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Over the past few years, changes in loader design have had positive results in a number of areas including efficiency, safety, maintenance, and operator comfort. Following are a few of the improvements made in each area that let you know what to expect from today's front end wheel loaders. Manufacturers have increased efficiency with a number of improvements, including: increased bucket sizes--allowing more material to be carried in a single trip, thereby reducing the total amount of trips needed; load-sensing transmissions, which automatically shift the torque and power of the engine to adjust for different loads; return to travel automatically lowers the bucket to a few inches off the ground, allowing the driver to concentrate on driving; extended reach loader arms, for loading high-sided trucks or high stockpiles; traction control, which applies torque to the opposite wheel when an axle slips; automatic transmission, making it easier for the operator to concentrate on other controls; and automatic kick-down switches, to simplify shifting the loader into a lower gear, allowing the operator to reverse easily. In order to facilitate safer operation, several manufacturers have introduced shorter boom arms, which allow the bucket to be carried closer to the frame to prevent tipping. Electronic monitoring systems have been implemented to provide maintenance assistance by alerting operators to problems, and diagnosing malfunctions. Improvements like increased size, larger windshields, noise reduction, comfortable seats, and ride control all make operation of loaders more comfortable to the operator. Wet disc brakes and sealed loader linkages reduce the amount of maintenance required to keep the loader functioning properly.