The latest OEM technology available in what is a market sweet spot for hydraulic excavators (27 to 36 metric tons) focuses on features geared to help operators do their jobs easier and with more efficiency, experts told Construction Equipment.
“One of our latest technology features available within this size range is Dig Assist,” says Sung Sook Kim, excavator product manager at Volvo. “It’s available on the EC220E and will become available on more models throughout 2019. Operators can use Dig Assist’s software to improve accuracy while speeding up their productivity.”
Kim details how the feature works. “The job’s design is entered into the system either offsite or by the operator from inside the cab. The software then helps guide the operator to complete the work to the job’s specifications. A real-time, 3D view of the machine’s movements eliminates the need to check digging depths, and an on-screen light bar can notify the operator when the target grade is reached,” Kim says.
“This minimizes rework. Dig Assist serves as a partner for operators—helping them manage all operations independently and decreasing the need for surveyors and additional staff on site,” Kim says.
He notes that the tool can simplify the digging process and provide added safety during a time when skilled labor can be tough to find.
With fewer skilled operators available these days, improving their productivity is a must.
Aaron Kleingartner, marketing manager for Doosan says power optimization can be a key. “Available for the DX350LC-5, D-Ecopower optimizes hydraulic system output with engine horsepower, improving machine efficiency, productivity, and fuel consumption, as well as refining machine control and enhancing operator comfort,” he says.
“A pressure-controlled pump, closed-center main control valve, and various sensors in the excavator electronically detect and control the precise amount of hydraulic oil required to perform a task,” Kleingartner says. “An example of how this is beneficial is in lifting mode. The technology helps give operators finite control of the lift arm to be very precise when placing pipe or lifting material.”
How about three hydraulic pumps on an excavator?
John Deere and Hitachi excavator product marketing manager explains why three is better than the more traditional two.
“We recently released our 345G, which has a three-pump hydraulic system,” Spendlove says. “The third hydraulic pump provides an additional 55 gpm of flow, so the multifunctioning on this excavator is phenomenal, and its swing and cycle times are fast. This is important because it can allow operators to do more in a shorter amount of time. Over time, this adds up to extra bids and more money.”
And no one’s going to argue with that.
You can check out more excavator information in CE's March Buying File feature.