JCB 8030 ZTS

Coming from one of the world's biggest manufacturers of heavy equipment, the 8030 has a reputation to uphold.

JCB 8030 ZTS
JCB 8030 ZTS

Joseph Cyril Bamford launched the construction and agricultural equipment firm that bears his initials in 1945. Today, the company has manufacturing bases in the UK, US, Brazil, Germany, India and China. Its product line-up stretches to 278 machines and the yellow and black logo is recognised the world over.
The 8030 boasts some typical JCB features — and we don’t just mean the colour. The design and construction are also textbook JCB. The simple, clear, crisp lines and the attention to detail are also trademark JCB.
All parts are well protected for life in a harsh working environment. Hoses are routed on top of the boom where they are less likely to be damaged while the bonnet is made of sturdy moulded plastic to safeguard the contents against impacts. There are quick-release couplers on the auxiliary pipework for simplicity, convenience and to prevent oil leaks and contamination.
The view from the cab is excellent, the large glass area giving all-round visibility. A suspension seat, fitted as standard, provides the comfort needed for day-long operation — although one of our reviewers would prefer a little more leg room.
“When you are sitting in it all day, you start to realise there is not a huge amount of leg room — there is plenty for the head, however. It seems quite a tall machine in that respect,” he observes.
He likes the armrests and control pod. The pod isolates servo controls for safer access. “That’s a good feature, especially on a machine that is likely to be hired,” he says. “The armrests are comfortable and the controls are similar to other compact excavators, so they are easy to pick up and master. They are also well laid out; everything is to hand and the instrument panel is nice and clear.”
This is a 3.2-tonne machine and is one of five zero-tailswing models in JCB’s mini excavator range. Being compact means it should be good for landscaping projects where work is often in tight spaces. Digging work can be undertaken close to buildings and fences without the need to constantly watch the back end as the unit swings, dumps and swings back to work.
But being a compact ZTS also means the engine is never far away. If the tester has a gripe it’s with the temperature in the cab. “There is a lot of heat coming from the engine and you can feel it,” he says. “It would be a bonus in winter, but today it is a bit too warm.” We are, however, testing the pre-production prototype. JCB tells us the issue with the temperature is now resolved.
The 8030 has a new door design. Not only does this make entrancing and exiting the cab easy, it enables the door to be locked in the open position. And, even when locked open, the door remains within the swing radius — out of harm’s way.
In work, the 8030 proves it has real muscle. It is also very stable. Power comes from a 27.7hp engine that delivers an impressive 26kN of bucket breakout force. A single-piece counterweight is mounted as low as possible to provide maximum stability. Our tester travels up the bank to the green and down again, no problem. “Stability is very good,” he notes. The dozer blade runs the full width of the tracks.
The 8030 is smooth in travel; it’s also smooth in work. Micro-valve-block technology makes for accurate operation. Another advantage is that the slew and boom offset can be controlled simultaneously for faster machine positioning. With this machine, straight-line tracking also lets you operate the excavator end while travelling.
Changing the bucket is straight ­forward. A rod assists in lining up the holes ready to receive the pins. The 8030 has a large fuel tank. This machine should get through a lot of work between refuelling.
Our reviewer is keen to look under the bonnet to find out what is required for daily checks and servicing. “Access to the ­engine is excellent,” he says. “And ­everything is well laid out and easy to reach for checks and servicing. There’s also a removable floorplate in the cab that gets you straight to the slew motor and the hydraulic valves.” He’s impressed.
We reckon landscapers will find this machine extremely useful for projects that need that little extra effort, especially within a confined space or up close to barriers, and where a stable but compact machine is a must.

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