Asheville, NC- “At Volvo, the way we look at all our G900 Series Graders is that each one is already a very capable base machine “right out of the box”,” says Brian Lowe, Product and Marketing Manager for Volvo Motor Graders. ” The wide stance parallel geometry of Volvo”s blade lift cylinders and a nearly horizontal side shift cylinder give any fine-grade operator a distinct advantage. The design minimizes the need for operator corrections as the blade is repositioned. This means less work and more precision to the ground. Couple this with Volvo”s predictable, consistent Proportional Demand Flow (PDF) hydraulic system and you have the industry”s most stable platform for accurate blade control.”
The seven models of the G900 range are the Volvo G930, G940, G946, G960, G970, G976 and the G990. The first four models are engineered with the 7.2 liter Volvo D7 engine. The larger three use 9.4 liter Volvo D9 engine. Volvo engines were optimized for grader applications, producing high torque at low engine speeds, delivering responsiveness and fuel efficiency. Each Volvo G900 Motor Grader features US Tier 3 compliant Volvo engines utilizing Volvo Advanced Combustion Technology (V-ACT).
STABILITY PLUS FLEXIBILITY
According to Lowe, the blade lift system delivers maximum flexibility of blade movement and provides the oerator with precise control to shape a complete range of slop profiles. “Decades of grader experiencee have also taught us the value of both a long wheelbase and a long bladebase and retaining a tight radius at the same time,” said Lowe.
For operators, this delivers the necessary stability to produce a level finished surface free of defects and we can produce more blade down force to get more one-pass finishing with cost-saving accuracy. All Volvo Motor Graders have been designed to have both longer wheelbases bladebases than competitive machines just for this very reason optimum weight over the blade is available to the operator at all times for higher drawbar pull.
Pick any Volvo G900 Series Motor Grader and you”ll find a machine capable of the best in fine grading. “The G930 is very well adapted to the needs of the small fine-grade contractor,” says Ken Autry, President of Autry Grading in Fayetteville, North Carolina.” It has a very tight turning radius and it”s a good size for the parking lots we do. It has better clearance under the front axle, and it ihas very good visibility for the operator; the grader and blade control displays are all at eye level. Everything you need to see is right in front of you at a glance: gears, speeds, the Contronics display right up top.” In Autry”s case, the control display includes his Automatic Blade Control system.
Every Volvo model provides a range of features that make it easy to produce a finished surface, fast. “Most importantly, we offer precise control and a versatile powertrain to deliver on this basic grading task. We also add value with a productive operator environment plus a full range of attachments and options, including a unique Volvo All Wheel Drive system. According to operators familiar with the Volvo 2,4,6 system, it”s like having 3 different drive systems in one; a highly efficient 4-wheel tandem drive, a powerful 6-wheel drive plus the powerful hydrostatically driven 2-wheel front wheel only drive Creep Mode. Introduced in 1999 Volvo was the first manufacturer to feature front wheel only drive systems. It has the power to get the job done with the control to be able to do it right the first pass,” says Lowe.
All Volvo Motor Graders have powertrains designed specifically to do everything graders have to do. “For fine grading, all G900 Graders have quiet, Tier 3 (Stage III A) emissions compliant, fuel-efficient engines; operating at low revolutions does not mean compromising performance.Volvo Motor Graders are designed to deliver high torque at low RPMs for fuel-efficient performance at low ground speeds.” As well, every Volvo Motor Grader comes with an inching clutch standard for working in tight situations.
There is also a choice of transmissions: the standard HTE840 8-forward 4-reverse transmission can be coupled with Volvo”s Autoshift option, a first in the industry while Autoshift is standard on the HTE1160. The operator selects the desired gear and the transmission shifts automatically to match conditions as the operator moves through turns and grades. Also available is the Volvo exclusive HTE1160 transmission for even more precise gear selection. “With the extra low speed,” say Autry, “I didn”t need to buy a larger all-wheel-drive machine to get the Creep Mode. We”re not hogging a lot of material or moving very heavy material.” Autry has larger equipment to operate for heavy cutting and pushing, and he does recommend Volvo All Wheel Drive for other applications. “If you only have one grader, you should get AWD. It”s Creep Mode is good with the Volvo 8-speed transmission; creep slows it down enough for fine-grade control.”
Both the HTE 840 and 1160 transmissions feature shuttle to reduce operator fatigue.
LARGE OFFICE WITH A VIEW
“We”ve also put a lot of effort into the Volvo operator environment. It”s built for all-day working and productivity when doing fine grading. Our Care Cabs are comfortable and minimize fatigue, since we know grader operators are at work all through the day,” says Lowe. “The operator enjoys superior visibility to the blade and the work area through large windows in every direction.” The industry-standard pedestal controls give precise feedback and intuitive lever placement helps the operator focus on the work area. Volvo”s PDF hydraulic system balances flow between all grading functions for consistent, predictable implement control. The design of the Volvo G900 Series allows an experienced blade man to step into the grader and feel instantly at home and best of all, he is productive from the moment he turns the key. Available cab options include lower opening windows for a reflection-free view of the blade and sliding side windows for air circulation. When the weather is hot or cold, the cab environment can be controlled by a 50,000 BTU heating and 30,000 BTU air conditioning unit.
ALL WHEEL DRIVE WITH A TWIST
“For fine grading, we have a unique and very effective feature on our All Wheel Drive models. The front wheel drive system can be set in Creep Mode for the ultimate in fine grading-the grader starts and stops smoothly, pulled by the hydrostatic front wheel drive only, as the tandems freewheel for less ridges, scuffing and rework,” says Lowe. With 16 selectable levels of aggression operators can match the Volvo AWD system performance to any operating conditions.
FINE GRADING-SIMPLE WITH YOUR ABC
These graders are also ideally suited to use Automatic Blade Contro systems from the leading manufacturers. A complete package of brackets and electrical and hydrualic connections is available and the cab control pedestal is designed to accommodate grade displays. “I know Volvo worked with all the manufacurers to determine the best position for mounting bracktes, etc; they arrived at a clean, very neat arrangement,” says Autry.
Volvo offers a wide variety of option kits, including packages, cab enhancements, blade system and powertrain accessories as well as a Fine Grading Contracting package. Lowe also likes to point out that all G900 Motor Graders can be equipped with CareTrack, a Volvo exclusive remote monitoring system that collects machine data that can be wirelessly transmitted to a computer. “Machine position, operating hours, fuel consumption records and real time monitoring of machine conditions,” says Lowe,”makes this a valuable working tool for this machine and the operator”s fleet. Today, information is power and this is one of those instances where we can put the power into the hands of those people maintaining and monitoring fleet expenses.”
At the end of the day, Lowe feels that Volvo G900 family offers the complete package for operators considering a machine that is going to be mostly involved in fine grading and advises that there are a number of additional choices to make in order to increase the overall utilization of the machine. “The G900 Series Motor Graders deliver high torque at low engine speeds, low speed operation, a long wheelbase and long bladebase without compromising turning radius and more blade down force and drawbar pull. Big capabilities produce fine results regardless of the application.”