Buying File Gallery: 20- to 30-Ton Excavators

September 28, 2010


John Deere


Durability and Predictable Performance

John Deere added the 147-hp 225CLCRTS, a 53,400-pound reduced-tail-swing machine, to its line in 2003. Unlike Deere diesels used in the line's other full-size excavators, the RTS machines use the same Isuzu engines as their Hitachi counterparts. The 200CLC and 230CLC come standard with heavy-duty cooling systems for high ambient temperatures, with welded tube-to-header joints, steel top tanks, and wide fin spacing to reduce plugging. Deere says its Powerwize II controls are "very predictable," meaning functions respond consistently to joystick input under all load conditions.

Number of models: 3

New models: 225CLCRTS

 John Deere excavator


Product-line features: Powdered-metal, oil-impregnated bushings, tungsten-carbide coating, and reinforced resin thrust plates extend the greasing interval for the boom and arm


joints to 500 hours. Engine oil is changed at 500 hours, and hydraulic oil at 4,000 hours.




Modes Manage Engine Speed

Four engine-speed modes adapt the Zaxis excavators' power. The P (Power) mode is used in most applications and runs the engine at rated speed. The HP (High Power) mode is designed for digging in tough soil conditions. It will boost engine speed about 100 rpm when the arm-in function reaches a preset pressure setting. Two modes help conserve fuel: E (Economy) allows the excavator to operate at reduced speed for light work; and Auto-Accel varies engine rpm according to system pressure. Hitachi says the mode can cut fuel use by 10 percent working under light loads.

 Hitachi Zaxis excavator


Number of models: 3

Product-line features: Hitachi and Deere integrated their marketing operations in North, Central and South America. Hitachi says the companies will use common parts distribution, information systems, and support programs," ... to provide more value to customers."


Balances Hydraulic Power to Engine Mode

Volvo introduced the B-Series excavators with new Volvo engines, and the 56,200-pound EC240B uses a version of the same powerplant in the 65,000-pound EC290B. The work-mode selection switch sets the engine power for four work modes and Volvo's Contronics control system balances hydraulic pump output over a range of working conditions to the chosen engine power.

 Volvo B-Series excavators


Number of models: 3

New models: EC210BLC and EC240BLC

Product-line features: The main valve in the B-Series incorporates boom-, arm- and swing-priority systems, and regenerates arm flow in some operating conditions to improve swing torque and digging forces. Volvo redesigned its hydraulic-oil cooler in aluminum to improve heat dissipation and resist corrosion.


Power in Smaller Packages

Tail-swing radius for Case's CX225 is 3 feet 5 inches smaller than the CX210. The CX225 uses the same Isuzu diesel as its joint-venture counterpart in the Link-Belt line, the 225 MSR Spin Ace. Conventional Case excavators are distinguished from their LBX counterparts by Case diesels and different lists of standard features. Another recent addition to Case's offering in this size range is the CX210 Narrow. It's a 45,000-pound, 153-hp excavator with 8½-foot transport width. There is no matching model in the LBX product line.

 Case CX excavators


Number of models: 3

New models: CX210 Narrow and CX225

Product-line features: An electronic anti-theft system on CX machines requires a password to start the engine. Without the correct password, the system sounds an alarm, fixes the swing lock, restricts the engine to idle, and restricts pump torque to prevent the machine from being driven onto a trailer.


Auto and Manual Work Modes

Like the Case CX machines also built by the Sumitomo joint venture, the electronic controller in Link-Belt's LX excavators can automatically select the optimal work mode to balance power and speed by sensing load demand. The operator may also choose one of three manual modes. Auto Power Boost available on the 210 and larger machines instantly increases power by 9 percent in nine-second intervals. Link-Belt says it has cut cycle times and fuel consumption in 90-degree swing-and-dump operations by reducing hydraulic-system pressure loss; reusing return oil and providing double pump flow during key operations.

 Link-Belt's LX excavators


Number of models: 3

Product-line features: Key specifications of the three Link-Belt machines in this size class—the 210, 225 and 240—mirror Case models with the same model numbers. The LBX machines are powered by Isuzu engines.


Better Digging Force and Speed

Komatsu says the digging power of its Dash-7 Series PC200-7, PC200LC-7 and PC220LC-7 increased 21 to 29 percent because of combined improvements in bucket digging force and digging speed. Four work modes—Active, Economy, Lifting and Breaker—allow the operator to tailor power and speed to each task. Bucket breakout and arm-digging force were also improved on the minimum-swing-radius PC228USLC-3.

 Komatsu Dash-7 Series excavators


Number of models: 3

New models: PC200-7 and PC200LC-7

Product-line features: Komatsu's Equipment Management Monitoring System (EMMS)—diagnostics built into the controller in the cab—allows the operator to monitor machine operating conditions and pinpoint abnormalities before they become larger maintenance issues.


 Daewoo Solar excavators

New Pumps and Controls

Daewoo upgraded the Solar excavators with new hydrau-lic pump designs and control systems when the machines shifted to low-emissions diesel engines. The company claims electronically controlled engines and hydraulics make better use of the available horsepower to reduce cycle times, and that heavier swing motors and bearings improve lifting capabilities over front and sides.

Number of models: 2

New models: Solar 225LCV and Solar 255LCV

Product-line features: Daewoo says its high-output air conditioner increased cooling performance by 50 percent.


New Name in Mid-Sized Excavators

Terex TXC excavators offer the operator a choice of two work modes to determine hydraulic flow priority and two power-mode choices that tailor work modes to the demands of the job. A three-switch joystick and auxiliary-hydraulic piping to the base of the boom base are standard equipment, as is the cushion mechanism in all hydraulic cylinders.

 Terex TXC excavators


Number of models: 2

New models: TXC225LC-1 and TXC255LC-1

Product-line features: Daewoo signed an agreement in 2003 allowing Terex to distribute its excavators with operating weights from 13 to 47 tons under the Terex brand in North America. The TXC225 and TXC255 weigh more than Daewoo's Solar 225 and 255 because Terex specs them with 800-millimeter track pads, whereas Daewoo lists them with 600-mm pads.


Engine Power Leaps 20 Percent

Liebherr boosted engine horsepower in the R904C nearly 20 percent and, without changing the machine's operating weight, increased its lifting capacity 6 percent. The 45,600-pound machine can hoist 12,500 pounds over the front at ground level, with the load at a 20-foot radius.

 Liebherr R904C excavator


Number of models: 3

New models: R904C

Product-line features: Liebherr is an integrated manufacturer, meaning that the company builds the components—such as hydraulic pumps and cylinders, and diesel engines—that many other manufacturers source from suppliers.


Custom Power in Every Mode

Hyundai's CAPO controls allow the operator to customize the Robex 7 Series excavators' working modes three ways. The Power Mode choice allows for High Power or Standard Power. Both of those choices are available in three work modes: Heavy Duty, General or Breaker. And the User Mode memorizes the individual operator's preferred combinations of settings.

 Hyundai Robex 7 Series excavators


Number of models: 3

New models: R180LC-7, R210LC-7 and R250LC-7

Product-line features: The Robex cab has been widened and sound level reduced. Engines have 40 percent fewer parts and, overall, each machine has about 20 percent fewer parts than the previous Dash-3 Series excavators. Hyundai powers the R210 and R250 with Cummins engines, and the R180 with a Mitsubishi.


Hydraulic Speed and Power Refined

Kobelco employed a regenerative feature in its hydraulic return lines that the company says increases boom-lowering speed about 10 percent. A larger bucket cylinder on the SK210LC and SK250LC improve bucket breakout force. There have also been changes to auxiliary hydraulics such as a larger return line to reduce backpressure and an upgrade to the standard auxiliary valves for the SK210LC and SK250LC that allow both one-way and two-way flow.

 Kobelco excavator


Number of models: 5

Product-line features: Kobelco's swing priority system automatically delivers full power to the swing motor during combined swing-and-arm operations. When traveling, one hydraulic pump is dedicated to the tracks to hold constant speed even while other functions are engaged.

New Holland Construction

Signals Need for Hydraulic Service

The 47,000-pound EH215 is the largest excavator in New Holland's range. Built in Kobelco's Georgia factory, it shares specifications and recent improvements with Kobelco's SK210, including faster boom-lowering speeds and a larger, more powerful bucket cylinder. Three work modes include Assist, which automatically sets hydraulic flow priority; Manual, which delivers continuous maximum speed and power; and Breaker mode, which allows operators to quickly adjust pump flows for attachments. Indicators for the hydraulic filter and hydraulic oil alert the operator when it's time for maintenance.

 New Holland excavator


Number of models: 1

New models: EH215LC

Product-line features: New Holland discontinued its EC Series excavators. The remaining line is distinguished from its Kobelco counterparts by varying lists of standard features.


New Generation Powered Up

JCB introduced the 49,500-pound JS220LC late in 2003 at 138 horsepower—an increase of nearly 8 percent—with a mechanically injected Isuzu six-cylinder without intercooler. The 56,900-pound JS260LC bumped 4 percent to 160 horsepower. JCB credits increased system pressure with faster cycle times and improved control. The system's Auto mode sets power and flow priorities to match the job; Economy manages engine and hydraulic power for fuel efficiency in normal digging; Precision improves fine-grading control; and Lifting maximizes power and controllability.

Number of models: 2

New models: JS220LC and JS260LC

Product-line features: JCB's Plexus filtration system cleans hydraulic oil down to 1.5 microns, extending filter life to 1,000 hours and hydraulic-oil life to 5,000 hours.


Short-Radius Machine Makes C Series

Caterpillar upgraded the 321CLCR last March to reflect two performance changes Peoria says are characteristic of the C Series. The 138-hp Cat 3066T produces about 7 percent more power than the B model. The 52,900-pound 321CLCR weighs about 2,000 pounds more, and lifting capacity increased about 4 percent. Cat also eliminated work modes. The C-Series automatically adjusts flow priorities based on joystick movement.

 Caterpillar C Series excavator


Number of models: 5

New models: 318CL and 321CLCR

Product-line features: Service intervals for the engine and hydraulic oils and filters have doubled—500 hours between engine service and 1,000 hours for hydraulics. Greasing interval for the boom and stick has moved from 50 to 1,000 hours. The new Tool Control allows a technician to program auxiliary hydraulic pressure and flow requirements (two-way and one-way flow) for five attachments.













Buying File Feature: Competition Complicates Excavator Choices