Electric avenues

Published 28/6, 2019 at 12:36

Electric powered equipment was the talk of bauma, at least in the realm of smaller machines. Though diesel isn’t dead yet, manufacturers are gearing up for a world where fossil fuels need not be the usual option.

PDi takes a look at some recent additions to the mini and compact excavator market that are designed to enhance productivity, regardless of power source.


ECR25 excavator leads Volvo’s new range of electric compact machines. 

Volvo Construction Equipment unveiled its first commercial zero emissions electric compact excavator at bauma in Munich. The ECR25 is the first to be shown from a new electric range of Volvo branded compact equipment delivering zero exhaust emissions, significantly lower noise levels, reduced energy costs, improved efficiency, and less maintenance requirements when compared to their conventional counterparts.  The ECR25 is fitted with lithium ion batteries and one electric motor which power the hydraulics in order to move the machine and the attachment. The machine’s batteries store enough electric energy to power the ECR25 for 8h in its most common applications, such as utility work. An onboard charger enables overnight charging via a regular household plug socket. A fast charging option, requiring more powerful grid access, will also be available.

Beginning in mid-2020, Volvo CE will launch a range of electric compact excavators (EC15 to EC27) as well as a series of electric wheel loaders (L20 to L28), ending new diesel engine based development of these models.



Kubota KX033-4 with extendable dipper arm 

The KX033-4 is part of Kubota’s popular KX Series and sits in the 3t class yet boasts the lifting capacity of a larger machine. Ideal for those hard to reach areas, the KX033-4’s optional extendable dipper arm can be quickly and easily extended up to 787mm, boosting productivity as well as efficiency. Its impressive capabilities include a digging depth of 3.7m and a digging reach of 5.5m. The KX033-4 is powered by Kubota’s direct injection diesel engine with auto shift and idle features. Operators focused features include ‘easy-open’ front glass windows, deluxe suspension seat, cup holder, wrist rest and air conditioning. A large, easy to read digital panel is user friendly with simple settings and push button operations.


Also from Kubota, U27-4 tight tail swing excavator

 Kubota’s U27-4 features adjustable auxiliary flow hydraulics, an auxiliary diverter valve, two speed automatic downshift travel, as well as what is claimed to be best in class reach and dig depth. A powerful and well balanced arm and bucket design allows the operator to dig faster, deeper, and more efficiently even in the toughest conditions. Engineered to prioritize productivity, the U27-4 boasts a bucket digging force of 3,181.5kg.  Operators will benefit from a large, spacious cab with wider entrance, greater leg room, more flow space and a luxurious interior as well as a new user friendly front meter panel. An enclosed heated cab option also available.


‘Next Generation’ 1t-2t CAT mini excavators designed for optimum customer value

Four new models in the Cat mini hydraulic excavator line up, engineered and manufactured by Caterpillar, have been introduced to provide users with the best performance, versatility, safety, operator convenience and affordability in the smallest possible packages for 1t to 2t class machines. This customer focused approach to engineering has resulted in the new models incorporating what is said to be industry first standard features, such as joystick steering (‘Stick Steer’) a tilt up canopy or cab, as well as new options, including air conditioning and expandable undercarriages across the range.

Minimum operating weights (approximate) for the new models range from 1,575kg to 2,045kg, with weights increasing to as much as 2,200 kg, depending on specific machine configuration. Dig depths are 2.34m or 2.37m, depending on the model. An available long stick increases depth by 203mm, rubber track undercarriages come as standard, with steel tracks available for all models. All the new models use the Cat C1.1 engine, a three cylinder diesel rated at 14.3kW which meets Stage V emissions regulations. The C1.1 features a power dense design and delivers consistent performance through a wide speed range. 

Fuel efficiency is enhanced with engine idle control and automatic shutdown systems, with the new ‘Next Generation’ mini excavators using an efficient, fuel saving, load sensing hydraulic system with an electronically controlled variable displacement piston pump capable of oil flows to 66 l/min. Flow rates, coupled with high main relief pressures, provide the new models with the hydraulic capacity to generate high digging and lifting forces, as well as to handle powered attachments.


Mecalac e12: a 100% electric excavator for urban job sites

The e12 is the electric version of the Mecalac 12MTX. With a structure designed for the city from the outset, and two independently running electric motors (one powering the excavation mechanism and one for movement) the Mecalac e12 is designed to be a fixture of plant fleets for urban environments. Its 100% electric transmission offers high levels of tractive force as soon as the engine is started with brake energy regeneration. The electric motors’ deliver high power density making it possible to keep it extremely compact, whilst requiring almost no maintenance. 

The design of the 12 MTX forms the basis of the electric version with the engine housing now incorporating LiFePO4 battery technology. This is based on iron and phosphate for three times as many charge cycles that marry a service life considerably better than classic batteries, with high levels of safety due to no risk of fires or battery fluid leaks. Moreover, the e12 has a charging station that can be used to recharge it on site in 6h to7h. Without compromising on power, the e12 can work all day without needing to recharge the batteries, with a range of eight hours at the highest power output. All in all the Mecalac e12 aims to deliver less vibration, less noise pollution, less maintenance (no more filters, no more oil, etc.), less risk of on-site accidents, less spent on maintenance, and no CO2 or particulate emissions.


Yanmar’s ViO23.6, designed to be small and versatile

Yanmar’s new ViO23-6 is a 2.3t mini excavator designed to work in confined spaces. Its rotation radius is just 1.38m, with the machine being zero offset, and counterweights that do not protrude even when the chassis is closed, and front parts of the turrets that do not extend beyond the width of the tracks.  The standard ViO23-6 is equipped with a variable track chassis that can extend from 1.38m to 1.55m to provide good stability and lifting capacity. An additional counterweight allows it to operate with heavier attachments. This compactness of the lower chassis and its transport weight of 2,365kg, including cabin, standard counterweights, and standard arm, mean that the ViO23-6 can be transported with its accessories on a trailer.

The ViO23-6 is powered by a Yanmar 3TNV76-PBV1 engine which comes with an auto deceleration system and eco mode as standard. It also has a ViPPS (ViO Progressive three pump system) hydraulic system complimented by a distributor to optimise the performance of all hydraulic operations simultaneously. It has a digging depth of 2.45m, with a standard arm, an excavation force of 17.5kN with a bucket, and 13.1kN with a standard arm.


Komatsu develops electric mini excavator 

Komatsu has developed an electric mini excavator equipped with an in house developed new charger, high voltage converter, and other devices. This has resulted in the 4,730kg machine delivering excavation performance on a par with the internal combustion model of the same power output, while achieving zero exhaust gas emissions and a dynamic reduction in noise levels.

The new electric mini excavator uses the easy maintenance battery which powers the popular Komatsu FE-series electric forklift trucks. When fully charged, this battery enables up to 6h of operation, depending on jobsite and operational conditions. It also allows for quick charging, for example, during a lunch break, extending the available working hours. The machine allows for real time monitoring of power consumption and charging conditions on the built in monitor panel. It also allows for the remote monitoring of that information together with the machine location and operating conditions.


New Hyundai 1t mini excavator debuts at bauma 2019

Hyundai Construction Equipment Europe has launched its smallest mini excavator HX10A specifically for work in closed spaces or urban areas and completes the HX machine line up which ranges now from 1t to 90t. Its slim design enables easy transport and excellent access through doorways or operation in space confined areas. The mono boom is mounted on a swing post which allows the HX10A to dig close to a wall or across the entire width of the machine, making it particularly useful on small sites where it may not be easy to reposition the excavator. A low operating weight of just 1,000kg with high levels of lifting and breakout forces make the 1t mini excavator useful for gardening and landscaping,  on construction sites in residential areas and for demolition and indoor work.

A two column foldable ROPS bar makes it possible to easily enter buildings via a standard door, whereas a boom cylinder is top mounted to prevent potential damage, whilst servicing is made easier and quicker due to an easily accessed engine. The variable undercarriage increases stability whenever needed, whilst the equally extendable dozer blade allows for grading over the full track width. In addition to the existing Yanmar diesel engine, the compact excavator can as an option be operated electrically and emission free, supplying the same performance characteristics. 


Bobcat’s new 1t electric mini excavator

Bobcat has also entered the electric equipment market with the E10e battery powered, zero tail swing (ZTS) 1t mini excavator. Combining zero emissions, low noise and a width of just 710mm, the E10e can easily pass through standard doors and in and out of lifts, making it ideal for indoor applications such as demolition and basement construction.  Developed at the Bobcat EMEA innovation centre in conjunction with electric vehicle suppliers, the E10e is based on the design of the very successful diesel powered E10 1t mini excavator. (The E10 is now called the E10z to reflect that it is a ZTS mini-excavator). The E10e has the same ZTS profile and identical external dimensions as the standard E10/E10z machine and offers equal or better performance. 

As the new machine is designed to be used in demanding indoor applications such as breaker work in demolition, it is equipped with auxiliary lines and an efficient oil cooler system for continuous hydraulic breaker operation. Cooling system capacity has been increased to meet extended demolition application requirements. The E10e uses a lithium ion maintenance free battery pack with an advanced management system which has been designed to fit within the standard machine envelope to maintain the machine’s ZTS profile. Based on customer studies, Bobcat has optimised the battery pack to provide capacity to match typical work patterns. Using external 400V supercharger functionality, the E10e when used with normal work breaks, can operate throughout a full working day and can be recharged to 80% of the capacity in less than 2h. The battery can also be recharged overnight by using the on board charger. 


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