CX330 Advances Case's Excavator Technology

Sept. 28, 2010


Considerable refinement of the engine, hydraulic system and structure is complemented in the new Case CX330 with easier maintenance. Intervals for changing the oil and 1-micron filters in its hydraulic system are 5,000 and 1,000 hours, respectively; the engine-oil change interval is doubled to 500 hours; and critical pivots in the digging linkage require grease only at 1,000-hour or six-month intervals.
Case's 9050B has been a solid performer in the company's hydraulic-excavator line since 1994.
The CX330's new cabin retains its predecessor's lower right side window, which provides excellent visibility to the track. The new model also has a nicely redesigned instrument panel, and features an automatic two-speed travel system (with straight-tracking travel priority) and a standard anti-theft system (that is activated at the owner's discretion).
Trench depth averaged 12.5 feet, and the hard, heavy clay of the test site made for exceptionally stable trenches.
Dan Oakes, who owns the site where we conducted the CX330/9050B comparison, had his crew fill in the bottom of a pipe section with concrete to make the test weight.
We used a hand-held meter to record exterior sound levels for the two test machines running at high idle. Interior levels were recorded at the operator's ear. According to Case, the CX330's viscous fan clutch is a major contributor to the new model's notably quieter operation.
With designed-in swing priority and greater hydraulic pressure, the CX330 was considerably faster when swinging a weighted bucket uphill, from a dead stop, with boom and arm extended. This advantage in swing acceleration showed up in the CX330's faster cycle times during the trenching test.
More Work on Less Fuel


The summary data in the accompanying table represent the average of both operators' performance. Both machines worked in their Heavy mode, and the 9050B operator was free to use its manual power-boost function.

The CX330's nearly 10 percent better production was the result, almost equally, of greater speed and its ability to pack more into the bucket during an average cycle. With 8 percent more horsepower, more digging force and 6 percent more hydraulic flow, the machine simply overpowered its predecessor in the stubborn clay of the test site and consistently loaded its bucket more efficiently.

We checked fuel consumption by topping off the tanks in a designated area before each test run, then weighing makeup fuel across an electronic scale. Obviously, we were somewhat taken aback by the CX330's fuel-efficiency advantage. Since we checked fuel consumption independently for each operator, we've given you both numbers, and while one is about half the other, the average is quite substantial. Says Case, the new engine's lesser rotating mass, electronic fuel control, 24-valve cylinder head and viscous fan clutch all contribute to fuel efficiency, as does the unit's more intelligent hydraulic/engine management system.

More Lift Power

According to Case, the CX330 exhibits about the same over-side lifting power as the 9050B. But to evaluate the claimed increase over the front, we attached a specially modified, 18,400-pound section of concrete pipe. Operator Russ Wadzinski then sequentially armed out to make lifts at increased radii, repeating the process until each machine reached its stability limit. The CX330's greater lift power, we'd surmise, comes from its larger counterweight (by 3,000 pounds), greater hydraulic pressure and larger-diameter boom cylinders.

In this story:Tables:
Test Set 
New model CX330 
Type Excavator 
Replaces 9050B 
Available Mid 2002 

When Construction Equipment editors worked with Case to evaluate the company's new CX330 hydraulic excavator against the model it replaces, the 9050B, our trenching comparison had the machines digging down to 12-plus feet in stubborn, brick-hard clay that seemed ready to pull them in with every bucket load. The site, a borrow pit for landfill cover in North Cape (near Racine), Wis., is owned by A.W. Oakes & Sons, a local earthmoving firm. The company's Dan Oakes was gracious enough to allow us to use the site, and also loaned us one of his best operators, Brian Torgerson, who worked with Case's Russ Wadzinski during the field-test evaluation.

And when trenching in this obstinate material, the new 30-metric-ton-class CX330 bested the productivity of its predecessor by nearly 10 percent, while exhibiting quite a notable fuel-efficiency advantage. Our comparative tests also included over-the-front lifting, swing acceleration and an evaluation of sound levels. As you'll see from the results, the CX330 represents quite a big technical step forward from its popular, though less refined, predecessor.

We conducted the evaluation on two particularly warm Wisconsin days in mid-September. The CX330 was virtually new, from the Case demo fleet, and the 9050B was a low-hour rental unit. Both were equipped with identical digging arms (13 feet 3 inches), both used 2.19-cubic-yard, 48-inch-wide buckets with side cutters, and both were fitted with 32-inch track shoes.

Representing Case at the test were marketing manager Dave Wolf, product manager Bob Weiglein, chief engineer Bob Tuszka, and Joe Hanneman, Case's public-relations manager from Malcolm Marketing Communications.

The Case 9050B, with a standard operating weight of around 73,500 pounds, has been a solid performer in the company's B-Series excavator line since its 1994 introduction. For the past two years, however, Case has been replacing its B-Series machines with CX-Series models, which now number eight, ranging from 7 to 80 metric tons. CX-Series machines, compared to their B-Series counterparts, says Case's Dave Wolf, have been essentially redesigned from the tracks up.

The new models, jointly developed by Case and Sumitomo Construction Machinery, are manufactured in Chiba, Japan. Case, however, supplies the Chiba factory with a number of key components, including Case engines (made at the Case/Cummins factory in Rocky Mount, N.C.), viscous fan drives and cooling-system components.

The CX330, in standard trim, is some 4,500 pounds heavier than the 9050B. The added weight comes primarily from a larger counterweight and from a redesigned carbody that now entirely encloses the swing system. These added pounds contribute to the boost in the new model's over-front lift capacity and, in combination with higher hydraulic pressures in the travel circuit, give the CX330 an impressive 16-percent boost in drawbar pull, which means more power for negotiating poor underfoot conditions and steep grades.

In addition, the design of the CX330's digging linkage has been enhanced in several ways. The boom and arm, deeper in cross-section to accommodate higher digging forces and intermittent hammer use, now incorporate V-groove-type welds that are placed by robots and 100 percent ultra-sound inspected. The boom-foot and boom-to-arm pivots use improved bushings, new plated pins and new dust seals that combine, says Case, to make a more durable, easier-to-maintain assembly. (These joints require lubrication only at 1,000-hour/6-month intervals.) New hardened-chrome pins used elsewhere in the digging linkage are intended to contribute further to overall digging-linkage durability.

Although the basic six-cylinder, 8.3-liter engine in the CX330 has been used in Case products since 1985—a tried-and-true powerplant, says Case—continual refinement over those years has changed 85 percent of the original engine's part numbers. Running in the CX330 at 259 net horsepower with an air-to-air intercooler and a free-breathing 24-valve cylinder head, the new Case 6TAA-830 engine's premier feature is its CAPS (Case Accumulator Pressure System) fuel system.

Even though the new fuel system is not technically a common-rail type, it does (like a common-rail system) use accumulators to store fuel at extremely high pressures. The timing and duration of injection, as we understand the system, are controlled by a rotary distributor, which is supplied by the accumulators and controlled by two communicating computers. Case calls the new engine a "full-authority, digital-electronic" type, and says its outstanding qualities are a clean exhaust stack and exceptional fuel-efficiency.

Electronic logic controlling the new engine's fuel system tracks machine operating parameters and keeps the system continually armed to respond instantly and precisely to the fuel requirements of individual cylinders. The engine's total electronic design also eliminates cable and step-motor controls from the fuel system, with a subsequent gain in reliability.

Although modest changes in the CX330's digging-linkage geometry contribute to its higher digging forces, the machine's big gun in the trench is refinement of its open-center hydraulic system. Main pressure in the implement circuit is up nearly 8 percent, and hydraulic-cylinder diameter is up between 4 and 7 percent.

Hydraulic power

The resulting increase in hydraulic power combines with the CX330's more-efficient linkage geometry to yield nearly 20 percent more bucket-digging force and 15 percent more arm force. And with 19 more net horsepower, the CX330 can drive its main hydraulic pumps with greater force. Plus, its new pumps produce about 6 percent more flow for increased hydraulic speed at lower system pressures.

Case's new Pro Control System (PCS) manages the CX330's hydraulic system and its interface with the 6TAA-830 engine, and does so with considerably more electronic intelligence than did the 9050B's control system. Like the 9050B, the CX330 does have manually selected working modes (it has three, the 9050B had four), but the CX330 departs from its predecessor's design by adding a new Automatic work mode. Working in the Automatic mode, the CX330 can analyze load demands and operator input at the joysticks, then adjust the engine and hydraulic pumps to "balance power and speed with efficiency and economy."

Other PCS features include a high-speed assistance system, which speeds up boom and arm functions, and an automatic power-boost system. The latter increases main pressure 10 percent for 8 seconds if the implement system reaches standard relief pressure for more than 1 second in tough digging. PCS also allows the operator to engage a cushioned-stop feature for the boom and arm, a new system that cushions stops at any position in the cylinders' travel, not just at the end of the stroke.

And to expand hydraulic flexibility, the machine is available with three auxiliary hydraulic kits, which are operated by fingertip controls at the joysticks. Boom and arm circuits now also incorporate anti-drift valves, and an optional pattern-selector valve allows quick rearrangement of joystick functions, a capability especially valuable in rental operations.

Complementing the CX330's refined structures, engine and hydraulics is its new cab. Even though air conditioning was optional on the 9050B, it's difficult to fault the machine's spacious, comfortable cab. The CX330, however, manages to take operator comfort and convenience a step further, with such amenities as programmable climate-control and 14 percent more glass for enhanced visibility.

A new instrument panel for the CX330 efficiently consolidates controls into the sill of the right widow, and the panel's large LCD message screen provides both operating information and easy access to self-diagnostic service codes. The cab-exit safety bar stows neatly within the left console, and the consoles themselves adjust independently of the seat via fingertip controls. And when performing overhead work, the seat tilts rearward for a better view through a larger skylight.

Expert opinions

We asked guest operator Brian Torgerson what differences he noticed most after trenching with the CX330 and 9050B back-to-back in the tough material at the site:

"When digging close to the machine, the 330 kept level, but the 9050 felt light. The 330 got to grade faster and was much easier to use when keeping the bottom clean. It was also stronger out of the hole, and overall, it felt faster. I thought the new machine was smoother, visibility was better, and it was considerably more quiet."

Case's Russ Wadzinski had some similar observations and, like Torgerson, first mentioned the CX330's greater stability:

"The 330 was very stable in all positions when trenching in this heavy clay, and even when the auto power boost engaged, the machine pulled through the material without lifting the tracks. I really noticed the difference in stick power between the two models and, in my opinion, the 330 is smoother and more controllable."

Trenching Comparision   9050B CX330 Projected production rate (bank cu.yd./hour) 236 259 Production advantage 9.8%Projected fuel consumption (gallons/hour) 7.87 6.90 Fuel efficiency (bank cu. yd./gallon) 28.85 37.45 Fuel-efficiency advantage 26.0%Average cycles per minute 2.68 2.82 Cycle-speed advantage 5.2%Average bucket load (bank cu. yd.) 1.47 1.55 Bucket-fill ratio** 67.2% 70.6% Bucket-fill advantage 5.4%* Operator A= 17.8%; operator B = 34.4%
**Compares rated capacity with measured average bucket load during test
Lift Comparision (Over front)  
 9050B CX330 
Maximum radius (ft.)2225
Advantage  13.6%
Swing Acceleration*   9050B CX330 0-90 degrees (sec.)3.443.18Advantage  7.6%0-180 degrees (sec.) 5.20 4.98 Advantage   4.2%*20-degree slope
*Averages for 24- and 33-ft. radii
Basic Specifications   9050BCX330Engine:    Make/modelCummins/M11-C265Case/6TAA-830  Horsepower (net) 240 259  Displacement ( 661 37.45   Torque (net)(lb.-ft.)90026.0% Hydraulics:    Flow (gpm)142150  Main relief pressure (psi)4,6204,975  Power-boost pressure (psi)5,0505,410Operating weight (lb.)*73,50078,000Drawbar pull (lb.)52,350 60,923 Digging-arm options13'3"/10'7"/8'8" 13'3"/10'8"/8'8" Bucket range:    General-purpose (cu. yd.)1.20-2.59 1.26-2.93   Heavy-duty (cu.yd.) 1.20-2.30 1.22-2.53 List price (as tested):$290,169  $303,725*Approximate, with mid-range digging arm, bucket and full fuel