How to buy - Mini excavators

Key features on the latest models include fast work cycles and precise functions, says Sally Drury.

Bobcat E35 mini excavator - image: HW
Bobcat E35 mini excavator - image: HW

Q: What models have been introduced this year?

A: Earlier this year, Bobcat introduced the E45 and E50 zero tail-swing mini-excavators. In the 4t to 6t category, the machines are intended for applications in landscaping as well as construction and demolition. They should make a useful contribution to the hire market.

Fast work cycles with smooth and precise work group functions, operator comfort, reduced noise, good service access and increased reliability and stability are key features of the new excavators, which are built on the same platform. Equipped with cab and bucket, the E45 has an operating weight of 4,634kg and maximum digging depth of 3.3m. Model E50, with the same cab and bucket, has an operating weight of 4,905kg and a maximum digging depth of 3.52m.

The E45 and E50 are powered by four-cylinder Kubota V2403-M-DI-TE38-BC-5 and V2403-M-DI-TE38-BC4 turbo-charged Tier III diesel engines respectively, producing 30.2kW and 35.kW net by SAE J1349 of output power at 2,200prm. This results in breakout forces of 28kN in the dipper arm and 35.1kN at the bucket for the E45 and 30.4kN in the dipper arm and 41.2kN at the bucket for the E50. Lifting capacities are 2,369kg and 2,778kg, respectively, at ground level and at a radius of 3m.

The new Bobcat mini-excavators have an "auto idle" feature as standard to reduce fuel consumption and noise. It can be enabled at the operator's discretion and causes the engine to drop to idle if the excavator functions are not used for a period of four seconds. The engine automatically returns to the pre-set throttle position when the operator moves a joystick or travel function.

Air intake, cooling, exhaust systems and the hydraulic pump and valve are designed for a lower bystander noise level - 95LwA and 96LwA for the E45 and E50 respectively. Operator ear noise level is 79dBA and 81dBA.

Model DX27Z and DX80R mini-excavators were recently introduced by Doosan for applications in amenity maintenance, turf management, hard and soft landscaping and forestry.

The DX27Z is a zero tail-swing machine developed to offer increased productivity and improved fuel economy and boasts a combination of electronic optimisation of the hydraulic system and new generation engine. Power comes from a Yanmar 3TNV82A-SDB diesel engine - 15.8kW at 2,200 rpm. Equipped with cab and rubber tracks, the machine has an operating weight of 2,790kg. Maximum digging depth is 2.94m, maximum dump height is 2.69m and maximum reach is 4.69m.

Enhanced ergonomics, increased comfort and all-round visibility are features of the new cab on the DX27Z. Operator noise level in the cab is 79dBA, while the guaranteed sound power level for external noise is 93dBA.

The DX80R from Doosan is a bigger machine, having an operating weight of 8,330kg when equipped with cab and rubber tracks. The maximum digging depth is 4.68m, maximum dump height 5.09m and maximum reach 7.48m. Power is supplied by a 40.7kW Yanmar 4TNV98-ZWDB8 liquid-cooled diesel engine running at a maximum governed speed of 2,000rpm. The low noise and emissions levels of this model should make it useful for working in noise-sensitive areas or for night-time operation.

New Holland Construction has introduced the E10SR - the smallest in its range - for working in tight spaces and digging alongside walls with the hydraulic swing offset boom, minimal swing radius. On the right swing, the overhang has been reduced to zero and is just 38mm on the left swing.

The adjustable crawler width enables the E10SR to pass through openings as narrow as 90cm when set at the minimum width setting of 75cm - the smallest in its class - and provides stability by expanding to a maximum 98cm for work. Digging depth is 1.75m, digging reach 3.3m and digging height 3.16m.

A new full-open bonnet has been developed to give access for daily servicing and the radiator water and hydraulic oil refill points on the E10SR are accessible without tools.

The new Cat D Series mini hydraulic excavators are now available, replacing the C Series and offering operating weights from 3.5t to 5.5t. The machines feature enhanced stability, a redesigned work-tool coupler, load-sensing hydraulics and engines that meet EU Stage 3A emissions regulations.

Models 303.5D CR and 304D CR are zero tail-swing machines, while the 305 and 305.5 are compact radius units. New from Hanix is the H09D - soon to be tested by HW.

Q: Have there been any other developments?

A: Austrian machinery manufacturer Wacker Neuson Linz has extended the optional Vertical Digging System (VDS) to a total of seven models in its mini-excavator range.

Wacker Neuson is the only manufacturer to offer this option, designed to provide more efficient excavation and improved performance on uneven terrain and enhanced driving comfort.

VDS enables continuously variable tilting of the superstructure at the touch of a button, thereby effectively levelling out gradients of up to 27 per cent. On uneven terrain, VDS is said to offer material and time savings in excavation and refilling of up to 25 per cent.

Wacker Neuson Linz managing director Gerhard Neudorfer says: "The number of excavators being ordered with VDS is growing out of all proportion and customers who have brought the system once now only purchase excavators with the system on-board."

Reflecting the growth in its product offering and the group's overall strategy to focus on specific industry segments, Volvo Construction Equipment this year rebranded its compact equipment division in the UK. The division is now known as Volvo Utility Equipment and includes the distribution and support of its range of compact excavators as well as its compact wheeled loaders, backhoe loaders and compaction equipment.

Within the UK, Volvo Construction Equipment's network of specialised utility dealers plays a vital role in providing customers with a wide range of services before and after the sale. Director Davis Munns says: "Over time, we have developed an outstanding utility dealer network with a significant investment in training to develop a common understanding of what it takes to provide the best customer service.

"Our utility dealers are supported locally by our own customer support centres and product specialists. The name has changed, but our commitment to our growing family of customers remains our number one priority."

Q: Are there any new attachments?

A: Montabert has launched a new range of crusher buckets for use on excavators from 8t upwards. The buckets are designed for easy mounting to any excavator and only require one-way auxiliary hydraulics to operate.

Suited to crushing concrete, brick, blocks, asphalt, aggregate and other hard materials, the Montabert crusher buckets can be adjusted to produce different sizes of output materials for re-use on site, on other projects or for sale to other contractors.

There are four standard crusher buckets in the range, offering operating weights of 1.5t to 5.3t. For use on small to medium crushing jobs, the CRB501 is 1.8m long, 1.05m wide and 1.2m high. It has a load carrying capacity of 0.5cu m, bucket opening of 60x45cm and a jaw opening from 2cm to 10cm.

New attachments from Bobcat include a family of skeleton buckets for landscaping work and general site clean-up applications.

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