construction Equipment has electrified its first large crawler excavator as a customer pilot.

Designed and built at the Volvo facilities in Changwon, South Korea, the 22-metric-ton EC230 electric excavator, which is not yet commercially available, has been tested by customers in South Korea and China. Now the EC230 E machines are due to come to North America for demos.         

Studio shot (white background) of Volvo EC230E excavatorThis marks the first large excavator that Volvo has electrified.Volvo CE

Remi Teysseire, excavator product manager, discussed some of the high points of the EC230 at the recent Volvo Days event. 

During his presentation, he said it offers the same features as the EC220, the diesel-powered conventional excavator in the same size class. 

“We can bring the same tool size. We have the same digging forces, the same lifting capacities with the added value to have less noise and zero emissions,” Teysseire said. 

With its battery power, the excavator is expected to achieve 60-70% reduction of energy running costs compared to the EC220. Teysseire said the EC230 E is equipped with four 66-kilowatt lithium-ion battery packs that enable the operator to work four to five hours in general purpose applications. With a high-power fast charge on a lunch hour, the machine should last through a full eight-hour shift.

He said Volvo is working on various power supply options for jobsites, including a faster charger and onboard chargers, which some of the machines are already equipped with. 

Hydraulic pumps are identical to those for the EC220, providing the same performance, except they are now driven by an electric motor. “We are consuming electricity only when the operator needs to work with the machine,” Teysseire said. “In other words, the idle time is gone.”

The EC230 E marks the first time Volvo CE has developed electric customer pilot machines for China. These excavators are not commercially available yet, but during this research phase, Volvo CE aims to mature them quickly so that they can be commercialized as soon as possible. The machine was first showcased at bauma China 2020.

“China is the largest electromobility market globally and a leading producer of electromobility components, which provides the demand and means to manufacture a machine locally,” said Mats Sköldberg, head of technology at Volvo CE China. “In addition, China has an industrial strategy to decrease dependence on diesel and so the electromobility market is expected to move quicker. These factors make China the perfect place to test our new machines and gain valuable customer feedback.” 

Earlier this year, Volvo CE opened orders for its newest electric machines, the L20 electric compact wheel loader and the EC18 and ECR18 electric compact excavators. Deliveries of the three newest models to North American customers will begin in 2023.

According to Volvo, as development of the electric machines continues, the diesel versions of Volvo’s compact equipment will be phased out. The compact line of electric equipment is only the first in the line as engineers develop the systems for larger construction machines such as the EC230 E.

“These new machines will drive our activity in a new era,” Teysseire said.

Check out the video below for an intro to the EC230.

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Sany Group enters electric pickup race

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Sany Group, a Chinese construction equipment and large truck manufacturer, is reportedly getting into the electric pickup truck race.

Over the past two months, two sets of images of futuristic-looking electric pickup truck models from Sany have leaked from China’s patent bureau office, according to CarNewsChina. It appears the construction equipment manufacturer is going all-in on a new venture.

Sany’s plans for either design that have been unveiled remain unknown. It is possible both models, which have a more futuristic vibe with one being a sportier style, may be brought to the market, or both could remain design concepts and be used only as promotional tools. 

Still, according to CarNewsChina, it is possible Sany will unveil these electric pickups in November at the Guangzhou Auto Show. For now, these trucks are not expected to be a U.S.-focused product and may only be available in China and elsewhere overseas for testing and release first. Sany North America currently is not involved with this product and has no information on it.

The patent for the pickup is held by Hunan Xingbida Network Technology, which was launched in 2019 with Sany Group as the sole shareholder.

Sany Group electric truck preliminary design photosResembling the Tesla Cybertruck, it appears Sany is going for more of the futuristic style versus the standard truck look.CarNewsChinaPreliminary images leaked in early May had the truck branded as Sany, not Xingbida. The initial set of images have a very futuristic vide, reminiscent of the concept images of the Tesla Cybertruck except a bit bulkier. No specifications are currently available in terms of bed length, anticipated towing capacities or mileage. 

In the first set of images, the vehicle is shown as a two-door vehicle with a large front, low roof and short bed. Side images appear to suggest good ground clearance, and overall, it does appear smaller than a regular full-size pickup.

The second set of images features a more colorful and sportier version of the original concept. Most of the images show a two-door, but this set included one four-door version. Sideview of Sany Group's preliminary electric truck conceptThe sideview of the preliminary concept suggests reasonable ground clearance, a large front, low roof and shorter bed.CarNewsChina

As shared online by CarNewsChina, the unique design features an illuminated Sany badge, small headlights and LED daytime running lights, two large tow hooks and a winch on the front end. The images also show the Sany truck with pronounced front and rear wheel arches that are finished in gray to contrast the rest of the truck’s red paint. It appears to have pop-out handles, that sit flush with the bodywork and has a set of large side steps and handles on the C-pillars.

A shark-fin style antenna maintains the sleek design of the truck, although the sporty red version seems slightly more truck-like versus the more futuristic preliminary photos. Lastly, the sport version noticeably includes a tow hook.

In recent years, a growing number of automotive companies have released or announced intentions of upcoming electric pickup trucks. Some of the models expected to hit the market soon include the 2022 Rivian R1T; 2022 GMC Hummer EV; 2023 Tesla Cybertruck; 2023 Bollinger B2; 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning; 2024 Ram 1500 Electric; and 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.

Front end image of sport Sany Electric TruckThe unique design features an illuminated Sany badge, small headlights, and LED daytime running lights which resemble eyebrows, two large tow hooks and a winch on the front end.CarNewsChina

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New V8 Ford Raptor R makes surprise appearance

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Eat my dust.

Not sure if Ford will be adding that classic snub to its marketing lexicon but you can’t help but think they might be considering it following a recent surprise Raptor R visit that left journalists staring at a huge cloud of dust. 

Fox News auto reporter Gary Gastelu reported recently that the V8-powered truck roared into view while reporters were attending a Ford Bronco R event in Johnson Valley, California. 

“An F-150 Raptor R came storming through the desert past the assembled journalists, but not closely enough for them to get a good look,” writes Gastelu who went on to say that the sound of the truck’s V8 “could not be missed.”

Ford CEO Jim Farley tweeted a brief video that shows reporters parked in a lineup of Bronco R’s as the Raptor R blasts into view and does a monster slide and donut before roaring out of view (see video below). 

Ford’s marketing folks definitely get a big thumbs up for pulling off such a surprising and dramatic entrance. Doubtless, the buzz would have been even bigger if the truck jumped over the current Raptor while AC/DC’s classic “For Those About to Rock” jammed inside those Bronco Rs. Yeah…that would have been the best OEM event ever, even besting the helicopter drop of Chevy’s 2019 Silverado Z71 Trail Boss reveal nearly five years back at the Texas Motor Speedway. 

Though Ford’s not talking numbers yet, everyone knows that they need to best Ram’s amazing 702-horsepower TRX. Motorheads were thrilled when Ford rolled out its 7.3-liter Godzilla V8 a few years ago. The big block can be spec’d in Ford’s Super Duty trucks and is available as a crate engine for “those about to rock,” since as Hot Rod magazine put it, the engine “packs monster potential.” 

But arguably there’s been more fingers pointing toward Ford’s other V8s, namely their 5.0- and 5.2-liter. Those engines would cut weight over the TRX’s hefty supercharged 6.2-liter. I’m not so sure though that either the 5.0 or 5.2 would prove all that helpful in reducing the lawn dart effect, that is the tendency of a front-heavy truck to want to nose-dive when airborne. 

Power opportunities with either the 5.0 or 5.2 look promising. Hennessey was able to squeeze 758 horses out of its 5.0-liter V8 Velociraptor, which gives it a 56-horsepower advantage over the TRX. 

Of course, though they’re a little late to the super truck segment, you have to wonder what Chevy has in store. The big reveal of the Silverado ZR2 Bison will take place this summer. Car & Driver reported that the “Silverado ZR2’s 420-hp 6.2-liter V-8, spool-valve dampers, knobby 33-inch all-terrain tires, and electronic locking front and rear diffs should go untouched.” 

Right off the bat, in terms of power, that would put the Silverado Bison behind the TRX and the Raptor, so I’m not so sure I’m buying into the notion of a 420-horsepower V8. Regardless, what an impressive and historic time for pickups. More power and features keep coming. The downside though is historic inflation, which includes crazy high fuel prices like a never-before-seen national average of over $5 a gallon for regular. 

Yes, surging fuel costs make all-electric pickups look more attractive, and with their head-snapping instant torque, it may not be long before they snatch those “eat my dust” trophies away from their ICE counterparts. But getting airborne in an EV? While it won’t be as front heavy and thus as prone to lawn-dart landings, I just don’t like the idea of catching air with a lithium-ion battery pack that, if cracked, can turn into a monstrous torch. I’d rather wait for nonflammable and more powerful solid-state packs. That will obviously take some time, but there’s no doubt that they’re coming.

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