Bobcat Takes Minis to a New Level

By Katie Weiler, Managing Editor | September 28, 2010

Zero tail swing (ZTS) isn't such a new feature anymore. By definition, ZTS means that the rear of the excavator rotates within the width of its tracks during operation. When that feature was first introduced, it set some manufacturers apart from their competitors. As you know, the compact-equipment market is extremely competitive, and there are about 25 manufacturers of mini-excavators, many of which offer ZTS machines.

But Bobcat has taken ZTS a step further with its new ZHS Series compact excavators that were introduced at the ICUEE show in September. Models 430 and 435 are the first machines to feature both zero house swing (ZHS) and the FastTrack drive system, which Bobcat says is the first all-hydrostatic drive system that works like a skid-steer loader.

Equipped with separate piston pumps and high torque drive motors to power the left and right tracks, the FastTrack system replaces the conventional hydraulic drive system found on other excavators. The feature is said to provide better torque control for dozing, smoother turns under a load, and more gradual turns on surfaces like asphalt and concrete. Plus, it offers travel speeds up to twice the speed of competitive machines—5.0 mph in high range for the 430 and 5.4 mph for the 435.

The other big innovation, ZHS, improves upon traditional ZTS features. Although ZTS machines keep the tail working within the width of its tracks, often times the front corners extend beyond the track footprint as the house rotates.

"With the Zero House Swing design, we have eliminated that overhang," says Tom Connor, excavator product specialist, "allowing the excavator house to remain within the outside edges of the tracks, giving operators 320 degrees of unrestricted motion."

Bobcat engineers say they developed the ZHS Series without sacrificing cab room or access to service and maintenance items, which are typically associated with some current ZTS machines. Other new features include improved dual blade cylinders mounted on each side of the backfill blade and a redesigned arm with hydraulic hoses routed within the width of the arm to prevent snagging or other damage.

Model 430 is powered by a 42.8-hp Kubota diesel engine and exerts only 4.11 psi of ground pressure. Hydraulic pump capacity is 24 gpm. An optional long arm gives the unit 11 inches of extra reach. Model 435 features a 49-hp Kubota turbocharged diesel engine and has a two-speed travel of 2.8 mph in low range and 5.4 mph in high range.

Suggested list prices for the base machines (rubber tracks, canopy) are $41,950 for the 430 and $49,950 for the 435. 

Basic Specifications
Model Operating Weight (lb.) Dig Depth (ft.) Aux. Hydraulic Flow (gpm) Arm Breakout Force (lb. ft.) Bucket Breakout Force (lb. ft.)
430 ZHS 8,024 10+ 16.4 4,000 7,000
435 ZHS 10,555 11.2 19.8 5,626 7,892