July 1, 2012
Kawasaki intros first two models of 15 machine lineup.
Shipments started this April on the first two models of Kawasaki’s Z7 wheel loader lineup, the 85Z7 and the 90Z7. These will be joined by four additional Z7 machines by the end of this year, with an eventual 15 models in the line.
“The Z7 is a dramatically different machine,” says Gary Bell, vice president-general manager, Kawasaki Construction Machinery Corp. of America, noting that both Kawasaki and Hitachi engineers worked on the machine as a joint venture that began in 2008. “Virtually every part is new.” Immediately apparent is the series’ new styling and all-new cab, offering enhanced visibility with full-length glass doors.
Both machines offer a standard package of previously optional equipment, including a forward/reverse switch, an integrated backup camera, a battery disconnect switch, turn signals with flashers, and lifting eyes. In addition, the 90Z7 has a standard lock-up torque converter and traction control. Limited slip differential will be standard on the 85Z7 models and under.
Kawasaki says the new line up offers lower operating costs and fuel-efficient variable displacement piston pumps. “Kawasaki is a leader in piston pumps in excavators (not sold in North America), but we’ve never used them in our loaders,” Bell says. “They are much more fuel efficient, since they only use energy when the hydraulics are used, in comparison to gear pumps, which run all the time.” Bell says the Z7’s open-center/load-sensing hydraulics is an industry exclusive for loaders.
The Z7’s IntelliTech systems help the operator adapt to working conditions and can be automatic or operator selected. These systems include:
• The patented IntelliDig, which kicks into action as the bucket moves into a pile. “It balances rimpull and hydraulic force,” Bell explains, “metering out power as the bucket comes through the pile and helping avoid a situation where the hydraulics are overpowered.”
• Simul-Load, which gives operators the ability to both tilt the bucket and raise the loader arms simultaneously while digging, then go to tilt-priority control in the upper range of the lift. Operators can set when in the lift they want the system to switch over to tilt-priority.
• Quick Cycle, used when approaching a truck or dump site with a raised loaded bucket, does not allow a second-to-third gear upshift “until the boom is fully in range,” Bell says.
A quick power-mode button, located on the side of the left control lever, gives operators a power boost for hill climbing, digging into a pile, or whenever additional rim pull is needed. The machine will stay in the power mode until a transmission change.
Two down-shift buttons, located at the top and side of the right control lever, allow down shifting one gear for added rimpull. And a shift-hold button holds the transmission in gear when needed.
Kawasaki says it’s the only loader manufacturer to offer HN bushings, which come from the Hitachi side of the machine development. Every time the pin is greased, the lubricant is replenished. During operation, oil oozes from the pores of the bushing into the clearance between pins and bushing, providing lubrication and extending the lube interval to 500 hours. Hydraulic and engine oil intervals have been doubled from previous models: 4,000 hours on hydraulic oil when using KCM SuperEX46 oil, and 500 hours when using the CJ-4 low-ash engine oil, required on Tier 4 engines.
• First articulated wheel loader manufactured in 1962.
• First Japanese-branded wheel loader, the ZII, introduced to the United States in 1978.
• Newnan, Ga., assembly facility operational since 1988.
• Development joint venture with Hitachi began in 2008.
• 80-plus North American dealers.
• 15,000-plus retailed loaders in North America.