The benefits of joystick steering are enjoyed every working day by operators of large wheel loaders in mining and quarrying applications, says Case Construction Equipment's Mitch Blake. Why, the former operator has often wondered, should his brethren driving smaller full-sized loaders on construction jobsites not have the same opportunity?
Well, Case is making joystick steering available as an option on all wheel loaders from the 2-cubic-yard 521E up. This will, says Case, cut operator fatigue and boost machine productivity in repetitive-cycle operations such as scrap and recycling, agriculture, utilities and material handling. "It's a more effective and efficient way of steering for those short cycles," says Blake, Case brand marketing manager. "It puts the flow much quicker through the steering system to allow that machine to steer a lot faster."
Case's joystick steering can be used in all gears and work modes, operating at full response with the loader traveling at under 12 miles per hour and, for controllability, at 80 percent when over 12 miles per hour. Activation of joystick steering is not recommended for roading.
Housed in the left armrest of Case’s full-sized E Series wheel loaders, the optional feature includes a joystick lever, a forward, neutral and reverse switch, and a transmission kick-down switch. It will, says Blake, be a welcomed feature for shoulder-sore operators who have had to rely on the steering-wheel knob. "That knob helps," says Blake, "but you're always moving that arm, elbow and shoulder in a circular motion. You do that a couple of hundred, even a thousand times a day while you're loading a machine, and it aches after a while. Well, this brings all that steering function, forward-neutral-reverse function and kick-down function into one hand, at rest, with very low-effort controls, basically fingertip controls."
Joystick steering is designed to complement, not eliminate, the steering wheel of Case’s E Series loaders, says Blake. "If for some reason you bump the steering wheel when operating the joystick steering, automatically the priority of the steering takes back over at the wheel," he says. "And if you lift up the armrest for any reason, it deactivates the joystick steering for safety reasons."
Joystick steering is being made available as option immediately on the five Case wheel loader model sizes ranging from the 118-horsepower 521E up to the 274-horsepower 921E. It will eventually be available for the 320-horsepower 1221E also.
|Case E Series Wheel Loaders|
|Model||Net Engine Output (hp)||*Operating Weight (lb.)|
|* Operating weight for basic model configuration|