Diggin' It

With more powerful Tier II engines and more sophisticated controls,
excavators push the envelope

Excavators Article September 09, 2004
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Manufacturers continue to refine the hydraulic systems in their excavators, along with sophisticated electronics to monitor various parameters. But digging is still a matter of brute force, and power reigns. What follows are brief descriptions of a few of the latest excavator products.

Lower effort, greater precision

With a new engine, refined controllability, reduced noise levels and enhancements to operator comfort and serviceability, the new 49.5-ton 450C LC excavator (Circle 900) is from John Deere Construction and Forestry Co., Moline, Ill.

The John Deere six-cylinder, 12.5-liter PowerTech engine produces 316 hp. The engine is more than 2 liters larger than its predecessor and provides a 31-hp increase.

Pilot lever efforts have been reduced by 10%, helping operators work long days without getting fatigued. The reduction in lever efforts, along with relocating the pilot manifold valve closer to the control valve, enables operators to work with greater precision and smoothness in delicate applications. Hydraulic flow and pressure in the 450C LC have been increased over those of its predecessor, the 450LC.

Rubber-track digger

On the other end of the size scale, the 1-ton TB108 from Takeuchi U.S., Buford, Ga., is equipped with a canopy and rubber tracks, has a maximum digging depth of 5 ft 6 in., and a bucket breakout force of 3,157 lb. Safety features include a standard travel alarm; spring-applied, hydraulically released parking brakes; a seat belt; and a control tower lockout system for the excavator’s operating controls and travel levers.
The hydraulically adjustable undercarriage allows the TB108 (Circle 901) to pass through openings as narrow as 29.1 in. and then expand to 35.4 in. for greater operating stability. The TB108 also features a lockable tilt-back engine cover for quick service access and an adjustable-width dozer blade that can be adjusted without tools. The two-speed travel system generates a maximum ground speed of 2.3 mph.

Smaller tails

The new 503Z and 753Z excavators (Circle 902) from Gehl Co., West Bend, Wis., have zero tail swing, so they can operate close to walls or other obstructions without risk of contact. The side-mounted engine and tilting cab actually enhance service access and operator space.

The 603 and 803 short-tail-swing models (Circle 903) are designed in a similar manner to the zero-tail-swing units, but with an emphasis on increased stability, greater lifting capacity and more engine and hydraulic power than Gehl’s previous models.

The excavators feature Tier II diesel engines that range from 47 to 69 gross hp. The engines are isolated from the cab to minimize heat and noise in the cab.

Modus galorus

Major increases in power, productivity, reliability and comfort and a notable decrease in fuel consumption mark the introduction of the PC400LC-7 hydraulic excavator (Circle 904) by Komatsu America Corp., Vernon Hills, Ill.

The PC400LC-7 also features an optional variable-gauge track, increasing lateral stability and lifting capacity. Recommended for use in a variety of industries including aggregate, construction, demolition, public works, utilities, waste handling and recycling, logging and forestry, the PC400LC-7 combines a 330-hp engine and an 8% increase in productivity with a 20% increase in fuel efficiency over the previous model.

Four working modes—active, economy, lifting and breaker—let the operator tailor machine function to each application. Active mode is designed for large, heavy production jobsites and increases productivity 8% by providing powerful and quick operation. Economy mode maintains standard production rates and reduces fuel consumption by 19%. Lifting mode increases hydraulic lift capacity by 7%. Breaker mode allows for efficient attachment operation through optimum engine speed and a one-direction flow of oil between the attachment and hydraulic tank.

A Power Max function boosts arm crowd force by 8% and bucket digging force by 9% over the previous model.

Even the boom has modes: smooth and power. Smooth mode allows for the boom to float upward for easy gathering of blasted rock and scraping down operations. Power mode is designed for difficult digging conditions, increasing digging force and improving ditch and box digging operations in tough ground.

Key working ranges include a maximum digging depth of 30 ft 4 in., a maximum dumping height of 26 ft 9 in. and a minimum swing radius of 15 ft 6 in.

State your case

CX Series excavators from Case Construction Equipment, Racine, Wis., include 12 models that range from 16,896 to 174,606 lb and from 52 to 486 net hp. Offerings include standard, long-reach and narrow configurations, with all Case CX models (Circle 905) delivering quick cycle times, powerful lift and breakout forces and precision control for maximum productivity. The Case Pro Control System combines advanced hydraulics and intelligent electronic control for greater fuel savings and smoother, more accurate response during trenching, excavating and craning operations. One of the industry’s roomiest cabs is standard on the Case CX excavators, along with a wide entry for easy access and panoramic views from the operator’s seat. All-weather climate control, fully adjustable seat and ergonomically positioned, easy-effort control levers add to the operator’s comfort and productivity.

Rugged performers

New Holland Construction designs excavators for rugged performance in the most severe applications. The EH130 LC, EH160 LC and EH215 LC models (Circle 906) feature engine power from 94 to 148 net hp. Operating weights range from 32,192 to 46,300 lb. The short-radius EH130 LC can work with tracks positioned close to and parallel to a wall or next to a tree, fence or other obstacle. The EH160 and EH215 feature a standard, reinforced, severe-duty boom and arm and power boost with no time limit for maximum digging force. Large, climate-controlled cabs accommodate any size operator and set the standard for comfort.

Big gulp

With an operating weight of 80,000 lb and a 2.5-3.8-cu-yd bucket, the SK330LC mass excavator (Circle 907) is one of the biggest models from Kobelco Construction Machinery America, Carol Stream, Ill. The SK330LC is designed to load a truck with the fewest passes.

A multidisplay monitor includes system status, engine preheat status, low-engine-oil-pressure warning, engine coolant temperature level warning, engine air cleaner restriction, battery charging system, low fuel level, CPU error indicator lamp, hour meter, fuel-level gauge, water temperature gauge and tachometer.

A power boost feature provides added power without a time limit.

With the standard arm, the SK330LC provides bucket digging force of 58,432 lb, a digging depth of 20 ft 9 in., a dumping height of 23 ft 2 in. and a maximum lifting capacity to the side of 17,470 lb.

The track rollers are lubricated for a lifetime and so are the idlers and sprockets.

The cab is sound-insulated, with viscous, silicon-filled mounts, a windshield wiper, an adjustable, reclining operator’s seat with a lap safety belt, a heater and an air conditioner.

Compact power

The ME 12002 is the largest compact excavator in the line of Mustang Manufacturing Co. Inc., Owatonna, Minn. It has the highest lift capacity in its weight class at 19,665 lb. It has a maximum digging depth of 14 ft 8 in. In addition, the ME 12002 (Circle 908) has a maximum reach of almost 25 ft. Other features include a 98.4-hp turbo-charged engine and travel speeds between 2.25 and 3.5 mph. Although the ME 12002 is powerful, it still has a compact design that allows for good maneuverability around the jobsite. It has a width of a little over 7 ft, a height of 9 ft 1 in. and an operating weight of 25,397 lb.

Exclusive compact

Yanmar Diesel America Corp., Buffalo Grove, Ill., has added exclusive features to its 17,530-lb ViO75 excavator (Circle 909). A hydraulic quick coupler system that accommodates most manufacturers’ buckets is now standard. The unit is the only cab model in the U.S. available with factory air conditioning and is powered by a Yanmar direct-injected diesel engine with Clean & Silent engine technology rated at 58.2 hp.
The ViO75 cab, boom bracket and tail can swing almost within the track width for operation in the tightest spaces. The spacious operator platform is the largest in its class.

The maximum digging depth of the ViO75 is 15 ft 5 in. Yanmar’s other seven compact excavators range from the 2,337-lb Super-Mini with variable-width undercarriage to the 17,706-lb B7E with offset boom.

Excavating terra

A new hydraulic excavator line from Terex construction Americas, Southaven, Miss., includes machines with operating weights ranging from 30,600 to 110,000 lb. Designated the TXC Series (Circle 910), their capabilities and features deliver significant benefits to owners and operators. These include powerful, quiet, fuel-efficient, turbo-charged diesel engines that maximize power output and utilization; e-POS System using variable-displacement piston pumps to ensure high efficiency and lower fuel consumption; and exceptional bucket breakout and radial tooth forces for the toughest digging.

B-gin digging

The horsepower of each engine in the B-series excavators from Volvo Construction Equipment North America Inc., Asheville, N.C., is precisely matched to its hydraulic system requirements in order to maximize performance levels, provide high fuel efficiencies and fully comply with EPA Tier 2 and EU Step 2 emission standards.

The B-series excavators (Circle 911) have a hydraulic system with four power modes that respond automatically to the operator’s joystick movements and application requirements.

Ergonomically designed, the seat and joystick control consoles can be adjusted independently to conform to an individual operator’s requirements. The cab also has an automatic electronic climate control system as standard.

An enlarged window area with no crossbar and parallel working wipers provide improved visibility and increased operating safety.
The Contronic electrical system precisely balances available engine power with hydraulic output for maximum performance as well as constantly monitoring electrical systems and engine performance. The system monitors and provides information on all vital machine functions, displays it on a screen in the cab and stores it in an on-board computer.

Compact radius

The tail-swing radius is only 5 ft 6 in. on the 321C LCR from Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Ill. To minimize the working envelope even further, the boom is positioned farther back in the upper frame compared with a standard excavator. The 321C LCR (Circle 912) weighs 52,911 lb and is powered by a 138-hp Cat engine. The engine design reduces sound and vibration for improved operator comfort. An optional Tool Control System maximizes productivity by configuring hydraulic flow, hydraulic pressure and operator controls for a specific tool. Factory-installed hammer and thumb circuits also are available as attachments.

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