LeTourneau loader uses diesel and regenerative energy sources

  • 12-Jan-2009 10:10 EST
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A typical loading cycle wastes noticeable amounts of energy during the braking process (top), while a typical diesel-dc loader recovers very little of the energy from the braking (middle). LeTourneau says its system retains energy that would otherwise be lost, for marked fuel savings (bottom).

Longview, TX-based LeTourneau Technologies has introduced a new diesel-electric loader, the L-1150. More than 30 years ago, the company introduced the first diesel-electric wheeled loader and has been working since then to improve the design. This latest model is designed to load 150- to 200-ton (136- to 181-t) haul trucks.

Either Cummins or Detroit Diesel engines can be ordered with the L-1150, which power the electric motors. This method keeps the diesel running at a steady rpm, thus saving fuel that would be spent accelerating and slowing the engine.

Power is also obtained from braking so that formerly lost energy is not wasted. Energy is stored in capacitors prior to use, allowing for a marked improvement in fuel efficiency. Also adding to the improved environmental approach is the electric-drive system itself, which eliminates mechanical drive components and their associated lubricants.

The L-1150 is four-wheel drive, and with the traction control system preventing the 50/65-51 tires from slipping and thus potential damage, LeTourneau says they last longer.

Equipped with a modular, liquid-cooled IGBT (insulated-gate bipolar transistor) converter and LeTourneau’s LINCS II control system that uses a state-of-the-art microprocessor for full digital control and monitoring, the L-1150's system offers real-time data availability to the operator, including hydraulic, electric, engine, and traction-drive statistics as well as load information and times.

Improved ergonomics and joystick steering and bucket controls are new elements of the cab. The standard 25-yd3 (19-m3) bucket also shows up on the LINCS system, telling the operator about bucket height, angle, load, truck loads, cycle times, and total tonnage. All the information is automatically stored for future retrieval and analysis.

The diesel-electric drive and regenerative power savings cause the L-1150 to consume less fuel than comparable models; in some cases, up to $100 per hour is saved, according to LeTourneau.

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