Volvo ‘H-Series 2.0’ updates bring new transmission, faster cycles to 4 loaders
Wayne Grayson | February 23, 2018

Volvo construction equipment has unveiled some major changes to its H-Series wheel loaders, including a new transmission and load-sensing hydraulics.

Dubbed the ‘H-Series 2.0’ updates, Volvo says the improvements bring faster cycle times, better fuel efficiency and improved productivity to the L150H, L180H, L220H and the L260H loaders. These loaders are designed to handle a wide variety of applications including material handling, waste and recycling, slag handling and block handling.

Wheel loader product manager Eric Yeomans says the “most significant changes” come from the new transmission “with shorter steps between gears,” and a new torque converter “with customizable lock-up settings.”

That new gearbox features the latest version of Volvo’s OptiShift technology. OptiShift allows the customizable lock-up engagement mentioned by Yeomans, but it also integrates Reverse-By-Braking functionality along with torque converter lock-up, which Volvo says creates “a direct drive between the engine and transmission.”

The H-Series 2.0 loaders now perform better at low speeds, thanks to the new torque converter, and feature faster acceleration and smoother operation thanks to the shorter steps between gears brought by the new transmission.

Volvo has also added load-sensing hydraulics in this update to enhance the responsiveness of attachments while improving the lifting and lowering speed of the boom. These improvements can increase productivity by up to 10 percent over Volvo’s G-Series loaders, the company says. Providing further assistance to operators is a bucket leveling function which allows the bucket to automatically return to level from dump and curl positions. A Load Assist system is an available option and keeps track of the amount of material moved in real time on a 10-inch touchscreen display.

Rounding out the 2.0 updates is an improvement in fuel efficiency up to 20 percent. Volvo says this improvement is the result of the new transmission, attachment optimization, and a new dry P-brake designed to eliminate drag losses. Further fuel savings are brought by the Eco pedal, which applies a push-back force whenever excess use of the accelerator is detected, and the new hydraulic system, which regenerates oil in the lift/tilt cylinder circuits and deactivates the hydraulic pumps.

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