Hammer time

24 April 2008

There are no Hard and Fast Statistics available for the total number of breakers sold around the globe annually. However, estimates by CE’s sister magazine, Demolition & Recycling International, suggest a figure of 40000 to 45000, with 15000 to 20000 being sold in Europe, would not be too wide of the mark.

According to Rammer’s product manager for southern Europe and the Middle East, Teemu Teelahti, the increasing use of breakers on demolition and urban construction sites is helping drive sales in Europe. This, said Mr Teelahti, has resulted in ‘silenced’ models becoming increasingly popular among contractors.

Most manufacturers, including Rammer, now offer both silenced and non-silenced versions of many of their models. Indeed, silenced breakers are becoming so popular that Mr Teelahti, said he felt it entirely possible only silenced models would be developed in the future.

Reduced vibration is another major driver for new models, but one with two sides. The Physical Agents (Vibration) Directive covers both Hand Arm Vibration and Whole Body Vibration (WBV). This means contractors are continually looking for ways to carry out the work with equipment other than handheld tools, and to reduce the risk of WBV, by reducing hammer vibration, for operators sitting in an excavator’s cab, for example.

This has lead to a huge demand for breakers that can be mounted on compact construction equipment - skid steer loaders, mini excavators, backhoe loaders - creating a truly massive opportunity for breaker manufacturers.

Compact Power

What this means for end-users is that the choice of breakers now available for any application is enormous. Indeed, many of the major manufacturers launched new breakers at April’s Intermat in Paris. Caterpillar added three models to its D series in the shape of the H35Ds, H55Ds and H65Ds to extend the carrier range for its breaker product line from 1,1 tonnes to 70 tonnes. The D series breakers feature around -50% less parts than their predecessors, and are also fitted with vibration buffers between the power cell and hammer housing to minimise vibrations transmitted to the carriers.

The H35Ds weighs 100 kg and is intended for use on micro and mini excavators with a weight of between 1,1 and 2,4 tonnes. The H55Ds weighs 198 kg and can be used on 2,5 to 4,5 tonne carriers. While the H65Ds weighs 270 kg and is for carriers in the 3 to 6,5 tonne class. All three, while optimised for use on Cat equipment, feature a wide range of oil flow rate acceptance that means they can be used on a wide range of equipment.

Also launched at Intermat in April was Montabert’s Silver Clip range of light hydraulic breakers for carriers ranging from 1 to 9 tonnes. According to the company, the Silver Clip breakers offer high performance, reduced maintenance and are easy to use, while the design pioneers a completely new way of working with a breaker.

This offers increased versatility in trenching; open the trench with the breaker, remove the debris and refill the trench with the Clip Bucket, then compact the material with the Clip Ram.

The tools are quick to change. It takes less than one minute to switch from one accessory to another. The bucket accessory - ‘Clip Bucket’- is fitted mechanically, and does not need any hydraulic connection.

The bucket flange has been designed to fit the bottom of the breaker housing. The tool on the breaker is positioned in the casing and the operator can then lock the device with a retaining pin. This ‘breaker and bucket’ assembly will enable the operator to clear debris quickly and easily with the same machine without using any other equipment.

The vibrating plate accessory, Clip Ram, can compact materials without any additional hydraulic connections. When refilling the trench, the operator can use the breaker with the compacting plate accessory to compact the fill material in the trench. There are five different compaction plate sizes (225 to 500 mm).

Silenced Breakers

Elsewhere, Terex’s TXH-S silenced range of hydraulic breakers are designed for total compatibility with its mini/midi excavators and backhoes. Seven models make up the range, from the 70 kg TXH250S, which is suitable for use on 0,7 to 1,5 tonne machines, through to the 490 kg TXH1400S for 7,0 to 11 tonne carriers.

All seven feature vibration suppression using polymer suspension pads to reduce total operator and carrier vibration exposure.

Bobcat is another that has extended its compact hammer range by the addition of the HB380 and HB1180 breakers to its current four HB models - HB580, 680, 880 and 980. The HB380 has been designed for use on its 319 to 322 mini excavators with operating weights up to 1,7 tonnes.

With fewer moving parts and no tie rods, the HB380 incorporates an effective soundproofing system, where the striking assembly is held top and bottom by suspension systems that are not in contact with the outer cylindrical housing.

At the top of the HB range is the new HB1180, which offers an impact energy of 975 J and is suitable for use on its skid steer loaders (S220 to S300), compact tracked loaders (T250 to T300), the A300 all-wheel steer loader and its 337, 341 and 435 mini excavators. Like the rest of the 80 Series, the HB1180 is intended for concrete and general demolition work and features a new internal design with fewer moving parts to reduce service time.

Another feature is the auto power, an automatic pressure regulator that ensures maximum performance regardless of tool carrier hydraulic flow variations, or changes in outdoor temperature. It also limits excessive pressure at the time of start-up. As a result, said the company, the energy chamber diaphragm is protected, allowing for longer service life.

According to a company spokesman, “The energy chamber diaphragm gives the HB1180 a distinct advantage by allowing the nitrogen pressure to remain constant, so breaker performance remains constant. No periodic recharging is required, so the breaker is virtually maintenance-free and operational as soon as it is mounted on the carrier.

Atlas Copco Construction Tools has also added two light, sold body models to its range, the SB100 mk2 and the SB 150 mk2, which join the SB 200. Both feature considerably lower noise and vibration characteristics than those found on the units they supersede. The SB 100 weighs in at 83 kg, offers an impact energy of 150 J and can be used on carriers weighing 1,1 to 3 tonnes. The larger SB 150 weighs 125 kg, has an impact energy of 269 J and is suitable for 1,9 to 4,5 carriers.

Elsewhere, Finnish company Rammer has recently introduced a breaker designed specifically for backhoe loaders in the shape of its BL Series. Originally developed for a leading backhoe manufacturer who supplied it branded as its own, four models make up the series - the S 23 N BL, S 23 N BL City, S 25 N BL and S 25 N BL City, which weigh 268, 322, 390 and 420 kg respectively. The S 23 models are for use on machines weighing between 3 and 6,5 tonnes, while the larger S 25 is for 5 to 8,5 tonne carriers.

Big Hitters

Most major construction equipment manufacturers offer a range of attachments, including breakers for their equipment, and Volvo is no exception. It now offers the seven-model HB range - HB800 to HB3800. Weighing from 820 kg to 3,7 tonnes the HB range is suitable for use on carriers from 9 to 70 tonnes.

Volvo believes that acquiring a hammer and excavator that have been designed to operate together offers productivity gains and also places less strain on the tool and machine. This, according to the company, leads to greater durability and productivity.

The HB series feature a top mounted accumulator that boosts the piston in its power stroke and dampens pressure spikes in the hammer. A large rubber buffer protects both the excavator and operator from reflection and recoil forces.

A wear resistant severe duty steel housing keeps out debris and provides protection for the power cell and components - it also suppresses noise levels (the largest in the range is fractionally quieter than the smallest). Volvo also offers three tools with its hammers - a moil, chisel and blunt.

Terex is another equipment manufacturer who has added large breakers to its attachment range. Made up of three models - the 990 kg TX2200, 1,94 tonne TX4400 and 3,3 tonne TX10000, the range has been designed for use with Terex’s larger crawler and wheeled excavators from 13 to 50 tonnes. All three are silenced for urban operation and feature a mechanical and hydraulical recoil damping system to minimise vibrations during operation.

Korean manufacturer Daemo has recently introduced the DM series, which it said was designed using extensive customer feedback. There are 15 models in the range. The smallest is the DMB10, a 123 kg unit with an impact force of 130 J for use on 0,5 to 1,5 tonne carriers, while the largest is the DMB450, a 3,95 tonne unit with an impact force of 9830 J designed for use on 40 to 50 tonne machines.

All the breakers in the range feature auto blow rate adjustment and auto lubrication, while they can also be supplied as sealed units for quieter operation.

Elsewhere, Rammer has extended its G series range with the addition of the G88. Intended for use on carriers from 27 to 40 tonnes it weighs 2,37 tonnes. The G88 boasts a new hydraulic system design, improved piston guidance and more precise blow timing, which the company claims provides substantially greater productivity than other similar sized hammers.

As with all of Rammer’s G series models, the G88 is available as a silenced City model, and an extensive range of other options are available to allow customers to tailor the hammer to their specific requirements.

Rammer has also produced a special hammer designed for tunneling applications, the G100 Tunnel. Based on its G100 model it has been designed to cope with the specific demands of this challenging application, which include inverted working angles, extended working hours, high dust levels and the need to control noise emissions.

In addition to the two new solid body breakers highlighted above, Atlas Copco has also added a new heavy-duty breaker, the 2,5 tonne HB 2500. Intended for carriers from 29 to 43 tonnes, it offers a number of standard features, including StartSelect. This allows the startup and shutdown operation to be adapted to working conditions, while PowerAdapt automatically shuts the breaker down in the event of excessive oil pressure.

Atlas Copco’s Autocontol system ensures optimum impact energy while the breaker is working, and ContiLube II is an auto lubrication system. The breaker can also be supplied with an optional dust protection system.

Elsewhere, Spanish manufacturer Tabe has been working to develop an advanced hydraulic system that, it claims, allows +20% greater impact energy using a mixed hydraulic/gas system. The company says it has managed to eliminate the diaphragm accumulator without affecting the hammer or excavator, reduced bolted connections by -50% and, as a result, eliminated 25% of components.

The first result of this extensive R&D work is the AGB-10, which weighs 900 kg and is intended for use on carriers from 10 and 16 tonnes. Currently undergoing field tests the company hopes to launch the AGB-10 by the end of this year.

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