Yanmar Unveils Prototype Electric Excavator

Yanmar Next-Gen work machine prototype with Force Control Technology
Yanmar's next-gen work machine prototype with force control technology.

Yanmar has unveiled a prototype electric work machine with “advanced force control technology” that can perform tasks in difficult environments, such as disaster sites – or even the moon. The cab-less prototype machine is based on Yanmar’s Vi025 mini excavator.

Yanmar says it has successfully implemented force control capabilities, a challenge for conventional hydraulic systems. The force control function was achieved using a large series elastic actuator (SEA) composed of an electric motor, reducer and spring that can be mounted on construction equipment. The technology aims to automate delicate manual tasks on construction sites to help address the labor shortage.  

The prototype also features an articulated motor, not a conventional electric cylinder, expanding its range of motion through electrification. This feature enables the machine to perform high-altitude work like ceiling operations.

Yanmar Next-Gen work machine prototype with Force Control TechnologyFrom left: The large Series Elastic Actuator (SEA) developed in cooperation with JAXA; Realizing an expanded range of motion through the adoption of joint motors.Yanmar

Moving forward, Yanmar plans to conduct additional testing on the prototype to determine the practical applications for the next-generation work machine.

Yanmar developed the SEA in collaboration with JAXA’s Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center as part of the Moonshot Research and Development Program. The prototype debuted at the Construction DX Challenge 2023, organized by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

The prototype project aligns with Yanmar’s Green Challenge 2050 goal of “contributing to customers' decarbonization efforts through ongoing developments in electrification and other forward-looking technologies.”

Quick Specs

  • Name: Next-generation work machine prototype with force control function
  • Base machine: Yanmar Vi025 mini excavator
  • Weight: 3-metric-ton class
  • Rated load during lifting: 460 pounds
  • Operating range: 210 degrees
  • Emissions: Zero emissions