Mini Excavators

March 1, 2004
Komatsu Komatsu introduces three compact excavators designed to bring increased production and operator comfort to contractors. Komatsu expanded the size


Komatsu introduces three compact excavators designed to bring increased production and operator comfort to contractors. Komatsu expanded the size of the operator's compartment for the PC35MR-2 and the PC50MR-2 to enable easier entry and exit and to provide more room for operating the controls. Maintenance and serviceability features are optimized with a tilt-forward operator's compartment that allows easy access to hydraulic components, a fully opening engine hood for simplified daily checks and extended maintenance intervals to 500 hours.

Lee Smith, president of Southeast Enviroscape in Orlando, Fla., uses the Komatsu PC50MR-2 to install storm and sewer lines in confined and congested areas. He says the PC50 has a long reach for its size. “It's got quite a bit of reach, which helps out a lot,” Smith says. “It's got more zero tail swing than the 45. It really helps in a lot of places.”
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John Deere

John Deere's C-Series ZTS compact excavators feature a zero-tail-swing design that allows the body of the machine to rotate 360 degrees within the width of its tracks. This design, combined with an independent-swing boom and rubber tracks, allows these machines to slip into close quarters easily. This lets operators work close to walls, footings and other obstacles. Each compact comes standard with a quick coupler and auxiliary hydraulics, allowing them to use a variety of bucket sizes and attachments. The series has spacious operator stations with an adjustable seat and armrest-mounted pilot controls that are smooth and easy to use.

Tim Haechten, operations manager at Foremost Pipeline Construction, says he likes the compactness and strength of John Deere's C-Series compact excavators and has used them to install underground natural gas lines. “The ease of control is the main thing I've heard from the guys,” Haechten says. “We decided to go with Deere because they're as good or better than anything else and the prices were where we wanted them.”
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The Bobcat ZHS series compact excavators feature FastTrack, the industry's first all-hydrostatic drive system, according to the manufacturer. This feature provides better torque control for dozing, smoother turns under a load and more gradual turns on surfaces like asphalt and concrete. The Zero House Swing design gives a greater range of house rotation when working in tight quarters. Standard features include dozer blade with float feature, four-post TOPS/ROPS canopy, high-back suspension seat and rubber tracks. Operators have the option of adding a cab with heat and air conditioning, keyless start security system and steel tracks.
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The new 5-ton Takeuchi TB53FR combines the advantages of a zero tail swing excavator with a patented side-to-side offset boom system to give the operator the ability to slew 360 degrees within inches of the machine width. This offers operators of all experience levels the opportunity to work with confidence next to walls, close to traffic and in other confined or restricted areas. New on the TB53FR is an interference prevention system that controls the boom's range of motion to prevent the bucket from contacting the operator station.

Additional safety features include standard travel alarm, TOPS/FOPS canopy or cab, retractable seat belt and a control tower lockout system of the excavator's operating controls and travel levers. The TB53FR also features a tilt-up operator's platform for quick service access.

Tim Hansen, president and owner of Hansen Utilities in Salem, Ore., has been an owner and operator of the TB53FR for about eight months. He uses the mini excavator to work between fences in alleys for sewer and lateral installation. One important factor is “its ability to get into tight places where you can't get anything else,” Hansen says. “It's comfortable; it's just a nice machine.”
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IHI Compact Excavator

IHI offers 13 mini excavators, with digging depths of up to 14 feet, 1 inch and bucket forces of up to 14,730 pounds. Smaller units appeal to homeowners and small utility contractors and larger units are available to meet general contractors' digging depth and power requests. Standard features include independent boom swing, backfill blade, two-speed travel, 360-degree continuous swing and water-cooled self-priming diesel engines. These machines have suspension seats and hydraulic pilot controls with short levels for operator comfort.
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Kubota Tractor introduces the KX41-3V compact excavator to help contractors perform in tight spaces. The E-TVCS Combustion three-cylinder diesel engine rated at 17 hp reduces fuel consumption, noise and vibration. With a new digital monitoring panel, operators can view and check engine functions. Cushioned hydraulic circuits reduce shock loads for smooth operation. The KX41-3V gives the operator the ability to adjust track width from 4 feet, 3 inches to 3 feet, 3 inches without lifting the machine off the ground. Operating at 3,693 pounds, the KX41-3V delivers a wide operational range resulting in a maximum digging height of 11 feet, 8 inches and a maximum digging depth of 7 feet, 9 inches.
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