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.
Komatsu America Corp.
The PC210LCi-10 Takes the Cake with Intelligent Machine Control
Komatsu entered the hydraulic excavator market in the late 1960s with the H-Series. Throughout what could be considered 10 generations, many improvements have been made such as the addition of multiple operating modes, short tail swing excavators, telematics and the introduction of Komatsu Tier 4 Final emissions engines. The latest Komatsu excavators provide more advanced electronic control, easy maintenance and better operator comfort. Operators stay efficient and informed thanks to KOMTRAX, Komatsu’s machine monitoring system. A standard rear-view monitoring system improves operator situational awareness.
Several other features are used on Komatsu’s excavators to help save fuel and improve productivity. Most Komatsu excavators use a Closed Center Load Sensing (CLSS) hydraulic system, which provides lower fuel consumption and quick response to the operator’s demands. Most Komatsu excavators also feature an arm quick return circuit which provides faster cycle times and better fuel efficiency.
Product Spotlight: PC210LCi-10
The PC210LCi-10 is Komatsu’s first intelligent Machine Control excavator, and the first of its kind in the industry, says the company. Its unique machine control and guidance technologies allow customers to unearth their
productivity. Features of this model include:
Exclusive machine control function, which semi-automatically limits digging below grade to minimize over-excavation and allow for accurate finish grading.
Standard factory installed 3D GNSS intelligent Machine Control system, which includes an inertial measurement unit and stroke sensing cylinders for real-time bucket edge positioning in relation to the machine and the target surface.
Minimum distance control that automatically gives guidance to the point of the bucket closest to the target surface and facing angle compass which guides an operator to swing the machine for accurate bucket positioning to finish a slope.
A large, 12.1-in. touchscreen display that is customizable can show three views at once, including 3D, as well as offering both visual and audio elevation guidance.
“When evaluating excavator grade control options, keep in mind that not all systems are alike,” says Sebastian Witkowski, Product Marketing Manager, Intelligent Machine Controls, Komatsu America Corp. “There are key differences between 2D and 3D capability, and machine guidance vs. control. 3D GNSS systems inform operators of grade/position, while enabling them to navigate complex grade profiles with skillful accuracy. Both machine guidance and control systems help eliminate grade checkers or ‘stakes,’ but traditional guidance systems only provide the operator with a visual reference of design grade. Machines having ‘control’ capability actually prevent bucket teeth from exceeding design grade. This frees the operator to focus on moving material efficiently without concern for costly over-excavation.”