Go small, work big with mini and compact excavators

Published 22/6, 2016 at 17:29

At construction trade shows, it is usually the big equipment that gets all the attention. Size, after all, is associated with power, and it is the rare construction worker who has not dreamed of operating the biggest of big rigs since they started pushing things around with their first toy trucks, to the
accompaniment of their self-made sound effects.

But with age and experience comes wisdom. Aspiring contractors can carry their giant dreams into adulthood, but they usually realize that the most practical tools may well be among the smallest, especially when dealing with constrained jobsites. And if they take a close look at the equipment specifications, they will find that the current smaller class equipment can hold its own in even the most rugged conditions.

What is more, the machines are comfortable to operate, easy to maintain, and highly versatile. That adds up to cost-effective productivity, and opportunities to impress discriminating clients.

So if you find yourself at the controls of one of the machines included in this report, don’t be surprised if you recapture a bit of your childhood, reliving those days when no job was too big for you and your “big rig.” 

You might even catch yourself making those “big rig” sound effects every so often. That’s fine. Just be safe, and be productive.


JCB offers new model next-gen compact excavators

Building on the successful introduction of its next generation 6t to 10t compact excavators in 2015, JCB recently released three additional models, with operating weights from 5t to 6.25t.

In addition to the new 57C-1 model, the new 48Z-1 replaces the previous 8045Z, while the 55Z-1 takes over from the 8055ZTS/RTS. All three excavators come with a Tier 4 Final, non-DPF engine from JCB by Kohler. The engine produces 35.8kW and 225Nm gross torque.

JCB has also redesigned the pin pick-up points to be compatible with a variety of bucket brands, while optional hydraulic or manual quick hitches can be specified for faster attachment changes.

The excavators feature a redesigned digging end, with a longer main boom and shorter dipper arm providing up to 5% greater dump height. The upgraded hydraulic system delivers up to 9% more bucket breakout force and 2% higher dipper arm breakout.

Other features include an improved operator’s cab, with the 57C-1 using the same structure as the larger 11t machine. The cab is 18% more spacious and offers up to 11% more visibility. Even in zero tail swing configurations, JCB’s compact excavators deliver impressive levels of comfort for the driver, with reduced noise and vibration levels and easily replaced flat glass throughout.

The cab is also offered with a new soft button switch panel, to control auxiliary flow settings, working lights, beacon, wipers and JCB’s 2Go additional hydraulic activation safety system. As with JCB’s larger JS excavators, the compact machines now have nine power modes available. The machines can also be ordered ready for tilt-rotator installation from the factory, with a programmable third auxiliary function.

Another innovation is the optional safe lift feature, complete with an integral lift overload warning system. Safe lift incorporates a green-amber-red graphic in the new monitor panel, with an audible warning that sounds if the machine approaches overload. The safe lift feature is included as standard when hose burst check valves have been specified.

Cabs on the new JCB compact excavators can be equipped with optional LED work lights that feature a guide-me-home function, providing lighting for three minutes after the machine has been turned off to allow the operator to get to a position of safety when working at night. Other safety options include a green seatbelt in use beacon and seatbelt isolation.


Also from JCB, contractor spec model for 8018 compact excavator

The JCB 8018 Contractor specification model provides utility contractors with a compact excavator designed to work on urban sites. All excavator arm and undercarriage bushes are now equipped with graphite-impregnated bushes, delivering 500h greasing intervals. For increased safety on site, LED work lights are now fitted to the front of the machine and to the boom, with additional protective guards to prevent damage.

The auxiliaries have been updated to an electrical operation. The thumb operated switch enables simple proportional control of the auxiliary flows, allowing for simple and operation of attachments.

The machine comes standard with rubber street pads on the dozer blade to prevent damage to roadways while working. These can be removed without the use of any tools and stored in the cab’s toolbox. The JCB 8018 Contractor specification can be ordered with a full operator’s cab or canopy. Customers can also opt for a green seatbelt fastened beacon if required, while an operator presence switch in the seat prevents operation from outside the machine. High-visibility decals enhance the appearance of the excavator.

Built-in tie-down points on the rear side of the upper structure and kingpost improve safety when transporting the machine on a trailer. Bolt on rubber counterweight protection protects the machine from accidental damage.

The JCB 8018 Contractor specification incorporates a separate hand-held tool circuit, as well as standard auxiliary hoses on the boom. The hand-held circuit provides hydraulic power to drive a range of tools potentially cutting the number of machines required on site.


Kobelco mini excavators mimic their larger cousins

Kobelco’s new Series 6 mini excavators share many of the innovations on some of the company’s heavier machines. For example, the 1.5t SK28SR-6 and 2.5t SK35SR-6 feature Kobelco’s integrated noise and dust reduction cooling system, which cuts noise by around 7dB(A) over the previous models. The INDR system also reduces downtime and day-to-day maintenance by providing easy access to the air filter, which is mounted in front of the radiator.

The SK35SR-6 has a 17.1kW engine, and bucket capacity of 0.11m3. The SK55SRX-6 has a 28.3kW engine, and 0.16m3 bucket capacity.


New Electric Zero-Emission E10 Excavator from Bobcat

At Bauma, Bobcat presented a prototype of the company’s new E10 Electric model, a new zero-emission, and electric powertrain version of the 1t E10 micro-excavator.

Developed at the Bobcat Innovation Centre in Dobris in the Czech Republic, in conjunction with electric vehicle specialists, the E10 Electric offers the factory installed option of an alternative all-electric powertrain, allowing the machine to be used in areas requiring zero emissions. The E10 Electric also offers very low noise levels on site with an LpA of only 64dBA.

The alternative powertrain option comprises of a motor that can be powered by a pack of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, or a 400V mains electric supply via a plug-in power cable.  The batteries can be recharged in less than an hour, and work independently for up to three hours. The new E10 Electric also offers the capability of carrying out work while charging via the mains power cable.

The new E10 Electric has the same zero tail swing profile and identical external dimensions as the standard E10 machine, with the same or better performance. As the new machine is designed for indoor demolition applications, it is equipped with auxiliary lines and an oil cooler system for continuous hydraulic breaker operation.


Bobcat launches the E57W Stage IIIB wheeled excavator

Bobcat has launched the E57W Stage IIIB compliant wheeled excavator. The E57W is equipped with the Bobcat 42.5kW D24 diesel engine that delivers a 4% increase in power along with 7% fuel savings.

The Bobcat engine offers a solution to Stage IIIB compliance without the use of a diesel particulate filter. Along with reducing fuel consumption, this solution simplifies machine operation and service, as there is no need for DPF regeneration.

The E57W has an operating weight of 5.92t. It incorporates an updated hydraulic system providing a 10% improvement in lift capacity. A long arm option increases the machine digging depth to 3.8m and the dump height to 4.5m. Peripheral equipment can be attached via two standard auxiliary circuits and a third is available as an option, and is operated with proportional controls.

 A new cab and operator area features a 178mm display that provides fingertip operation of all machine functions. The cab also has a heated seat, ergonomically placed controls and simple operating procedures.


CAT 307E2 mini hydraulic excavator delivers superior performance and comfort

The new Cat 307E2 expands the mini hydraulic excavator range to include an additional solution for the 7t to 8t weight class. The 37.7kW Cat C2.4 turbo engine and the high definition hydraulic system, which is load sensing and flow sharing, allows the machine to offer superior performance.

The 307E2 offers maximum stability, reach, and lift capacity with its standard tail swing and fixed boom design. The cab, which has pilot controls, has an air suspension seat, retractable seat belt, and compass monitor with colour display that allows the operator to enable and modify a variety of machine features. Secondary auxiliary lines come standard along with a thumb ready stick.

Track options include steel tracks or steel tracks with pads. The 307E2 also shares work tools with the 308E2 platform along with several new features. They include power on demand, which ensures full-time efficiency and power, site reference system, which aids with grading and level trenching, and the rear view camera.


New variable angle boom extends Cat 308E2’s flexibility

The Cat 308E2 hydraulic excavator is now available in a variable angle boom configuration. While providing a maximum dig depth of 14.3m, the boom extends the 308E2’s maximum reach by 760mm to 7.78m. Dump clearance is extended by 1.41m to 6.0m. In addition, the boom allows the 308E2 to work closer to the blade and tracks.

Using a 48.5kW Cat C3.3B engine and a load-sensing hydraulic system the 308E2 features a compact radius design that limits tail overhang when working over the side to 290mm. For applications requiring added stability and lift capability, an available added counterweight extends overhang to 405mm. 

The operator’s cab features an air suspension/heated seat, adjustable wrist rests, and ergonomic joysticks. The Cat compass monitor includes a pass code protected security system, adjustable auxiliary flow control, site reference system, and rear view camera. The cab is ROPS certified and incorporates the Cat interlock system, which prevents hydraulic functions when the safety bar is raised. Additional safety features include an automatic swing brake, retractable seatbelt, and travel alarm, optional in Europe.

The 308E2’s undercarriage can be fitted with a rubber belt, steel tracks, or steel tracks with rubber pads. Available mechanical or hydraulic quick couplers expand the 308E2’s versatility with a range of Cat work tools, and a thumb ready stick is standard.


Coming soon from Cat the M315F & M317F compact wheeled excavators

The new Cat M315F and M317F compact radius wheeled excavators available in early 2017, offer a wide range of configurations, including undercarriage options, stick lengths, and boom types to fit specific applications. The offset boom allows digging adjacent to walls and structures, grading while driving, and digging under existing utilities. The variable adjustable boom, which offers good right-side visibility and balance, is the best option for heavy lifting. They have optimum turning radius, while joystick steering further eases manoeuvring.

Both machines have been designed as tool carriers, having the necessary systems to change attachments in seconds from the cab. The tool control interface allows programming the machines for up to 10 different flow/pressure settings to accommodate a wide range of Cat work tools. Specific auxiliary functions are assigned on the joystick and foot pedal, allowing the operator to choose directly, through the monitor, which button and/or slider is preferred for a specific work tool.

They excavators can also be equipped to accept the Cat tiltrotator, which allows direct mounting of work tools and provides 360º rotation.

The 112kW Cat C4.4 ACERT engine meets U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final/EU Stage IV emission standards and integrates an emission after-treatment system that requires no attention other than periodically replenishing the diesel exhaust fluid tank. Emissions technology includes the Cat NOx reduction system, selective catalytic reduction system, diesel oxidation catalyst, fit for life diesel particulate filter, and high-pressure common rail fuel system.

The new machines also have automatic engine speed control that lowers engine speed when maximum power is not required. An engine idle-shutdown system also saves fuel, while the automatic shift to travel mode optimizes driveline performance.

The standard LED lighting package includes a light for the standard right side camera, counterweight light for the rear view camera, three cabin mounted working lights, and a light on the boom.  The right side camera has a separate in cab colour monitor, which also can display rear view camera images simultaneously.


Hitachi’s new ZX135US-5 SRF excavator

Hitachi Construction Machinery displayed the ZX135US-5 short reach front excavator at Bauma. The ZX135US-5 SRF meets the specific needs of European owners and operators. More compact than a conventional excavator, the ZX135US-5 SRF is ideal for tunnelling projects where space is limited. This is due to its short-tail swing radius, and short boom and arm. The ZX135US-5 SRF can be lowered into position below ground level, using a crane. Lifting brackets are provided as standard on the boom and counterweight. It is also easy to transport, with an overall length of 5.27m and height of 2.94m.

A short boom and arm, and reinforced bucket linkage, enables the ZX135US-5 SRF to be fitted with attachments that are suitable for larger 20t machines.  The durability of the front attachment has been enhanced to protect it from falling objects. Cylinders are located under the boom and arm, and an integrated cylinder guard on the arm protects the bucket cylinder.

The ROPS pressurized cab offers all round visibility and controls, a large multifunctional LCD monitor, and expanded legroom, contribute to a comfortable working environment for operators.

The ZX135US-5 SRF is easy to maintain. For convenient cleaning, an exterior dustproof net protects the air conditioning condenser and fuel cooler from clogging, and the radiator has an easy to open upper cover. The muffler filter and surrounding area can also be easily accessed for cleaning by a window in the engine cover.


Ihimer debuts new mini-excavator at Bauma

Bauma was the setting for the introduction of Ihimer’s new 55N4 mini- excavator. The 55N4 has an operating weight of 5.5t with rubber tracks and 5.6t with steel tracks, and is powered by a 47.6kW Yanmar engine. The 55N4 has a bucket digging force of 3,630daN. Front turning radius is 2.42m, while excavation depth can reach 3.85m with the single arm and 4.1m with the long arm.


New Doosan DX140W-5 and DX160W-5 wheeled excavators    

Like all Doosan Stage IV compliant machines, the new 14t DX140W-5 and 16t DX160W-5 wheeled excavators feature a new styling scheme.

Both new models have the same Doosan engine and power outputs as the Stage IIIB machines, but have 5% more traction force compared to the previous generation machines.  Another important aspect is the CabSus cab suspension system, which reduces vibration and provides a 1dB(A) reduction in cab noise.

A new system allowing usage of the two-way lines either via the joystick or pedal provides an alternative to controlling attachments. It is also helpful when precision is required, as the operator can keep full control of the excavator via the joystick while using the two-way pedal for attachments.

New features have been introduced that reduce fuel consumption by an average of 10% compared to the previous generation models. They include the new trip meter setting screen, which allows operators to check fuel consumption daily, or over a desired period, directly from the control panel. To save even more fuel, there is a smart power control, which monitors engine and pump power and limits unnecessary outputs, depending on whether the work is light or heavy.

Further fuel efficiency results from the electric fan clutch on both models, which drives the cooling fan at optimum speed.  Based on coolant, hydraulic oil, cooled charged air temperatures and target engine speeds, the fan speed is controlled electrically.

In the undercarriage, the chassis has been reinforced. The outrigger frame has also been strengthened by moving to a box type assembly, with an increase in the thickness of most parts for additional strength. The dozer blade and H-Link have been reinforced to increase rigidity and optimize tightening between the two structures. The height of the dozer blade has been increased along with an improved shape to facilitate pulling and mixing of materials.

To further maximize durability and reduce noise, all models are equipped with enhanced macro surface bushings.

To avoid engine damage, an acoustic alarm has been added to call the operator’s attention to water in fuel.  If the operator ignores the signal after several alerts, the engine and pump are automatically derated. In addition, to communicate the proper warning codes, pop-up menus appear with detailed information with easier to identify warnings.


Hyundai expands HX Series excavator product line

Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas introduced two new models in its HX Series of Tier IV Final compliant hydraulic excavators, the HX140L and HX235LCR. These two machines provide up to 10% better fuel economy and 5% increased productivity versus previous models.

The 14T HX140L excavator is powered by a Perkins 1204F engine rated at 87kW. It achieves a maximum dig depth of just over 6.7m, and maximum digging reach of 9.98m, with a bucket digging force of 11.29t. The HL140L excavator is equipped with a standard 0.58m3 capacity bucket.

The 24t HX235LCR excavator is a compact radius model, featuring a Cummins QSB6.7 engine rated at 136kW. Maximum digging depth is 6.7m, maximum digging reach 9.1m, and bucket digging force 16.83t. Bucket capacity is 0.8m3.

Both models include as standard equipment a 203mm interactive, adjustable, touchscreen cluster-monitor in the cab. The monitor in the HX140L model includes haptic remote control, providing easier operator accessibility and better ergonomics. The haptic remote control delivers reactive, tactile sensations using vibrations and pulses to guide the operator through menu selections.

Viewable on the monitor, which is standard equipment on both the HX140L and the HX235LCR, is the optional all-around view monitoring system that provides a 360º virtual operating view. Included is an intelligent moving object detection system that senses and warns the operator when objects are near the machine.

Hyundai HX series excavators feature large cabs with enhanced climate control, more leg and foot space from the seat to the pedals, reduced in-cab sound level, heated operator’s seat with standard air suspension and integrated console. Additional features include a Bluetooth audio system and Miracast wireless functionality for viewing a mobile device screen on the monitor.

An improved hydraulic system includes a boom float mode for better grading control, fine swing mode for improved load control when swinging, and up to 13% faster cycle speeds than previous models. The HX140L and HX235L also feature intelligent power control computer aided power optimization based on load demand, and eco breaker mode for selectable pump flows and improved fuel consumption when working with Hyundai hydraulic breakers and other attachments. The combination of faster cycle times and more power result in productivity increases of up to 5 %.

Other features include reinforced longer life pins and bushings coupled with wear resistant polymer shims and cab shock mounts with dual shock absorption.


Hyundai, Tier 4 Final 9A Series compact excavators come to North America

Hyundai Construction Equipment Americas recently began delivering its new 9A series of Tier 4 Final compliant compact excavators throughout the US and Canada.

The R17Z-9A and R25Z-9A models are powered by Kubota engines, while the R35Z-9A, R55-9A, R60CR-9A, and R80CR-9A are powered by Yanmar units. The product line gives contractors a choice of models in each of six popular weight classes, from 1.7t to 8.2t.

The boom swing function on the 9A series is designed for work in congested areas. The boom can be offset left or right. Zero tail swing on the R17Z-9A, R25Z-9A, and R35Z-9A allows operators to work in other confined surroundings. The variable undercarriage on the R17Z-9A, which can be adjusted to between 990mm and 1.3m wide, allows the most compact machine in the line to work in tight spaces.

Spacious, ergonomically designed cabs have reduced noise and increased comfort and visibility. A tilting left-side console makes it easier for the operator to enter and exit and the left and right control levers are located for convenient access. An adjustable suspension seat and plenty of space helps reduce operator stress and fatigue. The cabs on the Hyundai 9A series machines are all TOPS, ROPS and FOPS certified. Other safety features include optional boom and arm cylinder locks, and an optional overload alarm.

An optional lever pattern change valve on the R25Z-9A and R35Z-9A models allows joystick control to be changed from SAE to ISO pattern, depending on operator preference. The LCD cluster allows operators to select other machine preferences. The same monitor also displays engine speed, oil, and water temperature and information for all onboard electronic devices. Button selections are provided for auto idle mode, max power mode, and travel speed.

Reliability features on the 9A series include bushings designed for long-life lube intervals, wear-resistant and noise-reducing polymer shims, and integrated preheating systems that extend service intervals and reduce machine downtime. Serviceability enhancements include wide open engine hoods, centralized grease fittings and easy-change plastic air cleaners. The R60CR-9A and R80CR-9A models feature a tilting cab for convenient maintenance and service.


Wacker Neuson excavators ideally equipped for future requirements

Wacker Neuson has augmented its excavator line with new models ranging from 6t to 10t. The EZ80 is the latest model with features such as the load sensing hydraulic system for precise operation, a revised machine and cab for all around visibility of the entire working area as well as high digging forces.

Also new are the ET65 and ET90. The models’ higher bucket torque and the enlarging of the bucket’s angle of rotation to 200° make for more economical work. The load sensing system ensures that the work speed of all movements always remains constant.

Up to five auxiliary control circuits are available. The continuous setting of the individual circuits takes place by a jog dial, an operating concept from the automotive industry. Individual storage as well as settings of attachments can therefore be performed during operation.

With the 5.2t EZ53 zero tail swing the rear of the EZ53 does not project over its undercarriage. Optionally fitted with the vertical digging system, the revolving superstructure of the EZ53 can be tilted up to 15°. This allows for vertical digging, even on gradients.

The latest technologies ensure for a reduced fuel consumption with a simultaneous increase in engine and hydraulic performance. The turbo diesel engine with an output of 36kW as well as improved digging performance provide for higher materials handling. Thanks to the tiltable cabin and the side engine hood, the EZ53 provides convenient service access. Up to five auxiliary control circuits with a separate pressure-free return line make it possible to use a variety of attachments.

The new 1.5t ET16 mini-excavator will be offered with a second driving speed and a redesigned cabin interior, with spacious leg and headroom. Due to its telescoping travel gear, which can be extended from 990mm to 1.3m, the mini-excavator is ideal for narrow passages.


Kubota KX040-4 Features Eco-Plus mode

Kubota’s 4t KX040-4 features Eco Plus, which allows the operator to prioritize productivity or fuel efficiency based on the task at hand. With this feature operators can select Standard Mode for increased power and productivity or Eco Mode can be activated with a flip of a switch for fuel savings of up to 9%.

The KX040-4 has a 31kW engine, a dumping height of 3.9m, and a digging depth of 3.4m.


Volvo adds punch and precision to 3t and 4t compact excavators

The new Volvo ECR35D, EC35D and ECR40D compact excavators feature comfortable cabs and advanced, easy-to-use controls for precise operation. The ECR35D and ECR40D short swing radius excavators are designed to work in tight spaces. The more conventional EC35D features similar architecture. Easy serviceability, versatility and greater efficiency help the new models be more productive in a range of applications.

The EC35D combines a new D1.8A stage 3A Volvo engine with a hydraulic system. The intuitive fingertip controls allow operators to operate hydraulic attachments with ease.

Thanks to the short tail swing radius, and positioning of the boom cylinder on the left below the cab, the ECR35D and ECR40D excavators are ideal for tight working conditions. The swing post and cylinder stay within the tracks when in an offset position and the slew and offset movements are controlled simultaneously.

Each machine is available with an electronic system that enables operators to fine tune functions and settings through a keypad and monitor. Up to three profiles can be saved in the system, adjusting machine behaviour to suit application/operator preferences.

To maximize uptime, the new excavators are designed to provide a low total cost of ownership, thanks to a combination of a number of features. Wide-opening hoods allow good access to the filling points and daily checks, while at the rear the fuel and hydraulic filler pipes are protected. The hydraulic oil check and fill is made through a transparent bowl, which allows detection of contamination and acts as a filter when the tank is topped up.

All filters are installed in-line and service check points are accessible from ground level. Greasing intervals have been extended to 50h.


Terex introduces four rental ready compact excavator models in North America

Terex now offers the compact excavator solutions for all equipment and performance requirements in North America with four rental ready models. They include the Terex TC16-2, TC22-2, TC35-2, and TC35R-2 models.

Tests show the new models offer up to 20% more performance on average, compared with other models available in the market. The Terex excavators are equipped with load independent flow distribution hydraulics, the technology offered in very few models in this size class. The LUDV enables power to be transferred to the attachment the operator is using as needed.

For the precise control of attachments, the second auxiliary circuit is operated with electrically proportional control, a standard feature offered on the Terex TC22-2 and larger models and optional on the TC16-2. The new Terex TC35-2R model also incorporates a short-tail design, allowing for excavation adjacent to walls and other obstacles.

The combination of intuitive control and safe working environment makes these new Terex machines user-friendly. Thanks to specific design features the risk of damage to the machine during operation is reduced. For instance, the top-mounted cylinder cannot be damaged when loading onto a truck, as the cylinder does not come into contact with the loading edge.

In addition, the Knickmatik cylinder is prevented from being damaged due to its position on the left. This allows the boom to swing to both sides at full digging depth. The automatic swing brake enables locking of the upper carriage so it cannot be forgotten during transport. The machine is controlled with Terex fingertip control, providing additional control for work attachments, including buckets, grabs, hydraulic hammers, cutting wheels, and augers.

All models are equipped with pilot-operated controls and changeable control patterns to best suit the operator’s preference. The blade lever offers an integrated travel speed controller making it easy to level and dig.


Tier 4 Final Terex TC85 compact excavator now available in North America

The new Terex TC85 compact crawler excavator features the combination of a short radius tail-swing and a Knickmatic boom offset that allows operators to dig alongside the machine’s own tracks.

Weighing 8.2t, the TC85 excavator boasts bucket capacities from 0.087m3 to 0.305m3, a dig depth of nearly 4.52m, a bucket digging force of 53,200Nm and a reach of 7.72m. Track options include rubber, as standard, steel, and steel with rubber pads.

Featuring a Tier 4 Final 55.4kW Deutz diesel engine with 299Nm of torque at 1,600 revs/min the new TC85 excavator meets emissions requirements through a diesel oxidation catalyst that serves the function of a catalytic converter. This translates to a reduced maintenance exhaust system, as there is no need for regeneration or to inject diesel exhaust fluid. Auto engine stop comes standard. Additional fuel savings can be achieved through the optional auto engine idle feature.

The TC85 can work closely alongside walls and other existing infrastructure thanks to its Knickmatic boom with an articulation angle up to 120°, work can be carried out on the narrowest construction sites, alongside walls, hedgerows and on gradients. The standard monobloc boom offers operators a staggered set-up to give extra dumping height, range, and digging depth. The optional circular boom is ideal for limited access sites.

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