Product Report: Experience counts

The design of the zero-tail-swing excavator has come a long way, says Yanmar. The cramped leg room and rocky balance of the first machines have been alleviated by several enhancements, including repositioning the engine, moving the boom pin closer to the cab and lengthening the tracks.

With the fourth generation of zero-tail-swing excavators – the Yanmar Universal ViO45-5 and ViO55-5 – the company wants to further its commitment to this machine design. “These two machines carry on the concepts of our earlier ViO machines while also improving their reliability, comfort and safety,” says Takayuki Fujiwara, marketing manager for Yanmar’s construction equipment department.

The models’ new universal boom has 50 percent thicker side plates than previous models. The boom also allows the machines to turn in smaller, tighter spaces with a higher dumping height. “Yet the stability of these zero-tail-swing machines is equal to that of full-size conventional excavators,” says Curt Unger, general sales manager.

Making things last
Yanmar paid special attention to reliability and durability issues, using enhanced hydraulic hose protection and rugged steel sheet metal. The new ViO models offer bucket and arm guards. Boom cylinder guards are made with spring plates to help users avoid cylinder rod damage. New cast-iron corner protectors and bottom side protectors along with the underside plate steel covering gives the machines greater protection from impacts.

In addition, the undercarriage sprocket is now made of high strength steel and cylinder seals are heat resistant. Yanmar has also put larger diameter pins on the boom fulcrum, arm fulcrum and swing bearing.

Maintenance access is easily gained through rear and side doors, and separated hoses make them easy to replace. To increase the units’ versatility, their undercarriage idlers can be used on either steel or rubber tracks.

Improved air, more leg room
Operator comfort items addressed with the new series include improved air conditioning performance, a PTO switch on the control lever and larger traveling pedals along with expanded foot space for the operator created by a folding boom-swing pedal. “Our PTO can either be operated from the lever or by a foot control,” Unger says. “Although many operators like to use the thumb controls, different operators like to work in different ways, and this allows them the option.”

The working ranges of the new models have expanded from the previous ViO40-3 and ViO50-3 models. Dig depths have increased 4 inches on the ViO45-5 and 7 inches on the ViO50-3, and digging reach increased 8 inches and 5 inches, respectively. In addition, fuel tank capacity – now 16.9 gallons – has increased 17 percent from the previous models.

Quick Specs
Engine: Water-cooled
Horsepower: 38.7
Max. digging force – bucket: 6,722 lbs.
Max. digging force – arm: 4,995 lbs.
Max. dig depth: 12’8″
Max. reach: 19’1″
Max. dump height: 12’10”
Traveling speed: 2.8 mph
Operating weight (canopy): 10,121 lbs.

Engine: 4-cylinder diesel
Horsepower: 38.7
Max. digging force – bucket: 7,598 lbs.
Max. digging force – arm: 5,062 lbs.
Max. dig depth: 13’8″
Max. reach: 20’4″
Max. dump height: 14’5″
Traveling speed: 2.7 mph
Operating weight (canopy): 11,312 lbs.

Not exactly the new kid on the block
While Yanmar has only been producing construction equipment under its own name in the United States since 1998, the company is hardly a newcomer in the equipment arena. Beginning as a diesel engine company in 1912 in Japan, the company produced its first walk-behind dozer in 1964 and its first compact excavator four years later. When it comes to compact excavators, the company claims many innovations, including introducing the first zero-tail-swing machine in 1992. Yanmar also markets compact wheel loaders and crawler carriers in the United States and will debut a 10-foot backhoe in the first quarter of this year. It continues to supply diesel engines for a variety of compact machines made for North America.