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.
Volvo Construction Equipment
Thirteen Models Boast Increased Power and Efficiency
Volvo Construction Equipment is one of the world’s largest construction equipment manufacturers. Volvo offers a full product range to support the pipeline and utilities industries, with equipment manufactured, serviced and supported across North America. The global presence and dealer network of Volvo Construction Equipment has been growing since its inception in 1832. Dealers are strategically located throughout North America to provide equipment, parts and service support for productive and profitable operation.
The Volvo excavator lineup includes crawler excavators, wheeled excavators, short swing excavators and compact excavators. In 2015, Volvo launched seven new excavator models — the EC20D, EC60E, EC140E, ECR145E, EC160E, EC220E and ECR235E.
Product Spotlight: ECR235E
The ECR235E short swing excavator is equipped with a powerful Volvo Tier 4 Final engine that delivers up to 10 percent fuel economy improvements. To capitalize on efficiency and productivity, the machine offers integrated working modes, which allow the operator to choose the best work mode for the application — I (Idle), F (Fine), G (General) or H (Heavy). To further improve fuel efficiency, the ECR235E is equipped with auto idle and engine shutdown features. The auto idle function reduces engine speed to idle when the controls are inactive for a pre-set amount of time. If the machines are left idle for longer, the optional auto engine shutdown feature will automatically turn off the machine.
The ECR235E has been designed to provide the lowest total cost of ownership. A winning combination of enhanced hydraulics, improved ECO mode and convenient service access contributes to lower overall costs and higher productivity. An optimized hydraulic system is combined with the fully electronic control system to improve controllability and response time. This system works in harmony with the exclusive Volvo ECO mode, which optimizes the hydraulic system to reduce flow and pressure losses resulting in lower fuel consumption.
Punched anti-slip plates and handrails ensure superior grip and added safety when performing maintenance checks and services. The ECR235E is further equipped with foldable guardrails to ensure safer access and ease of transportation. To improve machine serviceability, Volvo has designed both of these machines with grouped filters and centralized greasing points, accessible from ground level.
Matthew McLean, Excavator Product Manager for Volvo Construction Equipment, suggests fleet managers should look at the three primary drivers that affect total cost of ownership when purchasing an excavator — depreciation, maintenance and fuel consumption. Operator behavior plays a huge role in each of these drivers, from decreasing idle time to utilizing proper work modes for enhanced fuel efficiency. By implementing a sound operator training program, owners can make the most of their machines and keep them in top shape season after season.