Many factors to base mini excavator selection on

Published 3/7, 2018 at 13:51

Buyers always have a personal checklist when acquiring a mini or compact excavator. There are the usual items like power, versatility, comfort, ruggedness, and ease of maintenance. There are also intangibles, such as past experience with a particular manufacturer, recommendations from colleagues, and perhaps even the colour. PDi’s Jim Parsons reports.

Industry research estimates that 825,000 excavators (encompassing all sizes) were sold during 2017 and projections estimate that figure to reach 1M annually by 2020.  Despite the high demand, excavators remain very much a buyer’s market, and if skilled operators continue to be in short supply, these machines will have to do even more than their predecessors. This all means that PDi’s annual look at what’s new in the increasingly popular mini and compact excavator category is an essential tool, containing numerous individual features that appeal to the individual buyer. 


Volvo unveils 1.8t ECR18E ultra 

short swing radius compact excavator

Receiving its worldwide premiere at Intermat, Volvo’s 1.8t ECR18E is designed for the tightest of spaces. Thanks to its ultra-short tail design, the shortest radius in the Volvo range, it can work close to obstacles without colliding with them. Featuring a variable undercarriage, the ECR18E can retract to less than 1m wide to enter confined areas, or expand to 1.35m. 

Particularly suited to the needs of rental businesses, the ECR18E is designed for low cost of ownership. Robust by design thanks to a high profile counterweight, the machine is made for easy maintenance, with 50h greasing intervals and a hinged fuel tank providing excellent access to the engine compartment. The engine can also be fitted with auto idle and auto engine shutdown features, which both reduces noise disturbance, service costs and fuel consumption while ensuring a higher resale value.

The cab environment of the ECR18E is both roomy and uncluttered. With fingertip operation, simple layout controls, and large travel pedals, the machine is both easy and safe to operate; the latter helped by a standard seatbelt and optional sensors that lock the controls, preventing movement if the operator is not sitting firmly on the seat.  Transportation is also safe and secure, helped by four easily accessed tie down points on the upper frame. Being light weight, it can be safely transported with up to three buckets and a hydraulic breaker on a compact trailer.


Case mini excavators raise 

the bar on productivity, comfort, and safety

Case has launched its new C Series mini excavator range with six models ranging from 1.7t to 6t. The C Series ‘raises the bar’ compared to the previous range, with better performance, a rich array of features, and even greater comfort and safety, all contributing to outstanding productivity.

The C Series mini excavators include features that will make the operator’s work easier, more comfortable and more productive. They include the new easy to read digital cluster that provides useful information and warning lights and standard Engine Start Limitation (ESL) anti-theft system as well as a hydraulic quick coupler for fast attachment changes.

Other features include ROPS, TOPS, and FOPS compliance, emergency stop switch, travel alarm, and object handling kit. The safety valves prevent loads from slipping in case of hose failure. The pilot system with accumulator enables the operator to put the attachment down safely even when the engine is off, whilst the double flange rollers minimise the risk of detracking and improve stability. 

The 1.7t CX17C provides productivity, comfort, and safety, while the 1.8t CX18C stands out for powerful performance and working range. Both models’ compact dimensions enable them to work efficiently in the tightest spots and feature hydraulically retractable tracks with inner routing of hydraulic hoses. When the tracks are retracted, the machines are less than 1m wide. The CX17C features a Zero Tail Swing design, which ensures there is no risk of hitting an obstacle with the back of the machine meaning, it can work effectively and safely in the most confined spaces. 

The 2.6t CX26C and 3.7t CX37C models possess an excellent working range, reach and dig depth, as well as ample boom swing angles. They are available with a choice of long and short arms, which deliver a maximum dig depth of 2,645mm and 2,420mm respectively for the CX26C, and 3,440mm and 3,135mm respectively for the CX37C.  The top of the range 5.7t CX57C and 6.0t CX60C stand out for their excellent engine power, lifting capacity and comfort features. 


Wacker Neuson debuts first 

battery powered mini excavator at Intermat

Intermat visitors got the first look at Wacker Neuson’s EZ17e battery powered mini excavator, which delivers the same power and performance as its diesel powered models. Available in 2019, the EZ17e is a new addition to the group’s long established zero emissions product line. The EZ17e is powered by lithium-ion technology, which has been used by Wacker Neuson for many years. Its long service life means that the all-electric excavator t remains operational for a full working day.

A 110-230V power outlet is sufficient to charge the battery overnight, with a quick charge by high voltage power supply in four hours also being possible. Thanks to the intelligent charging management, the EZ17e can be used battery operated or connected to the power supply system, and even charged while being operated. This makes the EZ17e particularly suitable for environments where exhaust fumes and noise are to be avoided.  It is also a zero-tail excavator, designed without rear overhang. Thus, the operator does not need to worry damaging the machine or the surroundings while working near the walls or in confined spaces. The rear of the electric excavator never reaches beyond the undercarriage, making the EZ17e ideal for use in tunnelling, demolition and renovation work in small spaces, or for interior restorations.


Mecalac converts 

12MTX into e12 electric mini excavator

Also new in the zero emissions category is Mecalac’s e12, an electric version of the company’s 12MTX. The engine compartment houses LiFePO4 (lithium iron phosphate) battery technology for a high capacity of 146 kW hours, giving the e12 up to 8h of operating time. The system also supports three times as many charge cycles as conventional batteries, with better safety, with there being no risk of fires or battery fluid leaks. The e12 has a charging station that can be used to recharge it on site in 6h to 7h. 

With a structure designed for city use, and two independently operating electric motors, one powering the excavation mechanism and one for movement, the Mecalac e12 is set to become a fixture in plant fleets for urban settings. Apart from its performance and range, its 100% electric transmission offers excellent tractive force as soon as the engine is started, with brake energy regeneration. 


New compact excavators from Kubota

Kubota’s new U27-4 features adjustable auxiliary flow hydraulics, an auxiliary diverter valve, two speed automatic downshift travel, as well as excellent reach and dig depth. The 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 high working range (including reach and digging depth) and a bucket digging force of 3,181kg. It is also fitted with 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 cab option with heat is also available.

The new 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 hard to reach areas, the KX033-4’s optional extendable dipper arm can be quickly and easily extended up to 787.4mm, boosting productivity as well as efficiency. Its impressive capabilities include a digging depth of 3.7m and a digging reach of 5.6m.  


Bobcat expands R-Series line with E85

Bobcat has expanded its R-Series excavator line with the new E85, the largest machine in the company’s compact excavator family. The E85 has been redesigned with performance, uptime protection and operator comfort in mind, and features the same bold, distinct design and other cab upgrades. The 49kW E85 shares the same Bobcat® turbo charged diesel engine technology as other models introduced in 2017, and does not require a diesel particulate filter (DPF) or selective catalytic reduction (SCR), as well as possessing similar cab upgrades found on the current R-Series excavators. Furthermore a new standard lift eye is included to help operators properly lift and place objects.

The 330mm of tail overhang allows the E85 to work in compact environments. The excavator’s boom swing frame stays within the width of the machine’s tracks as it swings, making it easier to perform in confined jobsite conditions and next to buildings or other obstructions where larger equipment, such as a tractor loader backhoe, can’t fit. 

Bobcat’s E85 excavator cabs are rated as a Level 1 Falling Object Protective Structure (FOPS). The improved top window and narrower side pillars contribute to visibility, providing an excellent view of the excavator’s work pattern and surrounding areas. Left and right mirrors enhance the operator’s visibility from inside the cab, with a new sun visor over the top window shielding operators’ eyes.

The new machine features a standard, easy to reach control pattern selector enabling quick switch from ISO controls to standard controls. With the repositioned second auxiliary hydraulic selector switch, operators can toggle between the optional second auxiliary and the boom offset without removing their hands from the left joystick. The design allows open access to the engine area for daily maintenance checks, providing access to the engine and routine maintenance components to help minimise machine downtime.


Yanmar commemorates 

excavator anniversary with new models

Intermat in Paris was the setting for Yanmar’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of its first mini excavator, with the manufacturer presenting its latest developments. The SV60 is the latest Yanmar short tail midi excavator, with the 5.7t machine having been designed to respond to the most demanding requirements regarding comfort and stability. 

Putting the operator at the centre of its design, Yanmar has developed a design concept providing comfort for enhanced productivity, with the cabin offering high capacity which is comparable to 8t and 10t excavators. Operating controls and switches are ergonomically arranged for easy reach, and an air suspended seat comes as standard. The latter is fully adjustable and has a headrest, thus reducing body tension and fatigue. The standard SV60 is also equipped with a rear view camera. 

The SV60 has a new generation Yanmar engine with an output of 33.4kW at 2,200 rpm. This is the result of Yanmar’s continuous efforts to further develop technological enhancements in terms of fuel consumption and emissions. The hydraulic system cumulates the flow of separate pumps in order to obtain the optimal combination in terms of speed, power, smoothness and balance. All operations can be performed smoothly and concurrently, even while traveling. The optimal mass distribution and the design of the midi excavator result in the improved loading chart and its static stability. The SV60 has a high digging force to be more productive and to work in hard conditions. 

Yanmar also presented four renewed models of zero tail swing mini excavators between 2t and 4t: the ViO26-6, ViO27-6, ViO33-6, and ViO38-6. The ViO-6 range is equipped with the latest generation of Yanmar TNV engines, with emissions, sound levels, and fuel consumption being reduced. Neither the counterweight nor the front of the upper frame exceeds the track width, meaning that when combined with a very small turning radius and reduced transport weight, the four models operate easily, even in confined spaces.


Doosan’s New DX17Z mini excavator 

Doosan’s DX17Z is ideal for rental and urban construction sites with limited space. It is designed for all types of applications that require frequent mobility, compact size, powerful performance, providing a comfortable working environment. The 1.7t DX17Z is ‘zero house swing’ offering easy transportability and more functionality than a zero tail swing due to the full protection to the front upper structure corners within the swing circle. As a result, functionality provides 320° of free rotation while working close to any object.

The stability of the DX17Z is said to be excellent, and when fully retracted, the undercarriage allows the excavator to go through narrow spaces. When fully expanded, it provides optimum stability for the excavator, with expansion and retraction being simple via an electric switch on the control panel. The optional long dozer blade also significantly improves front stability, enabling the operator to make full use of the breakout forces the DX17Z can deliver. The extra stability is essential for making maximum use of the digging forces and lifting capacities available in the DX17Z.  This firm foundation of optimised stability and lifting capacity enables the DX17Z to provide versatility in operating with a wide range of attachments.

The DX17Z can be supplied with an optional certified 'object handling device', which consists of a boom load holding valve, arm load holding valve, hooking device, and overload warning device.  The superior dumping height of the DX17Z makes loading trucks an easy process, while the reach at ground level means the operator does not have to reposition the excavator as often as other machines when digging.

Incorporating the architecture of a 2t class hydraulic system, with a combination of variable piston pumps and a gear pump, the DX17Z’s unique hydraulic system makes the best possible use of the engine’s power. Fast cycle times, combined with smooth control of breakout forces, aid productivity. Boom and arm cylinder cushioning enhance the overall smoothness of the workgroup.  

The DX17Z has a standard operating weight of 1.49t and a maximum digging depth of 2,249mm. With a transport weight of less than 1.65t, the DX17Z is towable on trailers 2.2t of total weight. The use of highly durable materials ensures the DX17Z is highly robust and easy to repair, with heavy steel gauge covers and tailgate providing high levels of durability and peace of mind while working.  

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