Yanmar has been a key pioneer of the mini excavator. It is 55 years since the firm first made a mini-excavator and the company continues to innovate in the sector.
To capitalise on the remarkable construction boom happening in Japan in the late 1960s, diesel maker Yanmar put one of its engines into a scaled-down hydraulic excavator in 1968. The YNB300 was the result, a wheeled, self-propelled machine.
Now firmly a global brand, the ViO35 and state-of-the-art all-electric SV17e are the latest iterations of a long line of innovative mini-excavators that Yanmar CE has launched down the years. The YNB300 was followed in 1972 by the tracked YB600C, which had a sliding boom that allowed it to excavate right up against walls. By 1974 Yanmar mini-excavators were fitted with cabins, and noise suppressed to allow them to work in confined spaces, residential areas, and at night.
By the mid-1970s Yanmar CE’s YB1200 set the basis for the modern mini-excavator. It had a water-cooled diesel engine, could rotate fully 360° and was fitted with an earth moving blade. The 1980s saw rubber tracks, weights less than 1tonne, while the 1990s saw the launch of the revolutionary ‘zero tail swing’ concept, which cut collisions and accidents while rotating the superstructure.
Compact excavators are more popular today than ever. The global shift from manual labour to mechanisation continues.