Earthmoving Industry Insight, Reviews

Review: XCMG ZL50G loader

The XCMG ZL50G loader is a good no-frills loader that also happens to represent good value for a brand new machine.

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XCMG claims to be the ninth largest machinery manufacturer in the world, turning out 1900 loaders a month along with a vast quantity of other construction machinery. The Chinese company also aims to be the fifth largest worldwide by 2015.

The 18-tonne loader being tested this month is installed with well-known components such as a Cummins powerplant, Meritor axles and Rexroth hydraulics and brakes. The final result is something that looks, sounds and feels quite familiar to an operator.



Inside was well appointed, and seemed to be a good place to spend a working day. The upholstery was nicely finished, and sound levels at full noise were very acceptable. The sound system contains a CD player and AM/FM radio, along with USB and SD card ports, which play out on twin speakers above the operator.

Switches for the wipers sit overhead. Lights and so on are situated in a console beneath the steering wheel, but I’m not too sure about locating switches in a position where a spilled drink could be hazardous. Forward vision is excellent, and with no pillars to separate the windscreens, blind spots are virtually eliminated.

The air-con system hadn’t been filled yet, so I was unable to try it out, but did like the very simple controls – one temperature slide control and a speed dial. To make sure the old-school are happy there is also a fan to dry out any perspiration.



This loader runs a 152kW (205hp) Tier3/StageIIIA Cummins turbocharged 6.7-litre, six-cylinder power plant. It is coupled to a ZF 4 WG200 transmission, which, according to the company brochure, is rated to handle up to a 200kW engine.

Side drop-down engine covers allow the operator to perform daily checks easily and an electric-powered ram lifts the cowling clear, providing excellent access around the exposed engine when needed. The powershift transmission provides four forward speeds from 6.5kmh to 38kmh and three reverse speeds from 6.5kmh to 24kmh.



The test was carried out at a millings stockpile. I fired up the loader and, scanning around the instrument panels looking for a pretty park brake switch, smiled when I spotted the park brake valve.

The machine felt well balanced, and the three-metre bucket made easy work of ploughing into the pile. Lift speeds with a full bucket were nice and fast, giving me the feeling that the bucket could be made a bit larger without losing much lifting efficiency. Actually extending the bucket would also prevent the slight overspill I was experiencing at full height.

It had a nice tight turning circle for a machine of its size, and visibility to the ground was better than I expected. Vision to the rear was good, assisted by two decent sized exterior mirrors and a smaller interior one.



The engines are supported by the Cummins worldwide warranty system.

Included in the purchase price of the loader is a factory fitted auto-greasing system.

Photography: Randolph Covich

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