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Swinging a full-size excavator around delicate landscaping or inside a building demolition job is impractical. Compact excavators in the 1- to 6-metric-ton size range deliver big features in a smaller size – these powerful diggers with up to 57 horsepower and dig depths of up to around 13 feet.
Easy transport and positioning
Compact excavators can be trailered behind a pickup or dump truck. Some models are small enough to be towed with a passenger car trailer. Their short track length, narrow profile and light weight are well within municipal legal transport limits.
Once on the jobsite, compact excavators with retractable tracks can pull in to fit through entryways, then expand to provide stability while digging. Tracked undercarriages provide flotation, allowing the machine to be positioned on jobs with soft ground conditions. Zero-tail-swing excavators keep collateral damage to a minimum in restricted space jobs.
Applications and performance
Available in a power range of 10 to 57 horsepower, compact excavators can do the work of a small backhoe but with better visibility, carry materials like a skid steer but with less surface impact and do power digging in tight spots where the only other choice would be doing the job by hand. Compact excavators are especially useful for municipalities, pipe contractors, nurseries and landscaping contractors.
High power-to-weight ratios increase capabilities in smaller size excavators, and when combined with quick couplers and strong hydraulic systems, these small excavators can run other compact equipment work tools in restricted space applications where a skid steer can’t maneuver and a full size excavator won’t fit.
Bobcat’s ultra-compact 418 compact excavator has a retracted track width of less than 28 inches. The zero-tail-swing machine has joystick controls in either IOS or standard patterns for consistent smooth control of the machine that helps reduce coming in contact with surrounding walls and objects. Bobcat’s hydraulic cylinder is mounted on top of the boom to prevent damage from contact with the bucket or nearby obstacles.
Case upgrades their five B-series compact excavators with Tier 4 Yanmar engines and says they deliver 19 percent more horsepower than previous models. All Case compact excavators feature 360-degree rotation with zero tail swing, hydraulically controlled backfill blades and a three-post ROPS design. Case’s hallmark swing-out access panels make engine servicing fast and simple.
Cat says its three new D-series compact excavators outperform their C-series predecessors with 22 percent higher bucket forces and a 15 percent increase in traction force. The Cat 308D CR SB combines the compact radius design with a swing boom. Like Cat’s full-size excavators, the D-series’ standard Cat Tool Control System lets the operator pre-set flows and pressures for up to 10 work tools using the in-cab monitor. The 307D replaces the 307C and the 308C CR compact radius excavator’s next configuration is the 308D CR.
JCB’s 5.2-metric-ton 8055 compact excavators are available in reduced tail swing and zero tail swing configurations and replace the 8052 model. The 8055 offers 45.7 horsepower, a high travel speed of up to 3.2 mph and a maximum digging depth of 12 feet 11.5 inches. Fold-up tracking pedals are standard. Optional counterweights protect the rear and sides of the machine. Both 8055 models are available with air conditioning and low flow hydraulics.
Gehl’s 283Z compact excavator extends their zero-tail-swing product range to the less than 3-metric-ton weight class. The 283Z rotates entirely within the standard rubber tracks, and, at 2.8 tons, the 283Z can be transported on a passenger car trailer with a permissible weight of 3.5 tons. Gehl’s sister company, Mustang, debuts the 2803T with zero tail swing and a longer undercarriage.
Kobelco’s new 17SR zero-tail-swing compact excavator features a three-pump hydraulic system for maximum power during simultaneous lifting, swinging and travel operations. The Smart Hydraulic System improves control during fine grading. The new optional angle blade adjusts plus-or-minus 23 degrees to push dirt to either side of the machine and eliminates win rowing. The four-way design has a deep dig capability of up to 17 inches and up to 22 inches of lift height.
John Deere fits their Tier 4 certified D-series compact excavators with backfill blades, mechanical quick couplers and auxiliary hydraulics. That means Deere’s WorkSite Pro attachments already performing on your other compact equipment will also fit Deere’s four compact excavators. On the three larger models, the operator station tilts forward 50 degrees for easy servicing access.
Takeuchi’s new compact excavator models TB228, TB235 and TB250 have a two-speed automatic step down system for high speed traveling and backfilling capability. When loaded the system automatically shifts into high torque mode for max power. When the load is removed the system resumes high speed production.
Volvo’s EC35C and ECR48C compact excavators feature a conventional excavator design for stability with minimal superstructure swing. The ECR48C has a short radius superstructure that turns inside the width of its tracks and can be equipped with an optional counterweight. Volvo’s mono-pump hydraulic system efficiently uses one system for all hydraulics.