Peter Jowett, product manager at JCB, said breakers are growing in popularity at a time when sales of earthmoving machines have been flat or falling around the world.
He said, “The market for breakers grew across the world in 2014 and it is growing in 2015, with the US and the UK in particular doing well. The rental sectors in construction and quarrying have also been good markets, with breakers used with larger and mini-excavators and backhoe loaders.
“The core lines that we have been focusing on have been the midi excavators and models of 20 tonnes. We have found that it is this kind of equipment that is often used by owner-operators for clearing work, new infrastructure and also for quarrying. It is important we make sure that we find the right machine for our customers.”
The company has a 16-strong line-up of JCB Hammermaster breakers to suit both JCB and competitor machines from 0.5 tonnes to 55 tonnes.
Its range that has been specifically designed to match JCB’s own machines’ requirements including all excavators, skid steer and backhoe loaders. However, its larger breakers can also be supplied with a ‘universal’ fitment, without a hanger bracket, enabling them to be fitted on any machines using dedicated quick hitch systems.
Meanwhile, Sandvik has introduced four new Rammer branded breakers - three new small units and the 5011 heavy duty hammer.
The new small breakers are the 255, 355 and 455 that plug a gap in the company’s line up and are intended for carriers from 1.2 tonnes to 5.2 tonnes. A key feature is the constant blow energy operating principle, which Sandvik says maximises productivity and profitability.
UK-based demolition company AR Demolition used a new 5011 for to clear the site of the former Northampton Chronicle newspaper offices. The hammer was mounted on a Volvo EC460L hydraulic excavator, delivering a high power/low impact rate for the application of concrete breaking.
AR Demolition managing director Richard Dolman described the site as a “potential nightmare” in terms of the challenge of clearing heavily-concreted areas. He said, “We are clearing the site in advance of the construction of a new store for a major supermarket chain and we cannot afford delays. So we chose a breaker that was as reliable as it is powerful.”
Sandvik also markets breakers under the Bretec brand, which is designed to be a mid-level range. The latest additions to the C-series range are the M17C and L20C, which incorporate a number of new features and updates over the M17 and L20 models they replace.
Designed for carriers in the 15 tonne to 23 tonnes and 20 tonnes to 29 tonnes weight classes, the M17C and L20C models boast operating weights of 1.2 tonnes and 1.6 tonnes respectively. Impact rates range from 280 to 760 blows per minute on the M17C, and from 390 to 700 blows per minute on the L20C.
Minimising the number of moving parts in the latest compact breaker models is another major trend – fewer moving parts should mean less maintenance and break-downs.
Among those taking a lead on this front is Caterpillar, which says its new E Series line of breakers features 47% fewer parts than the D-Series they replace. The company said the idea behind this change was to provide quicker and easier servicing.
Last summer it added four new breakers to its E Series line, intended for customers using mini excavators, skid steers and backhoes in North and South America. The new breakers are the H35E, H45E, H55E and H65E, designed for carriers weighing 1 tonne to 9 tonnes.
All four models are available in either standard or silent configurations, with the latter breakers carrying an additional ‘s’ designation at the end of the model number. The silenced versions have fully enclosed housings to suppress noise, while the suspension system includes buffers at the top and bottom to adsorb reflective forces and isolate the breaker from the carrier.
A suspension jack is also said to help in dampening vibration and sound during operation. In addition, the H45E and H55E are also available as pin-on and flat-top units. The flat top models can be used on Caterpillar machines and those from other OEMs, while the pin-on models are used on dedicated hammer-equipped Cat carriers.
Atlas Copco offers the MB and HB range of breakers, which include an advanced energy recovery system that captures piston recoil energy to increase performance without additional hydraulic input.
The two series also feature the company’s Integrated StartSelect valve, which allows the operator to adjust the hydraulic breaker start-up behaviour according to the operating condition in a few simple steps. Meanwhile, the built-in PowerAdapt overload protection valve shuts off the breaker when operating pressure is not in line with specifications, protecting it from breakdowns.
Last year, the company also released its HB 4100 hydraulic breaker, which is a 4.1 tonne unit for 40 tonne to 70 tonnes carriers. It features a Vibrosilenced system that is designed to protect operators against noise and vibrations.
Its equipment has also proved popular within the rental market, with businesses such as German fleet sales and hire company M&V Veit Baumaschinen. The latter has bought 15 new SB series hydraulic breakers to add to its existing breakers.
Volvo Construction Equipment (offers a full line of hydraulic breakers – 18 models in total – for all applicable machines, ranging from 1.5 tonne compact excavators, skid steer loaders and backhoe loaders up to the 70 tonne EC700 excavators. Jonas Staaf, director of Attachments for Volvo CE, Sales Region EMEA said: “Very few breaker manufacturers can claim that they are truly unique. Of course, there are some variations in features and specifications. Volvo breakers, for example, come with a good level of standard features, such as anti-blank firing, auto-lubrication, low noise hosing and variable speed. But at a high level most breakers are quite similar. At Volvo we have focused on building a productive and reliable beaker with good uptime that can also be considered cost effective globally.”
To ensure high reliability, Volvo breakers are subjected to thorough testing and must pass all Volvo quality requirements. This includes field testing of more than 30 breakers over several years to safeguard durability, as well as extensive testing in a laboratory environment to verify hydraulic compatibility with the machine to which it is attached.
At the larger end of the breaker scale, the latest unit from Dehaco’s Ibex range is for excavators weighing up to 46 tonnes. A key feature is the advanced hydraulic circuit on the range, which provides increased flow to the valve and piston, resulting in faster cycle times, increased penetration and more productivity than previous models.
Dutch supplier Hydraram offers 14 breakers in its FX range intended for use on carriers from 0.8 to 100 tonnes, with tool weights from 100 kg (220 lb) for the FX-10 to 7,000 kg (15,400 lb) for the FX-800. The company’s stated philosophy is to offer a complete breaker with all options at a low cost. As a result Hydraram breakers come as standard with a sound and vibration proofed housing, air connection for underwater operation and a connection for centralised lubrication. The range features only a few moving parts to provide increased reliability as well as easier and simplified maintenance.
All these developments show that while hydraulic breakers have been around for 50 years or more, there is plenty of development going on into new models that are simpler to maintain, more reliable in operation, and in some cases have better performance through the capture of waste energy.