Game Changing Developments for Excavators
Excavators have long been the backbone of any given major construction projects and their use for projects have only become greater as time passes. Among the reasons behind the increasing dependency on excavators includes the application of the latest technologies that have been developed into these machines. The latest excavator models are able to perform a wide variety of tasks that traditionally would require the use of other types of machinery.
Apart from that these machines are also fitted with engines that consume less energy and produce more power which is critical when these machines take on other tasks apart from moving earth such as drill, cut, flatten, grade or demolish. Among the driving factors behind these rapid developments according to Ryan Neal who is an excavator specialist at Caterpillar is the bottom line.
Everything is about the bottom line and as such any developments that has been introduced into excavators has been about improving bottom lines and the only way that an excavator is able to contribute to this objective is by optimising productivity levels. The key elements of optimal productivity within the scope of excavators includes the ability to grade faster, semi-autonomous digging and grading, keeping precise tabs on material weight, more power less fuel and lower maintenance costs.
For instance within the last two to three years the 2 – D grade control system that has been introduced into almost every excavator produced by major manufacturers has completely changed how these machines grade. Even inexperienced excavator operators from an excavator hire company are able to grade as well as seasoned and experienced operators as all they have to do is select depth and slope. Once the operator selects these two elements everything else is determined by the on board sensors that guide the operator on the amount of distance to grade.
This popularity of the 2 D grade control system according to Mathew McLean of Volvo CE was in fact driven by contractors wanting to wrap projects up fast in order to improve their bottom lines and the 2 D grade control systems do exactly just that – save time and time is money! More recently manufacturers have been emphasising on elements of automation that takes the accuracy of grading further via automated boom and stick movements.
This type of automation was first observed in Volvo’s EC excavator models that applied electric on hydraulic controls. This basically allowed the operators joystick to communicate directly to the hydraulic pumps and valves that prevents operators from over digging or grading. Apart from that these systems also assist operators to dig and load efficiently and avoid obstacles on either side of the machine.
Other notable technological advancements include the ability of modern day excavators to consistently keep check of the weight of the material being handled when the excavator is working which allows operators to make the best of the excavator’s capacity without overloading or under loading. Another technological advancement that is currently raving includes cost of ownership; manufacturers such as Kubota, Komatsu, Caterpillar, and Hyundai have been giving priority to reduce the cost of ownership significantly.
Among the more notable development are fuel efficiency and the robustness of excavators. Most new models are capable of delivering twice the amount of power compared to machines from a decade ago by utilising half of the fuel. With the rising cost of fuel, the efficiency of fuel use has become a significant factor in the customer decision making process. The same goes to robustness, the hardier a machine is, the less maintenance it generally requires and this is integral towards cost of ownership.