All-new Komatsu WA480‐8 wheel loader showcased at Hillhead 2018


Komatsu presented its new WA480‐8 wheel loader at Hillhead 2018 this week (June 26-28). The 30-ton machine plugs a gap in the Komatsu range that was created when production stopped on the WA480-6 two years ago.

“The –6 was a Stage III engine,” Carl Woollaston, Komatsu’s UK product manager – wheeled loaders, explained to iVT at Hillhead. “We didn’t do a Stage IIIB so we missed the –7. We’re now into –8. So it’s a full Stage IV engine.”

Built on the recognized benefits of its predecessor, the new machine offers an outstanding combination of stability, breakout power and tractive effort to customers. The new vehicle boasts 15% lower fuel consumption than the WA480‐6 LC.

I can hang may hat on 15%, because it’s loads better than that!” said Woollaston. “It’s got a bigger torque converter so it accelerates faster and goes up inclines better than the previous model. That’s obviously saving you fuel.

“It’s also got smart loader logic. So, when the operation isn’t demanding the engine power, it drops the torque and the power curve. So, it reduces fuel consumption that way.

“As far as the axles are concerned, we’ve uprated the axles from –6. The differentials have got heavier duty bearings in them and now are standard on all our –8 machines.

“It’s also got integrated axle coolers. The oil is pumped out of the axles through a cooler and back in. So it extends the oil life and because the oil’s running cool brakes can continue to work. It’s just the best way of doing it!

Carl Woollaston, Komatsu’s UK product manager for wheeled loaders, at HIllhead 2018

Dig assist
The WA480‐8 has a new auto‐digging mode, and along with Komatsu’s redesigned digging bucket, which further improves penetration and is easier to fill, operator comfort and productivity are increased and fuel consumption can be reduced.

“The auto-dig function is great… I’m no operator but I can fill the bucket every time with that,” said Woollaston. “You just push into a stockpile and as soon as the machine senses resistance it puts you down into first gear on the transmission, so all you need to do is drive it on the throttle. And it’ll literally start lifting – and it’ll crowd your bucket back for you – and it fills your bucket. It’s brilliant.

We’ve launched this one with a 5.5m3 bucket for two- or three-pass loading, whereas the one down you’d need to do an extra pass on it. So it’s a production-based machine.”

Komatsu engine
The Komatsu SAA6D125E‐7 engine on the WA480‐8 puts out 220kW/299hp. The machine’s Komatsu Diesel Particulate Filter (KDPF) and other aftertreatment components work together with the engine for improved efficiency and longer life.

A selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system further reduces NOx emissions using AdBlue.

The engine’s advanced electronic control system manages the air‐flow rate and the fuel injection, combustion parameters and aftertreatment functions: performance is optimized, emissions reduced, and advanced diagnostic capabilities provided.

Komtrax telematics and Komatsu CARE, a Komatsu maintenance program for customers, offer top fleet management and support, protect the machine against misuse and guarantee maximum efficiency and uptime.

Thanks to its drivetrain, manufactured by Komatsu Germany Construction in Hannover, this wheel loader is an extremely powerful yet fuel‐efficient machine.

In first to fourth gear, the automatic transmission provides easy operation and loading cycles with increased productivity, allowing the operator to concentrate on the job. In gears two to four, starting at a speed of approx. 8 km/h, a lock‐up torque converter further boosts efficiency.

The new WA480–8 wheel loader from Komatsu

Operator comfort
Komatsu developed an operator‐friendly, spacious cab with an internal noise level of only 71 dB (A). The increased internal air pressure prevents dust and other particulates from entering the cab. For easy and safe exit, the machine is equipped with a rear‐hinged door, angled steps and large handrails.

The wide pillar‐less glass surfaces provide excellent all‐round visibility. A 7in, full color, high‐resolution monitor provides key machine metrics including KDPF status and AdBlue e‐level data, fuel consumption, and performance.

Messages from the Eco Guidance system are displayed in real time during operation and on the exit screen when the ignition is turned off. The Eco guidance menu enables the operator to check logs for operation, Eco guidance and fuel consumption. These records can be used to reduce the overall fuel consumption and can be collected and sorted by the operator.

A new air suspension seat – manufactured by Sears – dampens vibrations and provides a more comfortable ride for the operator. Seat‐mounted electronic pilot control levers, with Forward‐Neutral‐Reverse (F‐N‐R) switch, improve convenience and reduce operator fatigue.



Share this story:

About Author


Tom Stone is Editor of the iVT brand – which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and the Advanced Lift-truck supplement, as well as, which is updated daily. Tom has met and interviewed some of the world's leading industrial vehicle OEM presidents, CEOs and MDs, and takes great pride in cementing iVT's place as the leading forum for debate within the industry, a reputation that his been built up over the brand's 25-year history.

Comments are closed.