From digging and backfilling to moving and placing pipe, the excavator is the go-to machine for utility contractors. To highlight these hard-working pieces of iron (as well as the companies that construct them), we’ve gathered the histories, product offerings and specs for the biggest names in the marketplace.
Over the next 10 pages, learn all about the product lines of the most popular excavator manufacturers in North America — from Caterpillar and John Deere 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. Sit back, relax and dig in.
Pam Kleineke is managing editor of Utility Contractor.
A Dozen Efficient Machines Suited for Utility Construction
Since 1930, Kobelco has built its excavators to be leaders in the industry, adding innovation to machines at every turn. Today, the company is dedicated to producing 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.
Today, Kobelco offers 12 excavator models ranging from 17,100 to 114,000 lbs. Six of these models round out the company’s Short Rear Swing (SR) Excavator Series, while the others make up the Conventional Excavator Series. Kobelco SR excavators are packed with value and innovation and equipped with an exclusive iNDr Cooling System that reduces dust while delivering quiet operation. The SR Series comprise Next-3E, the company’s approach to lower fuel consumption and maximum work volume while making every gallon go further. The conventional Kobelco models boast impressive features, including: industry-leading swing torque, powerful engines and breakout forces, straight travel, independent travel and a no-time-limit power boost. Operators are welcomed into big cab visibility and comfort, while owners welcome high-quality construction and low-cost maintenance.
Kobelco excavators are equipped with the exclusive KOMEXS machine operation management system, allowing owners to access 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: SK300LC-10
The revolutionary Kobelco SK300LC-10 establishes new standards in value, productivity and durability. This robust, 68,100-lb model is powered by a 252-hp Tier 4 Final HINO engine, enabling it to easily tackle heavy-duty applications. The trendsetting SK300LC delivers a dynamic bucket digging force of 37,300-lbf to achieve leading-class work volume, even while minimizing fuel consumption. Much of this boost in efficiency comes from a new hydraulic regeneration system, which aids the arm by reusing force generated by the boom, to further minimize energy loss and ensure outstanding performance
“Buyers should ensure 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, 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.”