The mini excavator market is booming!

Published 8/7, 2021 at 18:34

Despite the effects of the worldwide pandemic, the mini excavator market is booming, calling for new models!

New jobs are beginning and projects that have been put on hold have started up again, all meaning that new equipment is needed. Manufacturers have taken note of this and several are now launching new mini excavators. In this special feature you can read about some of the latest news.


New machines from Bobcat in operation

Hirst Brothers Contractors Ltd of York has taken delivery of new Bobcat ‘E27’ and ‘E85’ mini excavators. Jointly run by Edd and Tom Hirst, Hirst Brothers provides a comprehensive range of services, including site clearance, tree surgery, estate management, forestry, fencing and excavation. The company works throughout the UK and has a growing list of prestigious clients. Edd Hirst commented: “The new E27 and E85 are not only providing us with the muscle we need for our work but also the additional flexibility required in the areas in which we operate. The new machines allow us to gain access to and from and to work in the tight confines of many of our worksites, including the trackside contracts for Network Rail. They can also be combined with different attachments to widen the range of applications we can carry out.”

Supplied by Grays Machinery Ltd, based in Bedale, the local authorised Bobcat dealer, the new E85 8.5t excavator has been supplied with an articulated boom, an unusual feature for the UK market, where the preference is for straight boom models. The articulated boom allows the arm on the E85 to be brought closer to the machine and to reach a lot higher, providing Grays with a larger working range even in tight areas. With its bigger engine and oil pump, the E27 2.7t excavator gives also has the extra power needed for the difficult jobs, such as working with a flail mower attachment in thick brambles.

The E85 is a reduced tail swing (RTS) mini excavator powered by a Yanmar diesel engine providing 44.3kW of power at 2,100RPM. Complementing the 10% increase in power over the previous ‘E80’ model, the E85 excavator offers higher fuel efficiency. The bucket digging force on the E85 has also been significantly increased to 61.8kN, a 13% increase over the E80.

Vitrac Obra Pública, a company specialising in earthmoving from small excavations to large earthworks on the island of Mallorca, also carries out civil works contracts for both private developers and public administrations. Vitrac uses a modern machinery fleet and is committed to its constant renewal to offer its customers the best technology on the market. In line with this commitment, Vitrac is now the first Spanish company to use the new Bobcat remote control system for compact loaders. Supplied by ITT Compañía Maquinaria 93, the authorised Bobcat dealer for the Balearic Islands, the remote control system has been used for the first time on a brand new ‘T770’ compact track loader equipped with a Bobcat ‘WS32’ wheel saw attachment. 

A spokesperson for Vitrac Obra Pública stated that when making trenches, the remote control gives better visibility of the work area and greater control of the environment. The company believes it can carry out the work more quickly with just one operator whilst experiencing fewer delays. Thanks to the external positioning of the operator who controls the loader, the attachment and the entire environment, the quality of the finish is improved as well as the safety of the works. The remote control is said to be very simple to install on the loader, which means that the operator does not waste any time. The company is reported to be ‘very pleased with the remote control system’ which has given it a new way of working and greater flexibility. The combination of the T770 compact loader, the wheel saw and the Bobcat remote control provides increased stability, safety and a panoramic view that it believes it could not get with other equipment. In addition, the company is also now able to undertake pipelining in public works.

The dealer for the Bobcat range in the Czech Republic, Bobcat CZ a.s., has announced it has received a new order comprising of 71 mini excavators and loaders from construction materials company, Stavebniny DEK a.s., which currently has a fleet of over 200 Bobcat machines available for hire through its DEK Rental business. Taken together with other orders in this sector, Bobcat CZ has supplied more than half of all machines for rental in the Czech Republic and is a leader in this segment of the market.


Three new machines from Caterpillar

Designed to boost operating efficiency, servicing ease and operator comfort, the new Cat ‘302.7 CR’, ‘303 CR’ and ‘303.5 CR’ hydraulic mini excavators have a host of new features for the 2.7t to 3.5t class. Built on the ‘Next Generation’ platform that offers consistent operator experience through the 1.5t to 10t range, each new model features stick steer, cruise control, operator adjustable settings, and tilt up canopy or cab as standard equipment. Expanded use of common parts throughout the line, plus the sturdy exterior design, help reduce parts inventory investment and lower repair costs. Daily maintenance checks are quickly made from ground level through side doors, while the tilt up cab design offers access to components for servicing. Increased service intervals mean these excavators spend more time on the job and less time in the workshop. Combined, these features are said to lower total ownership costs by up to 5% compared to previous models.

At the same time, design enhancements for the new models are said to deliver up to 10% more performance in travel and trenching. Hydraulic system upgrades improve lifting performance and cycle times, while customisable operator settings improve efficiency. The turbocharged Cat ‘C1.1’ turbo engine powers the 302.7 CR and 303 CR models, while the Cat ‘C1.7’ anchors the powertrain for the 303.5 CR. Both engines meet EU Stage V emissions standards and offer 17.6kW net power. Standard auto idle and auto engine shutdown help to conserve fuel usage at the site for more affordable operation.


News from Doosan

Kings Heath Demolition Ltd, based Worcestershire in the UK, has purchased new Doosan mini and crawler excavators from Murley Construction, the local Doosan dealer. This includes the company’s first three mini excavators, Doosan ‘DX17Z’, ‘DX27Z’ and ‘DX63-3’ models. Tony Nicholls, senior contracts manager at Kings Heath Demolition, said: “With the new Doosan DX17Z, DX27Z and DX63-3, we are adding mini excavators to our fleet for the first time. These machines meet the increasing demand in the market for indoor demolition and refurbishment work, involving work in confined spaces and basements. We are beginning to see an uptick in this type of project, including the conversion of existing multi storey office buildings into new apartments in urban locations and the new Doosan mini excavators are perfect for this type of work.”

The first new Doosan crawler excavator purchased by Kings Heath Demolition was a ‘DX140LC-5’ 14.4t model. This machine, and the ‘DX225LC-5’ models subsequently added, have so impressed the company’s drivers that Kings Heath Demolition switched brands and has only purchased Doosan in the last three to four years. Tony Nicholls added: “When you add how much our drivers like the Doosan machines to the impeccable service offered by Murley Construction, it has been a simple decision to keep adding more Doosan excavators. We work throughout Great Britain, undertaking contracts in England, Scotland and Wales, so reliable and high performing equipment is essential for our work, supported by the best aftermarket back up on the market.”


New from JCB

JCB is launching a 3.5t zero tail swing compact excavator and a new 3.6t conventional model, expanding its ‘Next Generation’ line to meet customer demand. Features include an engine designed for global markets with a new hydraulic system, a larger ROPS cab/canopy with new instrumentation and an improved dig end geometry with 40mm bucket pins and 500h greasing. It also features an easy to clean ‘H-frame’ undercarriage design with auto kick down motors and a re-profiled dozer blade for increased productivity. While the new ‘35Z-1’ zero tail swing model is a replacement for the previous generation ‘8035ZTS’, the conventional rear end ‘36C-1’ is a totally new development. The zero tail swing model is ideal for working in confined areas, providing greater protection as the counterweight rotates within the width of the machine, whilst the 36C-1 provides increased productivity with more reach, stability and lifting performance.



On the occasion of its 100th anniversary in May, Komatsu Ltd. announced a fully electric (non-hydraulic drive) and exclusively remote controlled mini excavator powered by lithium ion battery as its next generation concept machine. Designed to lay the foundations for commercialisation for fully electric construction equipment in the future, the concept machine for the fully electric 3t class has a bucket capacity of 0.09m3, and is based on Komatsu’s accumulated technological expertise derived from electric forklifts and mini excavators. It also incorporates new technologies, such as lithium ion batteries and electric cylinders which utilise no hydraulics. Thanks to electric power, it generates no exhaust gas, noise or heat, and offers stress free operation. In addition to improved energy efficiency, it also features ‘maintenance free operation’ as there are no hydraulics.

As the concept machine requires no operator on board, Komatsu has achieved totally new concepts related to vehicle designs and performance. A vehicle controller and operational device are connected via wireless LAN, resulting in no need to install facilities or create an environment which are required in the conventional remote control system, thus enabling remote control operations in any work environment. With respect to the operational devices of the vehicle, the operator can select the one preferred. Furthermore, it offers a new workstyle of operating with no boarding required which thereby reduces operator fatigue for enhanced workplace productivity. Thanks to electrification and remote control, this machine is said to provide ‘stress free’ operation, as the machine is easier to work in confined, dangerous sites, such as for indoor demolition and rescue work.

In 2020, Komatsu launched the ‘PC30E-5’ mini excavators in Japan, and plans to introduce them following equipping with the lithium ion battery system used in the concept machine for Europe in 2022. Komatsu is working to not only accelerate the speed of commercialising construction equipment with little environmental impact, but also further anchor them into the future.

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