While attachment manufacturers are optimising their products to be more powerful and offer greater performance, they are also developing new concepts and designs to extend the working capabilities of excavators and other carriers.
Atlas Copco's product line manager of silent demolition tools, Wolfgang Hohn told CE that in addition to its new CC6000 and CC650 CombiCutter tools launched at Bauma, the company will introduce a further two new models this year.
The CC300 and CC350 will replace the CC250 and the CC4500 and will fill the gap between the CC3300 and the CC6000. Once product development is complete Atlas Copco will have an eight strong range of CombiCutters that will serve excavators from 2 to 85 tonnes.
Despite the difficult market conditions, Atlas Copco has maintained its commitment to research and development. "We are aiming to provide more power from our tools. Our medium and large CombiCutters are currently available with shear and universal jaw sets, but we are looking to provide more performance with a new jaw set, the B version or box jaw, " said Mr Hohn.
Another advantage of the new jaw set is that it creates much less dust than a normal pulveriser. "Dust is something that we are trying hard to minimise with our tools," he added.
In addition to the CombiCutter range, Atlas Copco also offers the Multi Grapple line of attachments, which was refined and updated during 2009. Mr Hohn told CE, "We are now developing a new line of pulverisers for primary and secondary demolition that offer higher performance. This sector is extremely specialised and end users appear to have varying requirements. We hope to have the first two units ready by spring 2011."
Sales manager at LaBounty Europe Heinz Groppe said that over recent months LaBounty has found that its customers have been demanding either small or large tools almost to the exclusion of the mid sized units.
Mr Hohn believes there are two distinct types of contractor when it comes to attachment sales. "The first group needs cutters from time to time and only for small parts of their projects. These customers look into the investment cost first and sometimes do not even consider operating costs.
"Other customers are looking into long-term productivity and know the performance of a CombiCutter can influence their business success. Here, the cutter plays a decisive role in the whole working process of the customer," he said.
Italian attachment specialist Mantovanibenne has been in the dedicated attachment business for many years, and was among the first to produce specialist demolition attachments. It has experienced the same challenging market conditions in recent months as all other attachment manufacturers. According to export manager Christophe Jarrin, this has resulted in the company seeing a distinct change in the market dynamics.
He told CE, "Today, our customers are looking towards making their equipment last as long as possible, so they are carrying out more maintenance and refurbishment and the demand for spare parts has grown as a result.
"We do however see an increasing demand for larger attachments over 2,5 tonnes as contractors go for the larger carrier classes, especially in Eastern Europe. In Western Europe the need for smaller attachments for compact and ultra-compact machines is also growing," he said.
Mantovanibenne has covered both ends of the spectrum with new product launches. On show at Bauma was its new crusher, the 8,2 tonne CR80R intended for carriers in the 70 to 90 tonne range, as well as what it calls the Micro Machine Line. This consists of small multisystem (MS) tools and the MCP line of smaller pulverisers.
Mantovanibenne offers the world's largest jaw opening Multitool in the shape of its MS130R that weighs in at 14 tonnes but the company has no plans to go bigger. According to Mr Jarrin, "We have reached a form of natural limit with this tool. To go bigger would require a carrier of such weight that transport would become an issue."
One area that Mantovanibenne is addressing is a demand for more power from tools of the same weight. Mr Jarrin said, "There is a new generation of hydraulic cylinder coming. In our shear line for instance, we will gain between +20 to +30% in power with no increase in weight.
"The SH900 we will be lighter than the SH1000 yet more powerful. Likewise, the CR80 crusher introduced at Bauma offers almost the same force at the tip as our existing CR100," he said.
Indeco meanwhile stepped into a new sector with the launch of its ISS scrap shears. The model on display at Bauma was the ISS 44/60, a product designation that illustrates it can be mounted on excavators in two different ways.
The shear can be mounted direct to an excavator boom in place of the stick on machines weighing 44 tonnes or more. Alternatively, it can be mounted in the more conventional manner on the end of the stick, but this will require an excavator weighing at least 60 tonnes.
The unit itself weighs 6,65 tonnes without a mounting bracket and offers a jaw opening of 860 mm. The maximum clamping force is 850 tonnes and the shear requires an oil flow of 400 l/min.
Indeco says this first model was designed for the US market, where there is a preference for larger attachments. However, it plans to launch additions to the ISS line in future.
Bobcat offers a range of attachments for its compact loaders, mini-excavators and telehandlers. Launches this year included a TR05 Tilt-rotator for use on the company's E32 and E35 excavators, a hoist and jib for converting its telehandlers into cranes with a 24 m drop length and a four strong family of skeleton buckets suitable for both compact loaders and the T2250 telehandler.
Sweden's Indexator has developed PropPlus Direct, an optional control system that makes it possible to control both the direction of the carrier and the movements of the Rototilt attachment with a single joystick.
"Via its own roller on the joystick, PropPlus Direct enables an operator to work quicker and with greater accuracy. There's no need to switch between the joystick and the steering wheel when changing direction, which leads to a much more sensitive driving experience," said a spokesman.
In what FRD claims to be a revolutionary development in breaker technology, the company has unveiled its Xcentric Ripper designed in conjunction with Spanish engineering company Grado Cero.
A spokesperson said, "During the past 50 years all manufacturers have tried to make hydraulic hammers more efficient, more productive and less noisy. Now with European outdoor noise and vibration directives becoming ever more severe it is getting more complicated and expensive to design and manufacture compliant hammers, and so we looked at alternative methods for rock excavation and demolition."
The Xcentric Ripper is equipped with what FRD calls reaction power accumulation technology, which in 85% of applications makes it more productive than a hydraulic breaker. The closed energy chamber is protected against dust, water and dirt, which the spokesperson said makes it the ideal attachment for working in tunnels and foundations or in muddy and wet environments.
FRD unveiled three units at Bauma with the XR 6 GO suited to carriers of between 5 and 9 tonnes. The XR 25 GO is designed for carriers in the 19 to 25 tonne range, while the XR 35 GO is for excavators of between 30 and 39 tonnes. The range will eventually comprise ten units to suit excavators from 2 to 85 tonnes.
As manufacturers concentrate on product development, the attachments available for contractors will become quieter, more productive, more efficient and quicker and easier to use.
As Mr Jarrin told CE, "Today it is all about optimising tools so they are lighter but offer greater power."