All new Hitachi ZW-7 range of wheel loaders

The new Hitachi ZW-7 wheel loader range takes the combination of comfort and reliability to a new level. With the machines now starting to arrive in the country, Product Manager David Gallina reveals what the Australian market has to look forward to.

With reliable, skilled labourers as hard to find as ever, Australian operators can afford to be increasingly discerning about the tools of their trade.

According to David Gallina, Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia Pty Ltd (HCA) Product Manager for Hitachi Wheel Loaders and Bell Equipment, this fact is not lost on the team at Hitachi.  He says the new ZW-7 wheel loader range, which has recently started to arrive in Australia, is the perfect example of the company’s dedication to operators.

“A Key focus for Hitachi in the development of the ZW-7 series has been operator comfort,” he says. “It’s so important these days to maintain your staff. So, if you provide your operators with a comfortable working environment, they’ll still feel fresh at the end of the day, and they’ll be happy to return the next day.”

HCA recently introduced the country’s first ZW220-7 wheel loader at the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) Annual Conference in Melbourne, in June 2023. David says the AORA Conference is a regular part of the events circuit for HCA, and with the pace at which the organics industry is growing, it was just the right place to introduce the new machine.

“It was quite successful, and we’ve received fantastic feedback,” he says. “The rest of the ZW-7 range is now starting to filter through into the country. We’ve started off with the ZW220-7, but we’ll be expanding the range from our smallest ZW140-7 through to our larger production loaders over the next eight months or so.”

David says the aim is for the existing Hitachi ZW-5 range to gradually be phased out in favour of the new ZW-7 machines, introducing a slew of refinements and upgrades in the process.

“The ZW-7 range offers improved environmental performance, improved operability, operator comfort, and enhanced safety,” he says. “As well as comfort, safety is a particular focus for this range. We think it will be one of the safest loaders on the market. It features the Aerial Angle 270-degree bird’s-eye camera, rear detection system with assist braking on some models. It also introduces a new pressurized cabin to keep the dust out. The cabin also has roof handrails and steps to help clean the windows.”

David also highlights a handful of as-standard quality-of-life features to help operators of any experience level maximise their productivity.

“We have included a payload checker system to help operators load trucks more accurately,” he says. “It also has a ‘soft stop’ feature and when you operate the loader frame or bucket, it measures the angle and slows down when it’s coming to the end of its travel, so there’s no sudden shuddering.”

“Another great feature standard on the ZW-7 loaders is approach speed control, which is great for short loading cycles. The operator can set a maximum speed, depending on the distance they need to travel. This controlled speed can also give more power to the hydraulics at the front for lifting.”

 

Consideration has also been given to less experienced operators, for whom the overall operating experience can be adapted to suit their skill level. “If you have a novice operating the machine, you can slow down the speed of the attachments until they get used to it, then speed them back up again – all adjustable from inside the cab,” David says. “This means newer operators can learn to use the machine, but reduce the risk of damage to machinery, hoppers, or trucks.”

Specific visual plain English alerts also provide detailed guidance for any function settings or warning message, allowing the operator to maintain focus on their task, and rectify any issues more easily.

“If you’re low on particular fluid for example, the system will actually display on the sub monitor, ‘Hydraulic oil is low, please refill’, rather than just a sound, or a flashing light,” David says.

The system also provides daily inspection reminders on the cabin’s high-resolution 8-inch monitor – just another feature to help the operator focus on their work and maximise productivity. What’s more, Hitachi’s telematics system enables many of these processes to be executed from the operator’s phone, providing added peace of mind for operators and fleet managers alike.

All these features help ensure productivity is maximised, even while newer operators are still learning the ropes. But better productivity isn’t worth much if operators don’t enjoy the experience of being in the cabin every day.

For David, this is where the new ZW-7 wheel loaders really shine. A spacious and ergonomically designed cabin, with intuitive controls and a dual motion synchronized seat and console assembly, helps combat operator fatigue and promotes better concentration. “As for controllability, everything’s at your fingertips through the sub monitor controller on the operator’s right-hand side,” he says. “The internal noise has also been reduced to make it one of the quietest cabins in the industry, and the vision from inside the cab has been enhanced too.”

David says these amounts to the sort of comfort you’d expect from a luxury European vehicle, paired with the reliability and durability Hitachi’s Japanese-made machines are known for.

“Hitachi machines are still 100 per cent manufactured in Japan, but they’ve actually taken customer feedback from Hitachi Europe and designed the cabin specifically around European requirements and expectations regarding comfort,” he says. “And you’ll see European style cues all around the ZW-7’s cabin.”

David says this has the potential to help build on Hitachi’s already strong position in the Australian machinery market by appealing to customers who are accustomed to European machinery. “Most importantly, Hitachi products are extremely well backed up and supported in Australia, via its wholly-owned national support structure,” he says. “Just like Hitachi excavators, you know if you buy a Hitachi wheel loader that it’s going to work, and it’s going to be well supported.”

For further details on the Hitachi ZW-7 wheel loader range, visit: www.hitachicm.com.au