Dragline Excavator

Published Feb 17, 22
5 min read

Volvo Mini Excavator

By Keith Gribbins February 22, 2021 Excavators are cool. My three-year-old son has confirmed this. He screams every time he sees one, and he screams a lot. Small attachment-taking excavators specifically are one of the hottest markets in off-highway construction machinery right now (sales in the United States are somewhere between 45,000 and 50,000 units), which is why we see them on every corner, which is why my days are filled with audible excavator alerts.



Unit sales overall continue to grow. As noted in previous features, U.S. compact excavator sales in 2019 were about 46,000 units compared to 42,800 units in 2018. “It’s hard to forecast the year ahead, but we predict that in the industry there could be more than 50,000 units in North America alone,” says Justin Steger, solutions marketing manager of site development and underground at John Deere.

Mini Excavator Attachments

That is quite a range. “Breakout force, dig depth and auxiliary flow are the important features when matching a compact excavator to an application,” says Erik Coyle, product specialist with Yanmar. “Remember to also match attachments with the auxiliary performance of the machine. Never match an attachment based on machine weight.

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Yanmar provides five excavators under 10,000 lbs.” Customers will need to know the weight of the machine for applications and towing purposes. Machine dimensions are another factor. If you’re a contractor working in backyards with tight access points, height, width, reach and swing will need to be calculated and perhaps a zero tail swing model will be required (more on that later).

Takeuchi Mini Excavator

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Ensure that switching from pilot controls to traditional backhoe configurations (ISO to SAE) is simple. This writer is old and prefers backhoe pattern. Also, a radio with Bluetooth technology can enhance an operator’s groove. From the cab, explore how the machine sounds and travels. Does the unit have a solid construction that absorbs vibration? How loud is it? Does it have an auto idle or eco mode feature to automatically rev down, lower noise and save fuel costs? How does it travel? Mini excavators can move pretty slowly, so some manufacturers offer innovative travel tech.

“1D and 2D grade control solutions are becoming very popular with mini excavators,” says Mace. “These solutions have become more and more readily available to business owners, and the lower price-point on these systems has also significantly lowered any perceived barrier to entry for machine control technologies. These systems are very easy to use and require less manpower on the jobsite.

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It also comes standard with Yanmar’s patented quick-coupler and best-in-class, four-year/4,000-hour warranty. John Deere’s 30G and the 35G offers customers a variety of machine options to suit their needs. Dig depth, operating weight, easy of transport and options from long arms to suspension seats are some of the key factors customers consider when choosing the 30G and 35G.

Zero tail swing means that the counterweight does not extend past the outside of the crawler track pads when the machine is swung over the side. Minimal tail swing usually means, under the same condition, the counterweight might extend a few inches outside the width of the lower track pads.

Mini Excavator Rental Near Me

There are some unique backfill blade options out there. Blades can come in simple push configurations or angle versions. Blades on the smallest micro units will have the ability to fold in with a retractable undercarriage. There are also four-way and six-way angle backfill blades on bigger, higher-end units. “An angle blade option is available for the DX35-5, DX42-5K and DX50-5K,” notes Kleingartner.

Operators can angle the backfill blade 25 degrees left or right. They can push spoil from one side of the blade to the other without forming windrows on both sides of the dozer blade.” Varying counterweights can also be added to the rear of a mini excavator, adding stability for lifting and digging.

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An example of the latter… “Over the last few years, we have seen selector valves for auxiliary hydraulics become popular in the industry,” says Steger. “John Deere offers these selector valves, which are mounted to the arm of the machine, as a standard feature on our equipment. This allows a machine with a hydraulic thumb to also use other auxiliary hydraulic-powered attachments without the need to connect and disconnect auxiliary hydraulic hoses.

Takeuchi has worked with Green Machine for years. JCB just announced its electric-powered 19C-1E will be the first e-unit available with a cab. Volvo Construction Equipment has teased an electric mini ex for a couple of years. Of note: There are fully electric mini excavators on the market, utilizing rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to power units for a full eight hours, while others are hybrids.

Bobcat E35 Mini Excavator For Sale

Rollers are metal wheels that are mounted to the top and bottom of the track frame, which support and guide the rubber track between the sprocket and the front idler. There is also a variety of tracks. Owners and operators can choose between aftermarket tracks or OEM tracks, the latter coming from the mini excavator manufacturer.

A great way to experience multiple units is to rent machines from local lots, but remember, rental units are usually barebones and often do not have a lot of the high-end features mentioned in this article. Dealers are always happy to let potential buyers run a unit through its paces as well, so take the opportunity.

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“It all comes down to applications and workload,” says Mace. “If a business owner has jobs lined up and can keep the machine busy year-round, then it makes financial sense for them to purchase a machine with the most versatile capabilities that will meet their needs. If they need a mini ex for a one-off trenching or landscaping job, then it makes more sense to rent.

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