Latest minis

17 April 2008

Straight glass panes on the front and sides will make the new PC14R-3 easier to repair than its ‘das

Straight glass panes on the front and sides will make the new PC14R-3 easier to repair than its ‘dash 2’ predecessor. A 1.6 t PC16R-3 is also coming out to replace the PC16R-2.

Compact equipment manufacturer Komatsu Utility is updating and adding to its range of mini and midi excavators, adding features that will find favour with rental companies. Murray Pollok reports from the company's production plant in Este, Italy.

Komatsu Utility makes equipment in the 0,5 to 11 tonne range, including mini- and midi-excavators, telehandlers, skid steer loaders and backhoe loaders. The boom in sales of such machines in Europe over the last few years has seen it invest in production capacity at its Este facility in Northern Italy.

Alongside this investment, Komatsu Utility will this year fill out its already wide range of equipment, with the focus in the first half of the year on new mini- and midi-excavators. Alongside upgrades to ‘dash 3' status for many of its existing models - including 1,4, 1,6, 2,2, 3,0, 3,5 and 5,5 tonne models - there are new 2,6, 4,5 and 8,0 tonne class machines to come out soon.

In terms of popularity, of greatest interest are the new 1,4 and 1,6 tonne models, which alone account for around 40% of all minis sold to rental companies by Komatsu Utility. The PC 14R-3 and PC 16R-3 are upgrades of the PC14R-2 and PC16R-2 models.

Although main digging specifications and dimensions are largely unchanged from the previous ‘dash-2' models, there have been some significant alterations to the machines, some made in particular response to requests from rental companies.

For example, the cabin versions now use straight glass windows, which makes it cheaper and easier to replace broken windows. The cab now uses a hinged door rather than a sliding door. The canopy versions, meanwhile, now have a four-pole canopy rather than the two-pole version before, and the machine can only be entered and exited from one side, which saves money on the duel-opening dash-2 models.

In addition to the new Stage IIIB engine, the latest versions have new Rexroth cab controls that use smaller levers with a reduced stroke, making them easier to use, says the company. The track movement controls, meanwhile, have also been modified to producer a smoother ride.

Another change is the hydraulic lines for attachments: these lines are now integrated into the boom providing a greater degree of protection and making the machines less susceptible to damage. A travel alarm is also now standard on the models, as it is with all other Komatsu mini-excavators.

Routine maintenance points are accessed through the chassis openings, with fuller maintenance and repair access achieved by tilting the cab forward - a one-man job. Komatsu says the service intervals for things like engine oil replacement and pin greasing have been increased to 500 hours.

New additions

Completely new machines being added to the range, meanwhile, include the 2,6 t class PC26MR-3, which is a new model between the existing (and retained) PC20 and PC27 models. Komatsu says the big feature of this model is a weight that, in combination with a basic transport trailer, will have a combined transport weight of under 3,5 tonnes, making it easy to transport on a non-specialist driving licence. This 3,5 t towing weight includes a 700 kg allowance for the trailer, plus allowances for the quick coupler and two buckets.

The machine is described as ‘Minimum Radius' - hence the MR designation - rather than zero tail swing, with an 80 mm overhang on the tracks. Digging depth, with the long arm, is up to 2,72 m, maximum digging reach is 4,53 m, and the maximum bucket breakout force is 2244 kg.

The Komtrax satellite tracking system will now be a standard feature on all mini-and midi-excavators - with the exception of its 0,9 and 1,5 tonne class machines, where it will be an option.

The PC26 shares the forward tilting cab and 500 hour service interval of the new 14 and 16 models, and the compact cab fits inside the dimensions of the counterweight, even with the door open.

Finally, on the midi-excavator range, there will be a new 7.5 to 8 tonne class model, the PC80MR-3, which will replace the existing PC75R-2 model. To be shown at this month's Samoter show, the PC80 has a width of just 2,25 m and overhang of 145 mm beyond the tracks, making it another ‘minimum radius' model.

Bucket capacity on the new PC80 will be between 0,09 m3 and 0,27 m3. Maximum digging depth will be 4447 mm (long arm) and maximum digging reach is 7049 mm. Bucket breakout force will be 5970 kg and maximum arm breakout force is 3990 kg.

Less details are available on the other machines that will fill-out the mini-excavator range, although Komatsu is promising an all new 4,5 tonne class machine, the PC45MR-3 and also a dash-3 replacement for the PC35R-2, which will be a slimmed down model. All will be clear at Samoter.

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