Mini excavators; versatile digging machines

Mini excavators represent one of the most competitive markets for utility machines and are firm favourites with rental companies - Mike Woof reports. Highly competitive, the mini excavator segment offers a great deal of choice for customers. The array of manufacturers offering machines is enormous and the range of models on the market even more diverse. With the rental segment forming a key market for mini excavators, these machines are sold in very large numbers indeed.
Maintenance / January 18, 2016
Doosan DX19 excavator
Doosan said that its new DX19 offers increased performance
Mini excavators represent one of the most competitive markets for utility machines and are firm favourites with rental companies - Mike Woof reports

Highly competitive, the mini excavator segment offers a great deal of choice for customers. The array of manufacturers offering machines is enormous and the range of models on the market even more diverse. With the rental segment forming a key market for mini excavators, these machines are sold in very large numbers indeed.

The compact machine segment has, however, been one of the better sectors of the equipment market, as 1651 Wacker Neuson’s recent financial figures have made clear. But even so, purchasers have strong bargaining tools at present, given that overall equipment sales have been weak and manufacturers may be looking to capitalise on activity in this business segment so as to help overall turnover.

With tough regulations on emissions in place in Europe and North America, as well as a diverse array of competing manufacturers, the range of machines on offer continues to grow. And this year has seen several important new model launches from major players in the segment.

New from 695 Doosan is its DX19 1.9tonne, which is said to offer increased productivity as well as good durability and serviceability in a compact package. The company has opted to power the machine with a 1265 Kubota diesel, a D722 unit that delivers 9.9kW. Key operating features are said to include fast cycle times, precise control and high breakout for its size class.

In standard configuration for Europe, the machine is fitted with a cab, rubber tracks and a long blade and weighs in at 1.894tonnes, allowing it to be towed on trailers with a 2tonne payload limit. The long arm gives better digging depth, maximum dump height and maximum reach at ground level than some other machines in its class, at 2.565m, 2.693m and 4.214m, respectively.
Versatility is further increased by the ability to use a wide range of attachments while the operation of the sophisticated hydraulic system is optimised by boom and arm cushioning to reduce end-of-travel jerking motions. A high lifting capacity is claimed, in addition to the high dump height. The machine can also be fitted with an optional object handling system that comprises a safety valve for the boom and arm, a hooking device and an overload warning package.

Because the machine has retractable undercarriage, it can be moved through narrow spaces and doorways while allowing stability when working over the wide. Frontal stability is further improved when using the dozer blade.

The cab has narrow pillars for visibility, as well as a wide doorway while the control array is said to be ergonomic and easy to use with a display providing full operating parameters. Durable and easy to service, the machine is said to offer a good return on investment for rental firms.

From 236 Hyundai Heavy Industries Europe (HHIE) comes the new R17Z-9A mini excavator, said to offer all-round high performance, reliability, durability and productivity. Aimed at the 1.7tonne class the R17Z-9A shares features with other machines in the range and is said to be easy to control and feature precise operation due to sophisticated hydraulics. The control layout is said to be ergonomic while the machine offers good all-round visibility. Other features include good access for maintenance.

The firm has also upgraded its existing R25Z mini excavator with the installation of a Kubota diesel. The new R25Z-9AK model is said to have low noise and exhaust emissions, as well as being economical, productive and powerful for its size. Competing in the 2.5tonne class, the machine also shares the same ease of maintenance and precise and responsive hydraulic control as its siblings.
Kobelco is keen to develop its presence in the European equipment market and is introducing seven mini excavators, which have operating weights of up to 3tonnes. Both short-radius mini excavators and conventional mini excavators are being introduced. The zero tailswing SK10SR-3, SK17SR-5 and SK25SR-6 models are all designed for use in jobsites with space limitations and compete in the 1tonne, 1.7tonne and 2.5tonne market segments. Meanwhile, the conventional machines with the counterweights at the rear, the SK16, SK18, SK22 and SK26, are said to offer exceptional stability and reach. These four models compete in the 1.6, 1.8, 2.2 and 2.6tonne weight classes and have higher lifting capacities due to the greater distance between load and rear counterweight. Key features include high digging and lifting capacities according to the firm, with the conventional 1.7tonne and 2.7tonne models said to offer particularly high performance in this respect.

Because the 10SR-3 and 17SR-5 zero tailswing models are designed for work in compact spaces, these machines also have been developed with retractable crawlers. This allows the machines to be moved through narrow doorways and into small working areas, while allowing better stability on uneven terrain when the tracks are extended. The system can be operated from the cab. Another new feature for the 10SR-3 and 17SR-5 is the revised dozer blade design, which now features a cutting edge, while the machines have wide opening engine covers for ease of maintenance.

Chinese firm 1173 Sunward has had particular success in the European market with its mini excavators and now has a strong presence in the rental sector. The firm is keen to retain its position and is rolling out four new models, with two being special machines for specific applications and the other two being standard units. 
The company’s new SWE25 UE is a zero tailswing machine aimed at the 2.5tonne market segment, with power from a 14kW 7139 Yanmar diesel and that meets the latest emissions regulations for Europe. The other novel machine from Sunward is the 1.8tonne SWE18 UE, an update of its earlier all-electric mini excavator. Designed for use in applications where exhaust emissions could pose a problem, such as in tunnelling or underground parking areas or in restricted space demolition work, the machine runs off a 380V, three-phase supply. Meanwhile the new standard machines from Sunward are the SWE08, which weighs 800kg, and the 1tonne SWE10, both of which are suited to the general rental equipment segment.

From 1654 Takeuchi come three new mini excavators, the TB210R, TB230 and TB240, all three of which are designed for the rental equipment sector. The 1.15tonne TB210 is replacing the slightly smaller TB108 and has retractable tracks giving a width of just 750mm and allowing it to be driven through a doorway. With the tracks expanded to 1.02m, working stability is said to be good and the machine is powered by a Kubota diesel delivering 8.6kW. The 2.86tonne TB230 meanwhile takes the place of the earlier TB228 and the new model features an air-conditioned cab, an optional angle blade and power from a 17.6kW Yanmar diesel. Largest of the three is the 4tonne TB240, which is a new machine that slots into the line-up between the existing 3tonne and 5tonne models. Power for this machine comes from a Yanmar diesel delivering 26kW.
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