Product Report: Kubota’s new excavators

Kubota has added three new excavators, all zero-tail-swing models, to its lineup. The model designations – U15, U25 and U45 – correspond to the machines’ weight in metric tons (1.5, 2.5 and 4.5 tons), respectively. The new machines bring the number of excators in Kubota’s lineup to 10.

All three machines have several design traits in common. Big-footed contractors will appreciate the fact that Kubota moved the two-speed travel switch off the floorboard to a push button on the dozer lever. Suspension seats with retractable seat belts and adjustable arm rests also increase operator comfort. Hydraulic hoses are mounted inside the booms and sticks for protection. A two-pattern selection system allows you to choose between backhoe- and excavator-style digging patterns at the flip of a lever.

The dozer blade arms on all three machines have a box-section design, which was also used for the dozer blades on the U25 and U45. This design (basically a square tube) adds rigidity and strength to these structures and takes up less space than would solid steel structures. Hydraulic hoses to the blade come in two pieces so you don’t have to crawl under the machines to replace worn or damaged hoses.

If you’re too busy to remember the last time you changed the oil, a digital control panel in the operator stations of the U25 and U45 excavators gives you information on engine functions plus diagnostics and maintenance alerts.

Auxiliary hydraulics (valves, pipes and hoses routed to the dipper stick) are standard on all three. The two bigger excavators also have a standard thumb bracket factory mounted on the stick. Another design shared by the two larger machines is a permanently lubricated upper track roller that keeps the tracks from rubbing the track frame and reduces noise and wear.

The U15 offers a 13-horsepower Kubota engine and has an expandable undercarriage that, with the flip of a lever, allows you to reduce the width of the tracks to 3 feet 3 inches to get through gates, doorways or other narrow passages. Expanded back out for stability, the undercarriage stretches to 4 feet 1 inch. The U15 also has a quick coupler bucket set and produces 3,417 pounds of breakout force. Dump height is 8 feet and digging depth measures 7 feet 7 inches. The boom cylinder on the U15 is positioned behind the boom to protect it from damage.

The U25 muscles up 21 horsepower to create 5,765 pounds of breakout force and digs to a depth of 9 feet 3 inches.

The U45 comes with a 42-horsepower engine and a dig depth of 11 feet 10 inches. The blade can be angled 25 degrees right or left for backfilling trenches in one pass, and a float function allows you to use the blade for final finish work. The bucket exerts 9,685 pounds of breakout force. To conserve fuel, an auto idle feature dials down the engine rpms whenever the control levers are left in the neutral position for more than four seconds, and load-sensing hydraulics provide smooth response to differing load conditions.