Feature - Mini revolutions

By Steve Ducker15 July 2015

Hitachi Construction Machinery Europe's new SX26U-5

Hitachi Construction Machinery Europe's new SX26U-5

With the Executive Hire Show, Intermat and Plantworx exhibitions all having taken place since the start of the year, 2015 has already been a busy time for launches and upgrades of mini excavators.

Hitachi Construction Machinery Europe (HCME) used Intermat to introduce its ZX17U-5 and ZX19U-5 mini excavators.

Designed to be user-friendly, offering high levels of performance, comfort and durability, the Zaxis-5 models are ideal for working in narrow or confined spaces.

Lightweight and compact, they can be easily transported from one job site to another, and are suitable for utilities, foundation work, landscaping and indoor demolition or construction projects.

Also new from HCME is the ZX26U-5, which the company said can be easily transported between job sites with two additional buckets on a 3.5-tonne trailer.

The ZX17U-5 and ZX19U-5 are said to be more productive than other brands of mini excavators of this size. Research shows that the cycle time is quicker and workload is greater than previous models. Due to greater hydraulic efficiency, the new Hitachi mini excavators are also capable of higher levels of productivity than previous Zaxis models, using the same amount of fuel.

The versatility of the new ZX17U-5 and ZX19U-5 is highlighted by the expandable crawler tracks. They can be retracted or widened – depending on the requirements of the job site – from 980 mm, for working in small spaces or being loaded on to a truck, to 1280 mm for greater stability.

Next generation

Elsewhere, Bobcat launched the new E17, E19 and E20 compact excavators - the next generation of 1-2 tonne excavator models from the company. These excavators provide a combination of breakout forces, working range, smoothness of workgroup functions, hydraulic output and fast cycle times, centred around a roomy and comfortable operator environment, durability and service access.

The new models are towable on trailers for up to 2000 kg, with transportability further enhanced by new tie-down points. An expandable undercarriage, automatic slew brake and advanced diagnostics and instrumentation are just some of the standard features included on all three excavators.

Bobcat said that like all its compact equipment, the new excavators are built around the operator, providing optimal ergonomics for operators of all sizes.

JCB has designed its mini excavator range to incorporate five key characteristics - comfort, controllability, reliability, serviceability and performance.

In its new 8018 and 8026 models the company has paid particular attention to service access and the operator's environment.

Other new products include the 8014 CTS which is designed to provide the maximum possible productivity in the mini excavator sector. It has an an operating weight of 1634 kg, a maximum dig depth of 2.648 metres, a maximum dump height of 2.531 metres and a 14.2kW engine., Like the 8016, it has protected hoses to minimise damage and downtime, and leading edge O-ring sealing face technology.

Kubota used Plantworx to exhibit its mini excavators alongside its new products. The company said its KX-4 range is among the most advanced compact excavators around and offers a solution to the 21st century requirement for comfortable, functional machines that are also environmentally friendly.

The company has been supplying mini excavators for more than 40 years and its new KXO19-4 is powered by Kubota's own D902 16 PS engine, which meets all current engine emission regulations.

Small stature

Belying their small stature, the EC15D, EC18D and EC20D excavators from Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) that the company described as powerful, easy to operate and delivering hard work through long hours.

The new D-Series compact excavators - occupying the 1.5-2t weight category - feature a D0.9A Volvo diesel engine that meets the latest EPA Tier 4 emission regulations.

Emissions are further kept to a minimum thanks to the optional automatic idling system, which reduced engine speed to idle if the controls are inactive for more than five seconds. If the machine is left idling for longer, the engine can be automatically shut down. This then stops the hour meter, leading to longer service intervals, lower operating costs and ensuring a better resale value for the machine.

The EC15D and EC18D also come with a 12% increase in lifting capacity compared to previous models and can now be equipped with an additional rear counterweight for even greater stability. With optimised digging equipment, these powerful compact excavators allow the operator to stretch further, dig deeper and reach higher.

The Volvo cab helps to promote high productivity from the operator. It is safe and easy to access via a wide door with three contact points or, when fitted with a canopy, using a large handrail. With superior noise and vibration insulation, excellent all-around visibility, and no extra pedals on the floor, it provides excellent operator comfort throughout the day. All controls are ergonomically placed and the large travel pedals allow the operator to easily manoeuvre the machine in tight spaces. The fingertip roller offers precise boom offset and convenient attachment use. To achieve maximum efficiency, a high speed travel switch is located on the dozer blade lever for fast backfilling sessions, while a single-acting auxiliary button on the front of the right joystick ensures easy hydraulic breaker operation.

Short radius

Kobelco Construction Machinery Europe has introduced seven mini excavators to its impressive line up of construction and earth moving machinery. The additions consist of four new conventional-type machines to market and three revisions of short radius machines. The placement
of the new conventional mini excavators provides customers with machines that are easily transportable and deliver exceptional work performance in all areas of sitework and location.

Transportation to site is a key factor for mini excavators in all operating classes. The new Kobelco machines feature compact size and weight dimensions to allow site-to-site transportation by car and trailer (subject to individual country licensing laws), or space saving commercial delivery loads. The company said benefits include reduced transport costs, rapid delivery/pick up times, greater customer reach and working role.

The introduction these mini excavators covers customer requirements for nimble, powerful and reliable machines to work in small working areas within suburban and site environments often associated with small-scale contractors and home users.

The machines are ideally placed to cover high volume working classes from 0 to 3 tonne and each class features short radius (SR –zero tail swing) and conventional machines to suit all working roles.

Load sensing

Caterpillar introduced its Cat E2 series mini hydraulic excavators in March as part of an extensive range of new products.

The 305E2, 305.5E2 and 308E2 cover the 5.5 tonne to 8.5 tonnes weight ranges, and will be produced at Caterpillar’s new 78,968 m2 facility in Athens, Georgia, US.

Among the series’ main upgrades is a High Definition Hydraulic System which provides load sensing and flow sharing capabilities, improving precision and controllability.

Standard features include automatic twin-speed pilot controls, which allow operators greater flexibility and control. The design of its bucket allows for 200° of bucket rotation, which is said to increase material handling capacity.

The 305E2 includes a redesigned operator station and have a digital control panel that offers improved control over its hydraulic systems.

This is a feature from the June issue of IRN. To read the full article, including the story of Yanmar manufacturing its 60000th machine for the Europe , or to catch up on other editorial content from June, including this year’s IRN100 survey, please subscribe to the magazine: http://www.khl.com/subscriptions

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