Designed to Dig: Kobelco’s Excavators


The excavator has become a staple in the utility construction industry. From digging and backfilling to moving and placing pipe, it’s the go-to machine to get the job done. To pay homage to these hard-working pieces of iron and the companies that construct them, we’ve gathered the histories, product offerings and specs for the biggest names in the marketplace.

Over the next 11 pages, learn all about the most popular excavator manufacturers in North America from Case and Caterpillar to Komatsu and Volvo. Compare specs of different models or simply discover the beginnings of a brand you love. There are even insights and advice from industry insiders to aid in purchasing decisions and maintenance matters. So grab a drink, sit back and dig in.

Pam Kleineke is Managing Editor of Utility Contractor.


Eleven Models Highlight 85 Years of Innovation

Since 1930, Kobelco has been dedicated to building innovative machines. Today, the company produces a full range of crawler excavators in the 3,000- to 245,000-lb classes, including zero tail swing, compact, standard, long-reach, mass excavation and demolition models. According to Kobelco, its excavators are engineered to: power through the toughest jobs, get more done in less time, balance performance with efficiency and stay safe while you do it all.
Six models round out Kobelco’s short rear swing (SR) excavator series. Ranging from 17,100 to 59,300 lbs, the SR excavators are packed with value and innovation. The exclusive iNDr Cooling System within these machines reduces dust while delivering quiet operation. The SR series also uses Next-3E, Kobelco’s approach to lower fuel consumption and maximize work volume while making every gallon go further. The new ECO-mode in select models creates even greater fuel savings, making SR excavators high-earning machines.

To deliver enhanced productivity, the excavators are equipped with the exclusive KOMEX machine operation management system, which allows owners access to crucial machine data such as location, operating hours, fuel consumption and maintenance status. Operators and fleet managers, along with Kobelco dealers and service personnel, can easily view all vital equipment information to more effectively plan jobs and schedule regular service intervals.

Product Spotlight: SK350

Kobelco’s most popular model is the Tier 4 Final SK350. This robust 82,200-lb machine is powered by a 270-hp HINO engine, which allows it to easily tackle a wide-range of heavy-duty applications while remaining highly fuel efficient. This model incorporates both SCR and self-cleaning DPF systems to provide the low operation costs. In addition to power and fuel economy, the SK350 boasts impressive digging capabilities. With a digging force of 45,900 lbs, a digging depth of 24 ft, 10 in. and a swing speed of 10 rpm., this excavator ensures quick cycle times to keep productivity levels on point regardless of the application.


“Buyers should make sure their selling dealer is knowledgeable, dependable and will continually provide prompt, efficient service including any warranty work on the machine’s engine,” says George Lumpkins, National Service Manager for Kobelco Construction Machinery USA. “Buyers should also have a clear understanding of the applications the new machine will be used for. This is critical to ensure the selected model will offer the necessary amount of power and versatility to complete the work at hand.”

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