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by Tina Grady Barbaccia
LAS VEGAS—Being shown for the first time ever in the United States, Bobcat displayed its E26 minimal tail swing compact excavator at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2011.
The compact excavator will be added to Bobcat’s M-Series line, which debuted in 2009. Production is expected to begin in late July/early August, Tom Connor, product specialist for excavators at Bobcat, told Aggregates Manager, Better Roads and Aggregates Manager in an exclusive interview and walk around tour at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2011.
The E26 will be manufactured at Bobcat’s Czech Republic factory.
Connor says the E26 is replacing the 325 conventional tail swing compact excavator and the 425 zero swing compact excavator. The E26 has a 0.08 of overhang, which allows it to dig in close quarters or reach farther in a smaller space. What’s notable is that the unit’s lighter footprint means lane closure issues are eliminated. With minimal tail swing means only the lane being worked on needs to be closed, not parallel lanes.
When asked why Bobcat went from a conventional tail swing, to a zero tail swing and now a minimal tail swing compact excavator, Connor says because it gives operators the best of both worlds. Customers wanted more power, he says, but the minimal tail swing provides a better feeling of stability than the zero tail swing.
The E26 has all the same ergonomic features as other models in the M-Series line. It has increased visibility — about 30 percent — over previous models. It is powered by a 27-horsepower Kubota engine that is Interim Tier 4 compliant. The E26’s operating weight is 5,690 pounds and has an overall width of 59 inches.
Dig depth is 8 foot 6 inches for the standard arm configuration and 9 foot 6 inches for the optional long arm configuration. The two-speed machine has travel speeds of 1.6 and 2.7 mph.
The E26 also comes with an auto-idle feature, which, if activated by the operator, returns the engine to idle if the excavator functions are not used for four seconds. The engine automatically returns to the preset throttle position as soon as the operator beings to work again.
Fingertip boom swing controls give an operator more space in the cab because it eliminates the need for a foot pedal.
New to this size of machine is air conditioning. Connor says this provides more operator comfort, which helps not only with recruitment of qualified operators but with retention.
Popular options for the E26 include second auxiliary hydraulics, a hydraulic clamp and attachment mounting systems for quickly switching between 16 attachments approved for use on the machine. The E26 comes standard with the quick connect X-Change attachment.