Dig Into Excavator Productivity

Modern excavators are loaded with productivity enhancing features, but if you don’t understand the advantages built into your particular machines, you can’t exploit them. Every manufacturer offers it own unique nuances. It is well worth your time to investigate the features and technology and how they can cut cycle times.

“The rule of thumb on excavators, cycle time is king,” says Matthew Hendry, John Deere Construction. “To maximize performance, you want to make sure you are getting as fast of cycles as you can get. With a 20-ton machine, you are probably looking at a 9- to 10-second cycle time if you are doing things right. You go up to an 85-ton machine, and you are probably looking at an 18-second cycle time. The bigger machines are a bit slower.”

Shorter cycle times reduce cost. “If you start lengthening cycle time, then your cost is going up and your production is dropping,” says Hendry.

There are many universal tips that can increase effectiveness, regardless of make and model. “Experienced operators can tell you there are many tricks to maximize productivity and decrease the cost of operating any type of construction equipment,” says Rob Brittain, product manager, Link-Belt Excavators. “Having the bucket teeth at the proper angle when digging maximizes productivity. Having the proper tools to assist in lifting applications saves time. You have more lifting power when the boom arm is tucked in closer to the machine. To be efficient, consider a quick coupler to shorten the time required to swap out tools.”

Understand unique features
“The most important thing an operator can do to maximize the productivity of any machine is to know the equipment, and that starts with reading the operator’s manual,” says Brittain.

Different machines may respond better to different techniques. “John Deere and Hitachi excavators have a very strong arm,” says Hendry. “We do a lot of our digging cycle with arm input as opposed to bucket curl. It is actually a faster cycle… With our excavators, you get about a 50° down angle on your teeth on the bucket. You arm in and boom up just enough to keep from stalling the arm. At about the 90° phase of the arm coming in, that bucket is about 95% full. Our machines will fill that bucket with just arm force.”

Read more: Dig Into Excavator Productivity

Caterpillar Unveils Its First Hybrid Excavator

In the sustainable industry, there’s buzz about hybrid technology. What is it? How does it benefit the user? How does it benefit the environment? What is the payback on hybrid technology? And what does hybrid really mean?

Caterpillar hit the nail on the head, so to “construction” speak, with the Cat 336E H Hybrid Excavator. This recently-unveiled and soon-to-be-launched (it will officially be launched at the BAUMA exposition in Germany in April 2013) machine is the first in its line of hybrid excavators and uses a new hydraulic hybrid technology developed by Caterpillar.

Video: How Does Cat’s 336E Hybrid Excavator Conserve Fuel, Optimize Performance and Reuse Energy?

What does hybrid really mean?
“A hybrid is independent of any particular technology — it doesn’t have to be electric,” explains Ken Gray, Global Product Manager for large hydraulic excavators for Caterpillar’s Excavation Division. There are misconceptions in the industry today that hybrids have to be electric and that hybrids are small, less powerful and unreliable. The Cat 336E H proves that none of these common perceptions are true.

“There are many other ways to store and reuse energy, other than electric, even though this is the approach many others have taken,” Gray notes. (See explanation under the subhead “Hybrid Technology Up Close” further down in this article.)

Caterpillar defines a hybrid machine as one that’s equipped with devices to collect, store and release energy to perform work during machine operation. This means that to be called a hybrid, a machine is not dependent on any particular technology.

Read more: Caterpillar Unveils Its First Hybrid Excavator

Kobelco’s New SK260LC-11 Excavator Brings the Torque

Boasting more standard features and more power, Kobelco has introduced the SK260LC-11 conventional hydraulic excavator.

With a 23-percent increase in torque compared to the previous model, the 194-horsepower Tier 4 Final Yanmar engine on the SK260LC-11 delivers 577 pound-feet of torque at 1,500 rpm.

The machine weighs in at 60,200 pounds and has a bucket digging force of 42,000 pounds, 63,300 pound-feet of swing torque, and 55,600 pounds of drawbar pulling force.

An ‘Independent Travel’ function, which dedicates one hydraulic pump to travel and one to the attachment, enables smooth and steady operation while moving heavy objects, Kobelco says.

The SK260LC-11 has three work modes – Eco, S and H – for balancing between high performance, economy and low fuel consumption. The heavy-lift and power-boost (with unlimited time use) features can be activated when more muscle is needed.

Durability and performance have been improved through thicker side panels and a larger bucket cylinder pin.

Read more: Kobelco’s New SK260LC-11 Excavator Brings the Torque

Dig and Travel Faster with Kobelco’s New SK55SRX-7 Compact Excavator

Compact excavators brought a new generation of contractors into the heavy equipment universe when they were introduced a couple of decades ago. It’s not an exaggeration to say their unique performance attributes revolutionized construction.

Kobelco has been a key player in this revolution and has continued to refine and upgrade models to keep performance curves on an upward trend.

The company’s latest model, the next-generation SK55SRX-7, follows the Kobelco Performance X Design concept for increased productivity, replicating the feel and operator comfort of larger excavator models.

Compact footprint
The SK55SRX-7 is a short radius machine with a compact tail swing and a small footprint for operation in restricted spaces such as urban or residential jobsites. The standard arm is 5 feet 7 inches long, but for jobs where additional reach is needed, you can spec a 6-foot 4-inch arm. Both come with a thumb bracket pre-installed.

With a canopy, the standard counterweight model SK55SRX-7 weighs 11,817 pounds. With a cab it weighs 12,147 pounds.

It runs on a 37-horsepower Yanmar diesel engine. Maximum digging height with the standard arm is 19 feet, 6 inches.

At ground level, the new excavator reaches to 20 feet. Dig depth goes to 12 feet 9 inches, and the working width measures 6 feet 5 inches.

Hydraulics = Performance
Nothing affects performance on a compact excavator more than the hydraulics. The SK55SRX-7 shortens the digging cycle time by up to 7% compared to the previous 6E series, thanks to improved hydraulic performance.

Redesigned travel motors increase the travel speed by up to 12% and hill climbing speeds up to 10%.

Other hydraulic system benefits include smoother operation and improved leveling performance. The integrated flow pump system harnesses extra output from the third pump, which otherwise powers the swing and dozer circuit. This output is directed to the arm and boom for added power when digging, resulting in a fast, smooth raising operation even under heavy loads.

Read more: Dig and Travel Faster with Kobelco’s New SK55SRX-7 Compact Excavator

“Minimum Swing with Maximum Space”: JCB’s New 245XR Excavator

JCB has expanded its X Series of excavators with the reduced tailswing 28-ton 245XR while maintaining the lineup’s spacious cab.

Between 2018 and 2019, JCB rolled out five X Series excavators. But Tim Burnhope, chief innovation and growth officer, said there was still something missing in the line. As infrastructure needs and funding have grown, more contractors are finding themselves on tighter jobsites.

“We needed to complement our existing conventional tailswing models with a reduced tailswing model, a machine that could [operate] safely in urban settings, on utilities jobsites and on road construction projects,” Burnhope says.

That led JCB to develop the 5-foot 8-inch tailswing model, which has 40% less tail swing than its sister model the 220X. At 28 tons, the 245XR weighs 2 tons more than the 220X. JCB says it gave the 245XR an extra 2 tons of counterweight, and it recessed the counterweight to protect the rear end from impact damage.

The next challenge was to reduce tail swing without sacrificing any space for the series’ standard Command Plus cab. JCB reports that the operator station is the same size as the 220X at 39 inches wide and 100 cubic feet of volume, delivering what it calls “minimum swing with maximum space.”

Read more: “Minimum Swing with Maximum Space”: JCB’s New 245XR Excavator

Dig in Tight Spots with Komatsu’s New PC78US-11 Compact Excavator

Komatsu has introduced a new “tight tail swing” excavator well-suited for urban environments, confined spaces and crowded jobsites.

With its 68-horsepower engine, six work modes and swing radius under 5 feet, the PC78US-11 can handle precise digging, as well as large excavation tasks.

The 12-foot 2-inch boom has a greater raising angle and a short implement swing radius (6 feet 9 inches minimum), giving the PC78US-11 the ability to dig efficiently in a crowded space. At the rear, the tail swing radius measures just 4 feet 7 inches. Viewed from above, both the front and the rear corners of the superstructure are rounded, with the maximum cab extension over the tracks at just 9 inches.

Good operators like a quick machine, and Komastu’s faster boom up and swing speed increases productivity by 9%. To better match machine performance to the application, Komatsu arms the PC78US-11 with six work modes: power, economy, lifting, breaker, attachment-power, and attachment-economy.

For operators who prefer backhoe-style controls, a pattern change selector valve comes standard. The grading blade has a new moldboard profile to improve backfilling and grading efficiency. The PC78US-11 accepts buckets from 0.10 to 0.26 cubic yards.

Read more: Dig in Tight Spots with Komatsu’s New PC78US-11 Compact Excavator

Cat’s All-New 315 Excavator is All About Speed

The new Cat 315 is better in every way than the machine it replaces, the 315F L. Cat has upgraded the hydraulics, engine, cab and swing drive and they’ve packed a lot of standard tech on this 15-metric-ton machine to help you get the job done faster.

In fact, Cat is calling the new 315 the most productive excavator ever in that 15-metric-ton size class.

We’re going to get into what’s new about this model, how they achieve some pretty substantial performance and productivity gains and how Cat is really stacking the deck here against the competition in terms of comfort improvements and standard technology.

A Small Excavator

Cat considers the 315 a “small” excavator. As a 16-metric-ton machine, its not a compact or mini excavator, but not large enough to be considered a midsize Cat excavator. In fact, within the small lineup, the 315 slots right in the middle between the 13 metric ton 313 and the 18 metric-ton 317.

The 315 is also a compact radius machine with only 5.1 feet of tail swing radius. And with 19 feet, 6 inches of digging depth and a 23-foot max loading height, though its digging forces can’t quite match up to larger machines in the Cat lineup, the 315 is a very versatile option in that it offers comparable reach and loading heights to those larger machines while still in a very compact package.

So, while you might typically think of larger excavators for loading trucks, Cat says you might be surprised how many of these small excavators in that 30-40,000-pound size class like the 315 are doing that work on a daily basis and in use not just on residential and site prep like you’d expect but on large infrastructure and road jobs as well.

The 315 in particular is a compelling machine for roadside digging and loading due to its compact design and formidable reach.

And because of its weight and size, transportability is less of a headache as well. When the 315 is equipped with 24 inch pads, it falls within a transport width of 8 feet 6 inches, so you can throw this thing onto a tag trailer and move it between jobs with a pretty simple setup.

Read more: Cat’s All-New 315 Excavator is All About Speed

Doosan launches new DX225LC-7 crawler excavator

Doosan has unveiled the first of the company’s new generation medium-sized Stage V compliant excavators – the new DX225LC-7 23 tonne crawler model. The DX225LC-7 is the first Doosan excavator of this size to feature the company’s innovative D-Ecopower virtual bleed off (VBO) technology, providing operators with higher productivity and around 7% lower fuel consumption per hour than the previous Stage IV model, as well as smoother controls.

In addition to higher performance and cost savings, the DX225LC-7 excavator offers more new features as standard than other machines on the market, many of which are common to the other new medium-sized excavators to be launched in the near future and build on the very successful design of the previous generation machines. The new features provide major enhancements in machine controllability, versatility, operator comfort, uptime and return on investment, with a strong focus on increased productivity and robustness.

New heavier counterweight

In the DX225LC-7, the new features include a 14% heavier 4.9 tonne standard counterweight particularly suited for working with heavier attachments such as tiltrotators. The heavier counterweight also contributes to the higher lifting and digging capacities of the DX225LC-7 compared to the previous generation model. The DX225LC-7 also incorporates as standard a new lifting eye that forms part of the casting for the push link for the bucket attachment at the end of the arm. The new lifting eye has a maximum capacity of 5 tonne and has a special bush insert to prevent deformation of the lifting hole.

Complementing the increased stability provided by the new counterweight, the DX225LC-7 introduces a new smart hydraulic system that offers an improvement of around 30% in attachment work, compared to previous excavator models. The new system applies a smart hydraulic logic for optimal distribution of the hydraulic flow rate when both the arm and attachment are working simultaneously, with a new priority valve and an additional hydraulic line maintaining continuous hydraulic flow to the attachment, even when the arm is being used.

Read more: Doosan launches new DX225LC-7 crawler excavator

Doosan’s largest and most powerful excavator is now available

The new Doosan DX800LC-7 excavator, the company’s largest model to-date, is now available in North America.

The DX800LC-7 features an operating weight of 82,100 kg, and is powered by a Tier 4 emission-compliant 539 hp engine.

Equipped with four power modes and four work modes, DX800LC-7 has a bucket breakout force of 70,107 foot-pounds, a maximum digging depth of 8.5 metres and a maximum digging reach of 13 metres.

The crawler excavator’s size makes it ideal for pit and quarry customers. It’s also well-suited as a large machine for heavy construction and infrastructure work. The DX800LC-7 can efficiently remove overburden and load large amounts of material into trucks at quarries. On construction sites, the machine excavates, stockpiles or loads large amounts of material.

Doosan prioritized durability and reliability in the DX800LC-7 excavator. The unique double-boom foot design improves stress distribution to reduce single-side wear and maintain machine uptime. The design also allows customers to more easily assemble or disassemble the boom for transportation.

DX800LC-7 customers can choose between three excavator arm options — standard arm, long arm or mass-excavation arm. The arm selections are designed to match the machine to the job, so the excavator doesn’t waste power. All three excavator arm configurations include a heavy-duty front design with additional reinforcement on key stress points.

Read more: Doosan’s largest and most powerful excavator is now available

Global Excavator Market (2020 to 2025)

The global excavator market grew at a CAGR of around 5% during 2014-2019. An excavator refers to a kind of heavy construction equipment that is used for digging excavations and trenching purposes. It is also used for digging holes, foundations, demolitions, dredging rivers, material handling and lifting heavy objects. It uses hydraulic motors powered by an electric, diesel or petrol engine to generate hydraulic force and control the mechanical arm of the machine. The machine consists of a rear/back actor, sipper, undercarriage, digging bucket and a cabin on a rotating platform. In comparison to the traditionally used machines, modern excavators are designed to keep the counterweights inside the track width during swinging, thereby keeping the movement safe and enhancing the maneuverability.

Significant growth in the construction industry is one of the key factors creating a positive outlook for the market. Excavators are mostly used in large-scale residential and commercial construction, development of roads and ports and mining projects across the globe. Furthermore, the widespread adoption of automated excavators is also driving the market growth. These excavators aid in minimizing labor costs and facilitate remote tracking of operations.

Additionally, various product innovations, such as the utilization of fuel cell-based electric motors to power excavators, are acting as other growth-inducing factors. In comparison to a diesel engine, fuel cells are lighter and more efficient, thereby increasing the cabin space for the operator and improving the overall productivity of the machine. Other factors, including the advent of equipment rental services, along with extensive infrastructural development undertaken by the governments of various nations, are expected to drive the market further. Looking forward, the publisher expects the global excavator market to continue its moderate growth during the next five years.

Read more: Global Excavator Market (2020 to 2025)


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