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.
Compact Design Meets Big Results
For decades, JCB has been producing both full-size and compact excavators. All of JCB’s weight classes of compact excavators are popular in construction applications, but as their weights increase, the machines become more popular for excavation, sewer and pipeline work.
JCB currently offers 11 different compact excavators ranging from the smallest model, the 8008, to the largest, the 100C. The range spans from 1 to 10 tons (however, the specs here only include units 6 tons and higher). According to JCB, the advantages of its compact excavators include increased visibility due to large front, side and top glass areas and a narrow boom and dipper, as well as enhanced productivity.
Product Spotlight: The New Generation
The current range of new machines — the 67C, 85Z, 86C, 90Z and 100C — have launched a completely new look for JCB compact excavators, with a revised H-design undercarriage, robust steel body panels, a spacious operator environment and Tier 4 Final engines that deliver increased efficiency and lower operating cost. JCB’s largest compact excavator, the JCB 100C, has comparable performance to a 13-metric-ton excavator, but is easier to drive with better visibility and better maneuverability.
All New Generation JCB machines are powered by all-new JCB by Kohler diesel engines, which use up to 10 percent less fuel than the previous models and conform to Tier 4 Final emissions standards without any requirement for a DPF.
These machines feature a sturdy swing bracket design with widely spaced bearings to prevent wear. In addition, JCB excavators use a new graphite-based pin-and-bush design delivering 500-hour greasing intervals for reduced daily maintenance and lower operating costs. The machines will also be available from the factory with a roto/tilt function installed, making them ready for use with a number of rotating and tilting bucket mount systems.
“Utility contractors must be clear on their needs and the required specification of the machine that they are looking for,” explains Jordan Dey, JCB’s Compact Excavator Product Specialist. “The correct specification is imperative. For example, the machine must have the right auxiliary pipework required for a contractor’s attachments. It is important to remember the compact excavator has the ability to be extremely versatile, with manufacturers ensuring there are a wide range of machines with different options, features and benefits that offer the upmost productivity. It is essential that there is an understanding of the need for all involved and the chosen machine’s ability — this ensures the most efficient and united work.”