Hitachi has launched a hybrid excavator into the European market, claiming that the combination of a hydraulic motor and an eco-friendly electric motor can give the same high levels of efficiency and smooth swing motion as all Zaxis-5 hydraulic models, while reducing fuel and CO2 consumption by up to 31%.

The launch took place in Tampere, Finland, at an open day held by Hitachi's Finnish dealer Rotator, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) said it had launched the first of a new generation of excavators, the ZH210LC-5 hybrid, and that it had been designed to deliver reliable performance with fewer emissions and less fuel than conventional models.

Designed to be more economical for owners, easier for operators and better for the environment, the ZH210LC-5 hybrid incorporates technologies adopted from hydraulic, electric and battery-powered excavators. The result is the Trias HX system.

The Trias HX system combines a hybrid system with an energy-efficient Trias hydraulic system to achieve lower levels of fuel consumption. The hybrid system incorporates a swing motor that converts energy generated during swing braking into electrical energy. This is transferred via the Power Control Unit and stored in the capacitor unit, before being used to help the engine accelerate and move the upper structure.

Sales manager Wilbert Blom said that the hybrid machine was being targeted at customers who would use the machine in the best way to benefit from the technology.

He said, "You need swing movement of more than 40% to get the benefits, for example loading trucks, waste management, etc. Using our GPS system, we can target customers by analysing the usage, and help our dealers by providing the data.

"Other contractors want to be seen to be green," he added.

The Trias hydraulic system is said to enhance the performance of the Hitachi ZH210LC-5 hybrid excavator. This employs a three-pump/three-control valve system, which the company claimed resulted in greater accuracy and reduced pressure loss that consequently saved energy.

The ZH210LC-5 also has an electric power assist system that comes into force for small swing operations. It uses energy from electric swing motors to carry out such movements, further reducing the machine’s fuel consumption.

Monitoring system

The ZH210LC-5 has been designed with a monitoring system, which highlights fuel consumption and energy usage on an average hourly and daily basis. This gives the operator an accurate indication of the machine’s efficiency and encourages greater awareness of economic operating techniques.

A hybrid model from Hitachi has been available in Japan, and it was this machine that was shown at the Intermat show in Paris two years ago, and last year's Bauma in Germany.

In the period leading up to the launch of the model for the European market, it underwent a rigorous winter test in the Arctic Circle under the supervision of Finnish contractor Maansiirtoliike Kemppe.

It used the machine for earthmoving and loading trucks in temperatures that plummeted to -30°C, from January until March 2014 on a road construction project in Rovaniemi, alongside its existing fleet of conventional medium Zaxis-3 and -5 excavators.

The owner of Maansiirtoliike Kemppe, Tuomo Kemppe, said, “The hybrid machine is very quiet and easy to operate, the swing motion is smooth and responsive, and the fuel consumption is certainly favourable in comparison to our other machines working on the same site.”

Rotator

Rotator managing director Thomas Ahman said that his company, having been founded in February 1954, took the name Rotator in 1961. One of the few dealers to cover the whole of Finland, it has been a Hitachi dealer for 30 years.

Other suppliers who joined the company to celebrate is anniversary included Bomag, Merlo, Tadano, Furukawa and Combi Wear Parts.

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