Multitasking Machines : Compact excavators boost productivity, cut costs
Kubota | August 24, 2017

With their eye on the bottom line, today’s contractors are searching for solutions that allow them to do more work with fewer machines. The latest compact excavators, which offer a productivity-boosting combination of power, performance and reliability, deliver just what they’re looking for.

For contractors, maximizing performance and productivity on the jobsite while controlling costs at the same time can be a demanding task. However, when manufacturers updated their engines to comply with Tier 4 Final emissions regulations, a host of new machine improvements accompanied the upgrades, allowing customers to take advantages and get more out of their machines than ever before.

Productivity and performance

“Without a doubt, engines have influenced the new technologies found today on compact excavators,” says Jeff Jacobsmeyer, Kubota CE product manager for excavators, TLBs and wheel loaders. Manufacturers had to adapt and change engine components to meet stringent Tier 4 final requirements, thus changing the performance characteristics of the engines.” Engines now run more efficient and make better horsepower than ever before.

When selecting a compact excavator, choose a model that will offer you performance and versatility to suit your needs, he says. “When choosing a model in the 3- to 4-ton size class, you’ll want a machine loaded with performance enhancing features. One such feature on the Kubota KX040-4 is a load-sensing hydraulic system which provides exceptional control and delivers outstanding digging forces.

One way compact excavators have become ultra-productive is through increased fuel savings. Standard features like Kubota’s ECO PLUS, technology that prioritizes reducing fuel consumption while placing an increased emphasis on environmental preservation, are critical tools for contractors looking to deliver a larger profit margin to their company’s bottom line. When combined with an auto idling feature, the operator not only lowers fuel usage, but reduces noise on the jobsite, as well.

Jacobsmeyer says customers’ expanded use of equipment attachments is also changing the way the equipment is designed, broadening the machines’ capabilities. “Customers are looking at how to get more out of their machines, and ultimately increase profit levels with the right options and attachments,” he says.

The attachment advantage

Getting more power out of an attachment requires delivering more hydraulic power to that attachment. Increased operators control and hydraulic efficiency to maximize the attachment performance.

“For example, on our models KX033-4 through KX080-4, the auxiliary hydraulic system can be conveniently programmed for up to five different flow rates for specific attachments on a new digital control panel,” Jacobsmeyer says. “This can all be done from the comfort of the operator’s seat with just a push of a button. Having the ability to adjust the flow on the hydraulic auxiliary allows the operator to “dial in” and perform the task with precision. For example, the flow of a thumb will require much less flow than a breaker.

Selecting the right attachments

Contractors with compact excavators in their fleet already know bigger isn’t always better. These machines feature much of what their larger counterparts have to offer, but can work in a smaller footprint at a lower operating cost. However, to get the most out of the machine, and ultimately increase profits, choosing the right attachments is important. Here are three great options to consider:

• Quick Coupler: This is a must-have attachment for operators who need to switch tasks with expediency and ease.
• Hydraulic Thumb: A hydraulic thumb is great for moving irregular shaped objects. Handling debris during cleanup, and placing objects with accuracy.
• Hydraulic Angle Blade: This blade can be angled to the right or left to push soil aside while the machine moves forward, eliminating the need for repetitive right-angle repositioning when backfilling trenches.

Whatever the attachments required, Jacobsmeyer suggests pairing them with a carrier suited for the job. For example, he says, the KX033-4 delivers best-in-class hydraulic breakout power while setting the pace by achieving fast cycle times, an important result when considering productivity issues. “This results in more material moved per hour when tested head-to-head against other 3-ton excavators,” he said. The overall result is a boost to the customer’s bottom line.

Photo of the KX033-4:

The KX033-4 3-ton compact excavator features a new cab, accepts Kubota Quick Attachments and will have an available extendable dipper later this year. The KX033-4 delivers best-in-class hydraulic power, achieving ultra-fast cycle times to move more material per hour.

Photo of the KX040-4:

Make quick work of a range of jobs with the KX040-4, which features a load-sensing hydraulic system and outstanding digging force. Paired with the optional Hydraulic 6-in-1 blade, the KX040-4 saves time when backfilling trenches by eliminating the need for repetitive right-angle repositioning.