Tracking New Opportunities


April 1, 2008

Today’s excavators improve efficiency, emissions, and productivity — all while making the operator more comfortable than ever.

by Therese Dunphy, Editor-in-Chief

Fuel-efficient excavator

Hitachi has rolled out a new dash-3 model in its excavator line, the 47,000-pound ZX200LC-3. The machine is powered by a 164-horsepower diesel and is said to be heavier, stronger, faster, and quieter than its predecessor, while also being more fuel efficient. The ZX200LC-3 has three new performance modes: economy, performance, and high performance; in E mode, it can get 13 percent better fuel efficiency than its dash-2 predecessor. The undercarriage, X-beam, side frames, idler brackets, and front attachment have all been made stronger to improve durability. The unit has more horsepower, swing torque, and drawbar pull, and it carries 10.6 gallons more fuel and hydraulic oil. Engine oil requirements have been reduced by one-half gallon. Also new with the dash-3 models is a larger cab with a wider seatback, more legroom, and 47 percent more glass on the right side for better visibility.

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Leading Edge Attachments
Ripping and digging bucket

Leading Edge Attachments has extended its line of rock digging buckets with the introduction of its new Hi-Cap Multi-Ripper Bucket, designed for mass excavators in the 220,000- to 300,000-pound class. The new models feature five shanks that are staggered on an arc; the format is said to allow the bucket to slice through any rippable rock. No extra hydraulics are required.

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Giberson Enterprises
Excavator-mounted jaw crusher buckets

Giberson Enterprises offers its Eco-Crusher excavator-mounted jaw crusher buckets. The line includes the BG60 for 18,000-pound or larger excavators; the BF70 for 28,000-pound or larger excavators; the BF90 for 48,000-pound or larger excavators; and the BF120 for 68,000-pound and larger excavators. Production rates range from 15 to 99 tons per hour, depending on bucket size. The bucket is designed to crush material with a maximum input product thickness of 15 inches for recycled material and 10 inches for aggregate into an end product that ranges from 6 inches to 1-inch minus.

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Cleaner, more fuel-efficient engine

Case Construction Equipment used the World of Concrete to announce that its CX130B excavator had been upgraded to Tier 3 certification. The upgrade is said to deliver better fuel economy, better productivity, and better sound levels. The electronically controlled common rail Tier 3 Isuzu engine delivers 95 net horsepower, while the common rail fuel injection system and redesigned hydraulic system deliver 15 percent better fuel efficiency to lower operating costs. The machine has an operating weight of 27,800 pounds. An increase in hydraulic horsepower translates into faster cycle times. The excavator uses regenerative hydraulics on the boom, arm, and bucket curl, which speeds the cycle time required to fill the bucket.

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Short-swing excavator

Liebherr showcases its minimal tail-swing excavator — the 53,000-pound, 164-horsepower R 924 Compact. It combines excellent reach (32 feet, 10 inches) and dump height (28 feet, 3 inches) with high-production capabilities, as well as a compact tail swing for safety and versatility. Liebherr says the machine’s cab is the largest in its class, featuring oversized windows and automatic climate control.

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Improved operator comfort

Komatsu America Corp. is highlighting its PC400LC-8 hydraulic excavator. The unit is said to deliver maximum digging force with excellent fuel economy in the toughest digging conditions. A Komatsu SAA6D 125E-5 engine powers the excavator with a flywheel horsepower of 345 hp. The electronically controlled high-pressure common rail fuel injection system is Tier 3 certified, provides low noise operation, and is fuel efficient. The operating weight is 103,834 pounds. Standard equipment includes the latest Komtrax technology, which sends machine operating information to a secure Web site using wireless technology. Data such as operation hours, location, cautions, and maintenance alerts are relayed to the Web application for analysis. The excavator also features an easy-to-view, 7-inch LCD monitor. Five modes of operation — power mode, economy mode, lifting mode, breaker mode, and attachment mode — can be selected through the monitor panel.

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More power where it’s needed

LBX Co. says its Link-Belt X2 excavator series offers Tier 3 compliant engines that develop more power at lower rpms and sophisticated new hydraulic systems that have more hydraulic horsepower than previous models -and can focus that power where it’s needed most. The improved hydraulics are the product of larger, more efficient pumps, larger cylinders, and improved hydraulic circuitry. Cycle times are also enhanced with two-speed boom lifting and arm open/close functions, an arm flow assist that improves arm-in speed, and a bucket curl assist that improves curl speed under load. X2 models include the 37,700-pound, 120-horsepower 160 and the 65,700-pound, 207-horsepower 290. A third machine in the X2 lineup, the 130, debuted at last month’s ConExpo-Con/Agg. The 95-horsepower unit is said to have exceptional cold-start capabilities thanks to glow plugs, automatic “idle-start,” and auto engine warm-up features.

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Advanced combustion design

Volvo Construction Equipment’s C-series excavators include the 117-horsepower, 38,000-pound ED160C and the 147-horsepower, 47,000-pound EC210C. The models have Tier 3 compliant engines that feature Volvo’s proprietary advanced combustion design, which is said to offer high torque at low revolutions for ultra-efficient fuel usage. Also new: a beefed up undercarriage and superstructure, intelligent hydraulics, simplified service and monitoring, and still more luxuries in the cabs, including an electronic climate control system with 14 vents.

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Improved mid-size excavator

Kobelco says its new SK260LC Acera Mark 8 excavator boasts a higher horsepower, Tier 3 engine, improved hydraulic flow, and a better combination of bucket force, swing torque, and drawbar pull forces than its predecessor. The 181-horsepower machine has an operating weight of 57,300 pounds and a new control system that is said to recognize the operator’s moves and provide
incredibly smooth” hydraulic response. Its auto-acceleration system increases rpms and hydraulic flow in proportion to the operator’s movement of control levers, and an auto-deceleration system saves fuel and engine life by reducing engine rpms after four seconds of operator inactivity.

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Quick, accurate excavator weighing system

Actronic Technologies, manufacturer of the Loadrite onboard weighing system for wheel loaders, used ConExpo-Con/Agg to debut its new Loadrite X-Weigh 2350 weighing system for the excavator market. The system is reported to increase productivity and to provide a rapid return on investment by ensuring all trucks are loaded to their full legal capacity. Capable of weighing materials while the machine is operating and field proven to be accurate to plus or minus 3 percent, the weighing system features new multi-dimensional compensation weighing technology. The patent-pending system includes a Loadrite onboard scale, a graphic interface, and a proprietary software package. An optional printer can be installed in the cab to produce hard copies of load documents and summary reports. Sensors mounted on the pivot points of the arm monitor the angle and position of the boom and stick, as well as changes to the hydraulic pressure. The system also incorporates two tilt sensors so weight calculations remain accurate even on sloping or uneven ground.

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Improves end-user value

Doosan touts its focus on the end-user during the development of its DX420LC hydraulic excavator. The machine is said to include the features of its predecessor — the Solar 420LC — as well as additional benefits. Key improvements include increased production and improved fuel economy due to electronic optimization of the hydraulic system and a new generation Doosan engine; improved ergonomics, increased comfort, and better visibility; and improved reliability through the use of high-performance materials combined with new methods of structural stress analysis. Improvements in the design are also said to have increased component life expectancy, lowered operating costs, and reduced maintenance.

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Works in tight footprint

Kubota Tractor Corp. (KTC) introduced the KX080-3, its largest excavator to date. Designed for work environments where space is limited, the 8-ton, tight-tail swing excavator offers more than 14,000 pounds of breakout force. The unit features the first direct-injection engine in a Kubota excavator that is said to start easily in the cold while maintaining fuel efficiency. An auto-idling system helps reduce noise and exhaust emissions while also saving fuel. The machine automatically downshifts into low when making turns, moving on soft earth, or in extra-heavy-duty-use situations. A 14.17-inch rear overhang handles a wide range of loads in restricted spaces while the air-conditioned ROPS/FOPS cab boasts an Intelligent Control System LCD control panel with digital display of diagnostic readings and routine maintenance alerts.

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Swing size matters

Caterpillar’s D-series version of its popular 148-horsepower 320 crawler excavators includes the conventional-swing 47,500-pound 320D L, the reduced-swing 53,400-pound 320D LRR, and the compact-radius 53,300-pound 321D LCR. The standard machine has a swing radius of 9 feet and is designed for heavy and general construction. The LRR has a swing radius of 6 feet, 7 inches and is designed for use in restricted work-space areas. The LCR has a swing radius of 5 feet, 6 inches and can rotate within or almost within its tracks, depending on how much counterweight is being used. All three versions have new Tier 3 engines, cab refinements, and improved performance. Versatility is enhanced with a range of new factory-installed, optional auxiliary hydraulic systems, including a one-way, high-pressure/high-flow circuit for hammers and vibratory plate compactors, and a two-way circuit for thumbs and other hydra-mechanical attachments. An optional tool control system, exclusive to Cat, lets the operator set auxiliary hydraulic flow and pressure by using the monitor in the cab.

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John Deere
Increased power, reduced fuel requirements

John Deere says that its 270D LC excavator provides 188 SAE net horsepower with a 6.8L six-cylinder PowerTech Plus Tier III-certified diesel engine. Deere says that the unit features faster hydraulics, increased swing torque, and more drawbar pull to help boost production. The Powerwise III management system balances engine and hydraulic performance, with generous hydraulic flow and best-in-class metering ensuring powerful digging force, precise low-effort control, and multi-function operation, Deere adds.

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Maximizes efficiency

Terex offers its TXC 420LC-2, a 93,480-pound excavator that is built on a deep, full-reinforced box section constructed with heavy-gauge steel plates for added ruggedness. The machine’s engine offers 293 horsepower while an electronic power optimizing system allows the operator to maximize work efficiency over a full range of operating conditions and to minimize fuel consumption. An automatic, two-speed travel system allows for high traction force and travel speed, and two working and two power modes are offered. The cab offers independent suspension, low noise levels, and high visibility. The front window slides up and stores in the roof, and the side window can be opened for ventilation.

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New Holland
Power and productivity

New Holland’s E215 is a 47,000-pound excavator with 148 horsepower and a bucket capacity of .63 to 1.8 cubic yards. The company says that the excavator offers exceptional controls that improve on-the-job efficiency. One of those features is the independent travel system. While lifting and carrying objects may be a sensitive operation, this feature is said to make these tasks easier by reducing the need to “feather” the controls. A separate pump is dedicated to the travel system so that the excavator doesn’t lose speed when raising the load while traveling. Another production-oriented feature is the power boost button that provides maximum breakout force when needed. A two-speed travel system allows for the use of a high-torque, low-speed setting for climbing and carrying, while a high-seed setting ensures rapid travel under other conditions.

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