Demolition Excavators: Bringing the house down

07 December 2016

Excavators are at the top of the shopping list for most demolition firms, their reach and range of attachments making them suitable for a range of jobs or capable of being adapted to one specific task.

To support customers in the demolition sector and meet their varied and highly specialised needs, the Volvo Construction Equipment range includes models for both high reach and standard demolition applications.

Volvo’s E-Series standard demolition range comprises four base models. When different configurations are included, the number rises to seven.

With operator safety and machine protection paramount, Volvo said its concept is to provide a completely specified demolition package. While options can be specified separately, the company can help customers avoid overlooking important options by packaging the options together.

These options are bolt-on, so no welding is necessary in the event of anything needing to be replaced. This results in less machine downtime, and increased profitability for the customer. Packages can also be offered for both light and heavy duty applications.

A variety of features protect the machine in extreme applications. A micro-mesh screen on heavy duty demolition doors and engine cowl keeps out debris and protects the components and full-length track-chain guards prevent sharp objects from lodging in the tracks. A swing-ring protection guard protects the swing ring bearing seal and grease piping from damage by rebar, timber or other debris, and an 8 mm thick extreme duty undercover protects the major components.

Boom and bucket cylinder protection are also available.

To achieve the correct flow and pressure for hydraulic attachments, the machine can be factory fitted with a variety of hydraulic lines to suit these attachments. The attachment management system stores the settings for up to 20 attachments for ease of operation. Depending on the hydraulic options configured, the management system can store flow, maximum pressure, and settings for operating comfort.

Three ultra-high reach (HR) demolition-model excavators are in the range. These are the 23 m (75 ft) reach EC380EHR, 28 m (92 ft) EC480EHR and 32 m (105 ft) EC700CHR. Volvo’s Special Application Solutions team, however, working with specialist partners, is able to offer other purpose-built machines.

The latest generation E-Series models, featuring Tier 4 Final/Stage IV-compliant diesel engines, combine durability and safety for maximum profitability in demolition projects. The EC700CHR meets Tier 3/ Stage lllB.


Making the right connections


Komatsu manufactures its demolition excavators in-house, developing, testing and certifying each product to comply with relevant regulations at the time of the first sale into the market.

This includes manufacturing in accordance with EN 474-1 Annex G, the European Standard that governs safety requirements for earthmoving machinery used in demolition.

For example, Annex G says that if high reach equipment is being used, a tilting cab of not more than 35° from horizontal, but Komatsu’s standard specification is 30°. The company also uses quick connect couplings and coloured ID bands to ensure the safe and correct connection of hydraulic hoses for interchangeable equipment. The controls for activating the tilting cab, which must be forward of the seat backrest under Annex G, are in the side pod for dash 8 machines and in the wrist controller for the PC490 HRD model. A rear view camera system is installed as standard, and there is a boom angle warning buzzer or working range indicator depending on the model.

In addition, the excavators’ FOPS (Falling Object Protective Structure) complies with ISO 10262 Level 2, and the front guard for the titling cab is able to withstand high energy impact on its weakest point.

There is also safe and compliant access for interchangeable equipment, associated hydraulic connections and pins, and removable counterweights.

The company said it had received numerous positive comments from customers regarding the capability of its PC490LC-10 high reach demolition machine, which was launched in 2015 and recently updated. It features a medium reach arrangement, which is aimed to deliver the full hydraulic power of the 50 t class PC490LC up to a maximum 17.4 m.

Komatsu said that by using the latest demolition tools, it believes customers can deliver demolition forces previously only achievable by a larger class of machine.


Main attraction


In December 2015, Helfaut Travaux used Liebherr’s R 960 demolition excavator to demolish a silo near Frévent in northern France, and it attracted quite an audience. With an output of 240 kW/326 hp and an operating weight of approximately 93 t, the excavator, complies with the applicable Stage IV/Tier 4f emissions standards.

The R 960 supersedes the previous model, the R 954 C Demolition, and provides working heights of up to 33 m. With the R 960, tool attachments with a weight of up to 3.5 t can be used and a high break-out force can be achieved. What is more, increased tool weights with greater reach enhance productivity. A new and spacious driver cab with improved view also improves safety for the driver in order to offer best working comfort and optimal productivity.

Included in the R 960’s standard equipment is the Liebherr Demolition Control System (LDC), which won the innovation award at the Paris show Intermat in 2015. The system gives the operator information about the precise position of the demolition tool and safeguards the stability of the excavator. The position of the tool is displayed in colour and in real time on the touchscreen, along with the tilt angle of the machine. This provides the operator with real-time information about what movements are permitted. In this way, it is possible to minimise the probability of human error impairing the stability of the machine.

To facilitate handling for the driver, the “Liebherr Demolition Control” (LDC) system is integrated in the electronics of the R 960 demolition crawler excavator. In addition to the angle sensors, automatic detection of the tool length has been developed to permanently determine the position of the tool.

Selection of the tool takes place via a touchscreen, whereby the weight is already integrated in the software. To optimise the performance of the excavator, an extended reach with rotation limiter was developed and integrated in the system.

Thanks to integration of the LDC system in the electronics of the demolition excavator, specific components are no longer necessary. This saves money and simplifies handling. The greater reach opens up larger work areas to the driver and increases productivity. Liebherr said it is currently the only manufacturer in the market that offers this system.


The Cat came back


After a few years away from the demolition industry, Caterpillar is back with two products that draw on the company’s design, manufacturing and distribution expertise.

For any industry, a new entrant to the market is a time of excitement, and demolition is no exception. When that company is of the size and scale of Caterpillar, and it is returning to a market that has been off its radar for the past few years, it’s inevitable that the interest ramps up even further.

Already on the market is the 336F Straight Boom, which was launched in the final quarter of 2015. It is an intriguing development because while straight boom excavators are in themselves not new to the market, most excavators feature a curved boom concept.

However, as Caterpillar’s applications specialist Cedric Masson is keen to stress, the 336F – which has been designed for both low-level demolition and above ground level tasks – “is not just a case of mounting a straight boom on a standard machine. It is a dedicated machine.”

The new product is the 340F UHD.

The UHD in its name signifies “ultra high demolition” and preliminary specifications show that the front parts can reach up to 22 m of vertical pin height. They are also capable of carrying 3.6 tons up to 15 m.

Talking about the 336F, Cedric added: “The straight boom is not unique to Cat. But one of the good things for Cat is that we can produce it as an in-house design, we can control the manufacturing, we can offer concrete solutions through the distribution network. That way we speed up the process and develop a cycle – while we are getting the feedback we can continue improving the product.

“We’ve been thinking about launching this product for quite a while and we wanted to make sure we did it properly. We believe this is an important segment for our customers, and we want to serve this segment.”

Like the 336F, the 340F has also been designed with Cat’s range of work tools in mind, and includes a tool control system that remembers pressure and flows for up to 10 tools to allow for quick changes between applications. Significantly, owners are also able to use Cat’s Product Link and Vision Link systems to access details of location, hours, fuel consumption and idle time.

The new products are backed up by the MP324 multi-processor with concrete cutter jaw. At 2,133 mm long, 1,485 mm high and 793 mm wide, it has a crushing force of 1,005 kN at tooth tip and a cutter tip crushing force of 1,520 kN.

The crushing force of the primary cutter is 3,202 kN. Like the smaller MP318, the multi-processor allows the customer a range of options from a single housing.

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