PLANT operators can look forward to bigger, better-designed cabs ? some up to 50 per cent bigger than today's ? in the next generation of machines being unveiled at the Intermat show in Paris in April.
The world's top plant makers also have better machine performance and fuel efficiency in their sights as a result of changes forced upon them because of the new engine emission regulations.
Manufacturers have been forced to replace engines and upgrade hydraulics on machines to meet EC Tier III emissions regulations.
A number of plant makers said they had completely redesigned their machines, particularly excavators and loaders, to maximise the benefits of electronically controlled engines.
Liebherr spokesman Dr Gerhard Dobler said: 'In the year before the Bauma show we would not normally have a large number of new machines but the engine emission requirements have forced us into upgrades and launches.' Following Cat and Hitachi's unveiling of complete excavator lines, Komatsu, Doosan, Daewoo and Hyundai all announced new ranges, with other firms electing to upgrade their bigger machines.
Daewoo launched five excavators over 30 tonnes in its DX range, which is based on its own Tier III engines. The firm said that improved durability, fuel efficiency and longer service intervals mean that the costs of owning are lower.
Case launched its first 70 tonne machine, filling the gap between its 46 and 80-tonners.
The 70-tonne version has virtually the same capability as the 80-tonne model, thanks to a new Tier III Isuzu engine.
Cabs have been redesigned to increase space and visibility for the operator. According to JCB the cab on its wheeled loader range is 50 per cent bigger than its predecessor.
Komatsu showed the rollover protection features of its SafeCab excavator. The Japanese manufacturer also introduced a pressurised cab to cut dust inhalation through the ventilation on its Dash Six dozers.
Firms have also increased ground level maintenance. JCB spokesman Daniel Ward said: 'Moving the service points to ground level avoids the risk of work at height.'