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.
Volvo Construction Equipment
Fourteen Models Boast Increased Power and Efficiency
Volvo Construction Equipment is one of the world’s largest construction equipment manufacturers. It 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, wheeled, short-swing, high-reach demolition and compact excavators.
Product Spotlight: EC750E
The EC750E crawler excavator is equipped with a powerful Volvo Tier 4 Final D16J engine that delivers up to 5 percent fuel economy improvements over its predecessor, the EC700CL. 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 productivity, the EC750E provides an 11 percent horsepower increase over the EC700CL and is equipped with larger diameter boom cylinders and increased working pressure, resulting in a 7 percent increase in digging force and a 4 percent boost in hydraulic flow. The auto idle function reduces engine speed to idle when the controls are inactive for a pre-set amount of time. If the machine is left idling for longer, the optional auto engine shutdown feature can be set to automatically turn off the machine, thereby reducing idle time. A fully electro-hydraulic control system improves controllability, productivity and fuel efficiency. 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.
Preventive maintenance is made easier with a standard six-year subscription to CareTrack, Volvo’s telematics system, which allows the fleet manager to remotely receive service alerts, track machine location and better manage service intervals.
The EC750E is backed by Volvo’s Lifetime Frame and Structure Warranty. The warranty ensures Volvo or an authorized dealer will repair or replace components of the frame, boom and arm of the excavator as necessary during the full life of the equipment under the initial owner.
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.