A select group of Kawasaki wheel loader-users were invited to attend the launch of the latest version of the famous Japanese company’s 90Z range in Middelburg recently.

Rather than hosting a glitzy and glamorous event for this “tough-guy” of the wheel loader industry, the sub-Saharan Africa distributor, ELB Equipment, rather chose to flex the new Kawasaki 90Z6 ample muscles and put it into operation to show the guests what it can do. This was perhaps more in keeping with the nature of Kawasaki wheel loaders, that usually quietly shoulder the load and go about their work with minimal fuss and fanfare.

But that does not mean that the big new loader does not put on a good show, which it certainly does. Its growling 10.8L six-cylinder turbo-charged engine hints at the power of the machine, while its solid and modern lines give an indication of its strength and durability. Yet in operation its performance is more measured and economical, using only the amount of power it needs to do the job effortlessly and efficiently with more than enough power on-tap only if it needs it.

Improved efficiency

Speaking at the launch of the Kawasaki 90Z6, ELB Equipment divisional director, Desmond van Heerden, said the new machine is the sixth evolution of the popular 24-tonne model designated the 90Z6. But the new model is an all-round improved machine boasting more power, active engine controls for efficient operation and a host of clever features that make the beefier machine at least 10% more fuel efficient than its predecessor.

It is also smarter in its operation with digging control intelligence built-in to sense when the machine is digging to proportion rim pull to hydraulics and balance engine performance to optimise fuel usage. The efficient operation also increases operator speed and efficiency and plays a part in reducing wear and tear.

It also comes standard with Kawasaki’s own telemetry system that monitors everything from fuel consumption to temperatures, service and maintenance schedules as well as reminders with emails generated to fleet managers (and the distributor). This gives prewarning and allows parts and manpower to be scheduled thereby ensuring minimal disruption when work is done. It also allows managers to track and monitor productivity of operators as well as the cost efficiency of the machine in relation to the work being undertaken.

Simple maintenance

“Although it is a smart machine, the Kawasaki 90Z6 is not highly electronic nor overcomplicated. It maintains its simplicity to enable operators to use it even in remote sites throughout Africa without the need for specialist technicians.

“However, the smart appeal of telematics is that it can allow remote setting and interventions if required to further reduce maintenance on site. Physically, the 90Z6 is geared for production through the control of energy only to where it is required. Other improvements include easy serviceability, higher hinge pins for higher tipping, and improved static tipping load to facilitate heavier loads etc.

“Arguably It is also a more stylish machine that looks like a hard-working beast and performs like a beast. This can already be attested to by our prelaunch test customers who have logged up to 2200 hours already with nothing but praise for the new machine. This mirrors its operation in Turkey where the fleet has grown to well over 100 machines with 7000+ hours and still performing as reliably as ever,” says Desmond.

Renowned durability

Kawasaki Construction Machinery (KCM) director and general manager for quality management, Takahiro Hashimoto, says that Kawasaki wheel loaders are renowned across the globe as the toughest and most durable machines in the harshest of conditions and the new 90Z6 will be no different. KCM originating from one of the world’s largest industrial companies (Kawasaki Heavy Industries) and manufactures the steel and majority of the parts inhouse under strictly controlled quality regimes.

“Our philosophy is to make the best possible machines that are as powerful, durable and reliable as possible for the jobs they are intended for.Each one produced is required to be completely fit-for-purpose and carefully manufactured to the exact requirement of the market that they are sold in. In South Africa that means we still make them tough, reliable and simpler so that they can be confidently used in any application – even in remote areas.

“Although our factory is in Japan is up-to-date with technology we still believe in engineering every part and function of our loaders and we still employ skilled craftsmen to manufacture our machines in tandem with highly automated plant equipment. For us everything must be carefully manufactured, measured and tested everyone - one-by-one, piece-by-piece to ensure it is correct. Each part is also traceable so in the event of problems we can address these timeously,” he says.

Close cooperation

KCM global marketing manager, Shinji Suzuki, adds that the new Kawasaki 90Z6 follows in a proud tradition of wheel loaders that have been produced since 1965. In South Africa the relationship with ELB Equipment spans 15 years and has led to the popularisation of the machines throughout the region.

During this time the companies have also collaborated to fine-tune and develop machines that are specially manufactured for tough African conditions. “Every year we send out a full delegation from KCM Japan, including engineers, commercial and business development experts to evaluate our equipment’s performance on local sites. This information is then gathered and taken back to Japan to improve and meet customers’ requirements. During this time, we also have strategic meetings with ELB Equipment to fine-tune our operations.”

ELB Equipment has branches throughout South Africa and a comprehensive dealer network that spans the entire sub Saharan Africa. Parts, spares and field services are readily available throughout all regions.

ELB Equipment, Rhett O’Neill, Tel: (011) 306 0700, Email: rhetto@elbquip.co.za, Web: www.elbequipment.com

ENDS…


Specifications

Bucket Size - Std bucket capacity (SAE) heaped (m³)

Static Tipping Load – 17 740kg

Machine weight – 24 tonne

Net power (kW @ rpm) (SAE J1349) - 212 @ 2 100

“Efficient operation also increases operator speed and efficiency and plays a part in reducing wear and tear”

“We still employ skilled craftsmen to manufacture our machines in tandem with highly automated plant equipment”

Captions

1. The Kawasaki 90Z6 is one of the toughest wheel loaders in the business

2. Des van Heerden of ELB Equipment

3. Takahiro Hashimoto of Kawasaki

4. Shinji Suzuki of Kawasaki

5. Customers attend ELB Equipment’s launch of the all new Kawasaki 90Z6 wheel loader in Middelburg recently

Prepared on behalf of ELB Equipment, Retha Lombard, PR officer, Tel: (011) 306 0725, Email: rethal@elbquip.co.za, Web: www.elbequipment.com

By Media Savvy Communications, Raymond Campling, Tel: (011) 973 0108, Email: media@mediasavvy.biz