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During 2011, several companies pre-announced or offcially launched new products and developments in the specifc

area of mini-excavators. Contractors World takes a look at recent

announcements and tries to rationalise some of the other announcements.

Developments in

mini-excavators

Although the industry is in the depths of an economic downturn, manufacturers continue to roll out new products. This years has been a litle diferent to previous years in the way that equipment has been introduced.

2011 has seen new products dr ip-fed into the market via various trade shows. For instance Caterpillar has just announced the availability of three new mini-excavators, but these were displayed at Samoter in Italy. To pull everything together and allow for some comparison, I am taking a fresh look at

some of the introductons this year in the very popular mini/compact excavator product range.

Bobcat completes roll-out - E26 and E55 mini excavators

First shown at ConExpo, basically for the American markets, Bobcat is now promotng the 2.6 t zero tail swing mini-excavator throughout Europe.

Basically, the E26 has changed litle for the European markets apart from minor changes to comply with the diferent regulations. It builds on the experience gained with the E-Series, which were introduced some 18 months ago. In additon, the company claim that the E26 ofers increased stability, optmised operatng weight for towing and low noise and vibraton.

As a result of the increased stability, the E26 does not require an additonal counterweight when confgured with the optonal long dipperstck. This not only increases the working range but also maintains the zero-tail swing feature. The company has also kept the transport weight to 2700 kg, allowing it to be transported by trailer (maximum towable weight, including trailer: 3.5 tonnes).

Uncompromised operator comfort

I have commented in previous issues on the atenton now being given to operator comfort on smaller machines. For too long atenton has been on the larger machines but now manufacturers are beginning to recognise that the efciency of smaller machines such as mini-excavators is enabling operators to spend much longer in the cab.

The Bobcat E26 is one example of this trend. It benefits from the same cab used on the Bobcat excavator larger models in the 3-5 tonne segment. The cab ofers the highest comfort, visibility and space standards, with heatng and radio/MP3 readiness as standard. It also ofers easy entry and exit for the operator and the design allows the door to be fully opened within the width of the upper structure. This reduces the possibility of damage to the machine and the surrounding environment. The larger cab overcomes a common complaint of insufcient leg and foot room.

Attention to detail

Very ofen it is the litle thing that can make all the diference to an operator. The E26 is designed to ofer the operator a full 360° view around the machine with full sight of the right track and the rear of the cab. By relocatng the wiper motor to the lower front window increases forward visibility. Forward visibility is further increased by reducing the size of the front window cross-member secton to a minimum.

The control system, which automatcally monitors the engine and hydraulic systems and shuts them down in the event of a problem, also automatcally turns of the work lights afer 10 minutes when the key is not in the igniton to prevent the batery being run down. A batery kill switch provides enhanced security.

The boom swing is controlled by a thumb wheel located on the lef joystck, instead of the pedal control used on

Page 26 Contractors World Vol 2 No 9

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