Volvo celebrates 50 years of wheel loaders

It was fifty years ago this month that the term ‘wheel loader’ began being used for the first time.

Swedish companies Broderna Lundberg’s Mekaniska and AB Bolinder-Munktell, early Volvo ventures, were the first to turn a traditional tractor back-to-front, placing the loader unit over the larger rear wheels. By doing so, the companies found that the machine could carry heavier loads and produce higher breakout forces than with the tractor-based front-end loader.

Volvo’s first wheel loader, the H10, was also the world’s first with attachment bracket, parallel movement and double-acting lift cylinders.

By the 1960s, Volvo’s wheel loaders began featuring more powerful engines, Power Shift, four-wheel drive and the first hydraulic attachment bracket. In the 1970s and 1980s, the modern articulated wheel loader was developed with a load-sensing steering system and an automatic shift system .

Recent innovations for Volvo in the wheel loader market continue. The company launched the L150 in 1991, which for the first time included the lift arm system TP-linkage, a more comfortable cab and an electronic monitoring and control system. In 2001, the company launched its newest wheel loaders, the E-series.