Operation Excavators

Earth movers need solid steel to tackle tough terra firma. The shovel, the backhoe and the excavator have all made an impact in the applications of digging and construction, but when it comes to urban excavation, the compact excavator still reigns supreme. Defined as an excavator under 6 metric tons (although we’re covering some bigger ones in this article), these diggers typically offer rubber tracked undercarriages with a small footprint and a dig depth between 5 and 20 ft.

Helming the two joystick controls, construction and utility contractors, landscapers and homeowners can make quick work of large tasks with these mighty minis. In addition to an excavator’s many features (enclosed cabs, backfill blades, extendable sticks, retractable undercarriages), a plethora of attachments are readily available to take on tasks beyond digging (hydraulic thumbs, breakers, specialty buckets, augers, grapples, mowers and more).

Today, the mini ex market has produced more than 15 unique manufacturers. To help our readership begin to capture a perspective on this evolving industry, CE presents its annual December Compact Excavator Roundup. On the next 12 pages, you will find specifications, prices, product summaries and advice to buyers for 15 different manufacturers in the compact excavator industry.

Next year is nearly upon us. Now is the time to start planning your big machine operations for 2010.

Pam Stask is assistant editor and Keith Gribbins is managing editor of Compact Equipment, based in Peninsula, Ohio.

Kubota Compact Excavators

Thirteen Dedicated Excavators from the Japanese Machine Manufacturer

Kubota first introduced its compact excavators to the Japanese market in 1974. The product line was brought to the United States in 1978, broadening the list of potential clientele for its machines. Today, Kubota proudly offers two series of excavator models, the K-Series and the U-Series.

The K-Series features eight compact excavator models: K008-3, KX41-3, KX71-3, KX91-3, KX121-3, KX161-3, KX057-4 and the new KX121-3 with 6-in-1 blade. The U-Series is comprised of five compact excavators: U25, U35, U45, U55 and the new U17, all of which feature zero tail swing technology, making them perfect for big jobs in tight working conditions.

Every model in Kubota’s compact excavator line has two travel speeds and all models feature a blade as standard equipment. The KX121-3 with 6-in-1 blade boasts a blade that angles 25 degrees and tilts 10 degrees for increased productivity. The compact excavators also offer: E-TVCS diesel engines; unique hydraulic systems and large-capacity variable displacement pumps; strong bucket breakout forces; two pattern selection systems; and ROPS/FOPS cab and canopy models. Most models include comfort features such as suspension seats, retractable seat belts and ergonomically placed adjustable wrist rests.

Kubota’s powerful and versatile KX121-3 Super Series compact excavator combines smooth operation, reliability, large bucket capacity and long reach with a performance-enhancing, load-sensing hydraulic system and additional efficiency enhancement features. Kubota’s hydraulic float angle blade or the new hydraulic 6-in-1 blade enables leveling and backfilling work to be finished quickly and easily.

The U17 compact excavator is Kubota’s smallest zero tail swing model, delivering maneuverability and performance in even the most confined work spaces. Features include increased hydraulic flow for responsive operation, heightened traction force for tough backfilling operations and rubber tracks for lower ground pressure The U17 is an efficient 3-ft, 3-in. overall width to fit through narrow gates, but offers hydraulic, variable width expandable tracks for stability and balance to finish the job. With a bucket breakout force of more than 3,000 lbs, the 17-hp U17 is both powerful and versatile. RS#71 For more information, go to www.ceunbound.com/info.

Contact Info

Kubota Tractor Corp.

3401 Del Amo Blvd.

Torrance, CA 90503

Ph: (888) 4-KUBOTA, Ext. 900


Bobcat Compact Excavators

Eleven Mini Ex Machines from North Dakota’s King of Compact Equipment


Fifty years ago, a partnership between two inventor-blacksmith brothers and the Melroe Mfg. Co. led to the creation of the first skid steer loader. Since that time, Bobcat Co. has expanded into other machines and is recognized as primarily a provider of compact equipment. Bobcat is the only company that manufactures compact excavators in the United States and introduced their machines to the market in 1986. In 2009, Bobcat introduced a significant design change with the launch of its M-Series line. The M-Series machines focused on improved reliability, enhanced performance and superior comfort.


Bobcat offers 11 excavators — five conventional models (323, 325, 335, 337 and E32), five with minimal or zero tail swing (418, 425, E35, E60 and E80) and one with zero house swing (435). Dig depths range from 6 to 15.33 ft, and long or extendable arms are available on some models. The M-Series models — E32, E35, E60 and E80 — are the newest models from Bobcat. The E60 is a new model to the excavator line, while the E32, E35 and E80 replace existing models: 331, 430 and 442, respectively. The E32 and E35 are in the popular 3- to 4-ton weight class, while the E60 and E80 are in the larger 6- to 8-ton weight class. The new M-Series model numbering system reflects the weight of the machine. For example, the E32 is a 3.2-metric-ton machine.

The M-Series excavators are re-engineered to deliver increased performance in a lighter machine. Two new features on the M-Series excavators are auto-shift travel, which boosts the machine’s productivity by shifting the machine out of high range and back automatically, and the auto-idle feature, which can be enabled at the operator’s discretion and automatically causes the engine to return to idle if the excavator’s functions are not used for four seconds, saving fuel and reducing sound levels.

Some of the other new features on M-Series excavators include an all new hydraulic system that delivers smooth, consistent response to all functions, improved digging performance with a redesigned structure and weight distribution and cab enhancements, including new air vents, ergonomic pedals, adjustable armrests and more storage space. Faster cycle times and more hydraulic horsepower ensure tasks are done quickly, and the Bobcat advanced hydraulic system provides sustained excavator breakout forces. Less time is spent performing daily maintenance because Bobcat provides panoramic serviceability through side and back service gates.

Also of note, Bobcat’s X-Change attachment mounting system, available on some models, increases productivity by quickly changing between attachments. Another option is the Hydraulic X-Change system, which uses hydraulic pins that retract and extend with the push of a button to change attachments. The Bobcat Hydraulic X-Change system maintains optimal “pin-on” bucket geometry, so arm and bucket force are not compromised.

Advice to Buyers

“Evaluate the anticipated tasks and select a machine that has the capabilities to perform those tasks with room for growth,” says Tom Connor, Bobcat excavator product specialist. “It is also important to investigate attachment availability in order to ensure maximum utilization of the machine. Make sure the machine has an easy-to-use attachment mounting system and is designed to accommodate a hydraulic clamp. I recommend purchasing an excavator from a manufacturer that offers attachments and has local dealers who stock them.” RS#72 For more information, go to www.ceunbound.com/info.

Contact Info

Bobcat Co.

P.O. Box 3064

Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-9851

Ph: (866) 823-7898


Caterpillar Compact Excavators

Nine Efficient Excavators from the Earthmoving Expert


Easily one of the world’s most recognizable manufacturing brands, Caterpillar Inc. has been growing and expanding its lines of construction and mining equipment around the globe for more than 75 years, as well as designing and selling a variety of diesel and natural gas engines, gas turbines, electronics, electric power generation systems and even toys and clothing. Today, Caterpillar sits comfortably as one of the United States’ leading global suppliers and exporters of equipment and products.


Caterpillar manufactures nine models of mini hydraulic excavators (MHEX), from the 3,704-lb 301.8C with an expandable undercarriage to the 18,519-lb 308D CR SB.

The 301.8C and 302.5C are popular rental machines, as well as a popular introductory purchase for contractors entering the industry. These models have industry leading power-to-weight ratios and are oftentimes mistakenly overlooked due to their smaller size — the very trait that has allowed growth in that size segment due to its accessibility in space-constrained urban growth.

The biggest change to the Caterpillar MHEX models was the evolution to the compact radius design, allowing the operator to use the machine in tight quarters without fear of the back of the machine coming into contact with structures or objects as the machine rotates. Caterpillar offers CR models including the new 308D CR SB. These CR models feature industry-leading breakout forces and high hydraulic horsepower, which can mainly be attributed to the ultra-efficient, variable-displacement axial piston pump coupled with load-sensing hydraulics.

The C-Series CR machines were the first MHEX’s with 100 percent pilot hydraulic controls with the boom swing and auxiliary hydraulic functions located on the joysticks. These functions have precise, proportional control vs. competitive machines that use foot pedals that take up valuable floor space.

Caterpillar includes several standard features on the C-series CR models that many competitive machines don’t offer or only offer as optional equipment. For example, the C-Series CR models boast standard features such as lifting eyes, thumb ready sticks with relief valves and two-way auxiliary hydraulic lines with quick disconnects, to name a few.

Advice to Buyers

“When in the market for a mini excavator, always try to demo or rent different brands and sizes to make sure the product will meet your current and future needs,” says Rob Jackson, Caterpillar MHEX product specialist. “Be aware of how easy the machine is to service, along with extended maintenance intervals that will keep operating costs to a minimum. Also, remember to look into resale values in the used equipment market to be sure the brand you choose will hold its value for five to six years in the event where you trade in or upgrade to a larger size.” RS#73 For more information, go to www.ceunbound.com/info.

Contact Info

Caterpillar Inc.

100 N.E. Adams St.

Peoria, IL 61629


Volvo Compact Excavators

Ten Eurocentric Diggers Tailored for North American Operations


Compact excavators emerged in the late 1970s. A company in France called Pel-Job was one of the first excavator companies to begin manufacturing these small-scale machines. This company was also one of the first to distribute compact excavators throughout Europe. Volvo purchased Pel-Job in 1998. Since then, Volvo has grown its excavator line to meet Volvo’s standards of quality, safety and environmental care. Over the years, these machines have been Volvo-ized with well-matched components and Volvo engines, as well as adopting a similar feel to larger Volvo excavator models with an emphasis on operator comfort, versatility and productivity.


Volvo currently has 10 models of compact excavators. Nomenclature denotes approximate operating weight in metric tons (EC15 = 1.5 tons). Volvo compact excavators range from 1.5 tons to 8.8 tons. Volvo offers five models of conventional radius machines — EC15B XTV, EC20B XTV, EC27C, EC35C and EC55C. Volvo offers five models of zero tail swing machines — ECR28, ECR38, ECR48, ECR58 and ECR88.

The most popular Volvo compact excavator is the EC35C — with high growth in the rental industry, easy transportability and good performance in a compact package. Volvo’s X-frame undercarriage on compact excavators is similar to that of its general purpose and production equipment (GPPE). With one of the thickest tracks in the industry, this ensures long life and provides protection from harsh conditions.

Safety and maintenance innovations in Volvo compact excavators abound, including: cab and canopy units that have ROPS/FOPS/TOPS safety-certified structures; the machine’s hydraulic and drive functions, which are disabled by raising the left control console when entering or leaving the cab to prevent accidental movement; filters, fills and service points are all easily accessed from ground level; and retractable safety belts and reverse alarms are standard on all models, which continually reinforces one of Volvo’s core values — safety.

Other zero tail swing compact excavator manufacturers position the engines in the back behind the cab, which compromises cab space and operator comfort. Volvo’s zero tail swing machines have side-mounted engines so cab space is not reduced and operator comfort is not compromised.

Advice to Buyers

“Hydraulic attachments — a lot of people don’t know just how many attachments you can put on a compact excavator,” explains Chris Price, product marketing and communications specialist with Volvo Construction Equipment North America. “It is always smart to have the machine attachment-ready in order to increase the versatility of the excavator and your business. And think about how you are going to transport the excavator. Depending on the size of the machine, a customer could haul it with their work truck, but the larger the machine, special permits come into play.” RS#74 For more information, go to www.ceunbound.com/info.

Contact Info

Volvo Construction Equipment North America Inc.

One Volvo Dr.

Asheville, NC 28803

Ph: (828) 650-2437

Fax: (828) 650-2531


Komatsu Compact Excavators

Seven Compact and Concise Diggers from Japan’s Earth Moving Giant


Komatsu Ltd. was first established in 1921, manufacturing mining equipment in Komatsu City, Japan. Komatsu America Corp. (KAC) began operations in 1970, and in the late 1980s, Komatsu introduced its first compact excavators to the United States construction market. Komatsu is now marketing its fifth generation of compact hydraulic excavators in the United States. Komatsu compact hydraulic excavators from the PC18MR-3 to the PC55MR-3 are minimum swing radius by design, allowing them to work in tight spaces, such as urban areas, streets and homes.


Komatsu is marketing six compact hydraulic excavators and one mid-size hydraulic excavator in North America. The smallest Komatsu compact hydraulic excavator, the PC09-1 weighs 1,985 lbs and has an expandable undercarriage (2 ft, 4 in. to 2 ft, 10 in.). One unique feature on the PC09-1 is the available integrated breaker arm. The integrated breaker arm allows the operator to leave the bucket on the arm when it is not in use. The moil point that is stored on the boom can then be mounted to the arm and the operator now has the benefit of a 75 ft-lbs breaker.

The PC18MR-3 will expand from 3 ft, 3 in. to 4 ft, 3 in. and both the PC09-1 and PC18MR-3 have retractable end bits on the dozer blade to match the blade width to the undercarriage. The PC18MR-3, PC27MR-3, PC35MR-3, PC45MR-3 and PC55MR-3 share the same design concepts and features, including: KOMTRAX; standard attachment mounting bracket (27-55) and auxiliary hydraulics; certified two-post ROPS structure; spacious operator station; pilot proportional controls; automatic load sensing two-speed travel; pattern change valve; manual selector valve for one- and two-way hydraulics; castings used in high stress areas; high strength X-track frame design (except PC18MR-3); three track options (PC27-PC55) — rubber, road liner and steel; extended service intervals; and a tilt forward operator platform.

Unique to Komatsu is KOMTRAX, a wireless machine monitoring system. This system is unique in that it is standard equipment on the Komatsu compact hydraulic excavators from the PC18MR-3 to the mid-size PC88MR-8, and it includes a five-year monitoring package at no additional cost. KOMTRAX allows the owner, or key person, to manage a single machine or a fleet of machines remotely.

Advice to Buyers

“The versatility of the compact hydraulic excavator is making them the machine of choice for contractors performing many different types of work,” says David Caldwell, product manager at Komatsu. “The customer should purchase as large a machine as possible and give careful consideration to budget, application and transportation.” RS#75 For more information, go to www.ceunbound.com/info.

Contact Info

Komatsu of America

6416 SC Hwy. 219

Newberry, SC 29108

Ph: (803) 405-6533

Fax: (803) 405-6539


Gehl Compact Excavators

Nine Tough Diggers from the Midwest Machine Maker


Being one of the leading non-tractor manufacturers of agricultural equipment in North America, Gehl Co. has been producing compact equipment for both Ag, construction and landscape applications for nearly 150 years. In 1986, Gehl moved into the light construction equipment market with lifting and paving equipment. Gehl introduced its first line of excavators in 1987, which has evolved through three generations of compact construction equipment.


The main compact excavator line today is the company’s 2.5- to 3.5-ton lineup, which is made up of the Gehl 283Z, 353, 373 and 383Z. The newest model 283Z is a 2.8-metric-ton unit that offers a compact zero tail swing design.

Gehl’s most popular model is the 353. This model is an overachiever in the 3-metric-ton class, with an oversized engine, advanced hydraulics and consistent power across the entire range of motion. These three things, in conjunction with the smooth controls, reliability and serviceability make the 353 a tough excavator to beat.

The 373 is essentially the same unit as the 353 model, but with the added industry-exclusive house leveling feature. This technology allows the upper structure of the unit to be tilted up to 15 degrees to allow the unit to dig a vertical trench on slopes for more productivity and operator comfort. The 383Z is a 3.6-metric-ton unit that offers a compact zero tail swing design similar to the larger 503Z model.

Gehl also markets its 153 unit that has an expandable undercarriage from 3 ft, 3 in. to 4 ft, 3 in. This model is a performance leader in the 1.5-metric-ton class and can often outperform larger units. Gehl’s 503Z and 753Z add two more performance-driven zero tail swing models, and the 603 and 803 models add two class-leading short tail swing models to round out the lineup.

All Gehl units utilize a combination of variable displacement pumps and gear pumps for maximum hydraulic efficiency and all units have two-speed transmissions. The 153, 283Z, 303, 353 and 373 have selectable high- or low-speed switches to change from low to high speed. Other available options include long dipper arms, counterweights, steel tracks, roof-mounted work lights, rearview mirrors, proportional auxiliary hydraulic controls, 3-in. seat belts, travel motion alarms, radios and a wide range of attachments. Gehl units utilize Yanmar diesel engines (three- and four-cylinder diesels that are Tier III certified).

The 383Z units have the Auto2Speed drive motors. The units have a low-speed and high-speed setting, but the drive motors automatically sense the load on the machine and select high or low speed, depending on the application. This means that if an operator is pushing a pile of dirt with the dozer blade with the unit set in high speed, the drive motors will sense the load and automatically downshift into low speed while pushing.

All of the company’s units have an auxiliary balance control that allows the excavator to travel in a straight line during operation of other hydraulic functions. Triple circuit control also allows for multiple functions to be performed simultaneously. Cushioned boom, dipper arm and boom swing cylinders smooth out the arm movement for the operator and also puts less shock and stress into the hydraulic system.

Advice and Insights

“Purchase a unit with the eye on the future and your current tasks. In most cases, excavators are very similar and it is the performance, design and comfort that separate the brands,” explains Brian Rabe, product manager with Gehl excavators. “The economy has had an enormous impact on excavator sales, but excavators have proven to be a growing market in previous years and we see this trend continuing when the economy starts to recover.” RS#76 For more information, go to www.ceunbound.com/info.

Contact Info

Gehl Co.

One Gehl Way

West Bend, WI 53095

Ph: (262) 334-9461

Fax: (262) 338-7517


Terex Compact Excavators

Ten Compact Machines Designed for Maximum Productivity


Over five generations, Terex’s compact excavator line has evolved. It was first developed and made by Hanix and distributed by Schaeff in Germany, until Terex purchased Schaeff in January 2002. Today, Terex offers 10 compact excavator models — TC16, TC20, TC29, TC35/TC35E, TC37, TC48, TC50, TC60, TC75 and TC125 — ranging from 18 to 94 hp. Currently, five Terex models have zero tail swing (TC37, TC50, TC60, TC75 and TC125). The TC16 and TC20 have expandable undercarriages that expand from 39 to 53 in. (a difference of 14 in.). All Terex models have two travel speeds — however, on the TC16, it’s an optional feature.


Terex compact excavators are designed with axial piston, variable displacement hydraulic pumps and motors to provide load-sensing and load independent flow division (LUDV) hydraulics for smooth simultaneous operation. With the LUDV design, oil flow is distributed to cylinders independent of the load. The main advantage of this system is that the compact excavator can be performing multiple actions at one time, without sacrificing flow — making for smooth, efficient operation.

Terex compact excavators are designed with productivity in mind. The company’s engineers have focused on creating an excavator that has a high power-to-weight ratio — increasing the capabilities of a smaller-size machine. Terex compact excavators excel in tough work environments such as construction applications, where machines with powerful, deep digging capabilities and heavy craning ability are needed in confined areas.

The linkage on the Terex machines is more flush with the tracks (unlike some competitors), better protecting these vital parts — leading to more uptime, reduced operating costs and an improved bottom line. The excavators’ top-mounted boom cylinders and spherical bearings perform well in demolition and landscaping applications where a machine needs to move heavy material, without damaging hydraulic cylinders and experiencing downtime. The use of spherical bearings ensures the energy from moving the boom is not transferred to the cylinder, resulting in a strain-free cylinder run.

In addition, the cushioned cylinders are end-position dampened to extend service life while minimizing inertia forces and reducing cylinder shock. The machines feature articulating boom cylinders that offer exceptional protection and permit operation while being located against objects.

Advice to Buyers

“Productivity features are important in building a case for investment to meet onsite productivity requirements and project time constraints,” says Rick Harris, senior product manager for Terex Construction. “Return on investment will be considered in the context of the hours the machine is working and revenue generated, so whether a customer bites the bullet during tough economic times ultimately depends on the financial situation of the company and the anticipated level of current and future work.” RS#77 For more information, go to www.ceunbound.com/info.

Contact Info


8800 Rostin Rd.

Southaven, MS 38671

Ph: (662) 393-1800

Fax: (662) 393-1700


Yanmar Compact Excavators

Yanmar Construction Equipment Offers Operators 10 Versatile Units


Yanmar was the first company to develop and market a compact excavator back in 1969. Fast forward 40 years, and compact excavators still remain a popular machine for big digging performance in confined areas. Currently, Yanmar offers 10 different models of compact excavators ranging in operating weights from 2,340 to 20,950 lbs. Its ViO models are all zero tail swing and its SV models have minimum counterweight overhang of the tracks during house swing.


The SV08 unit features a narrow design with a width of 2 ft, 3 in. that allows the operator to drive through a standard door. The tracks then can widen to 2 ft, 9 in. for increased stability during operation. The ViO17 is Yanmar’s smallest zero tail swing model at 3,836 lbs, with a digging depth of 7 ft, 7 in. This unit has become an excellent rental option and also has a variable width undercarriage that will narrow to 3 ft, 1 in. for transport and widen to 4 ft, 11 in. during operation.

The Vi027, Vi035, Vi045 and Vi055 all come with a standard ROPS canopy, but a cab is an available option. Other options for Yanmar excavators are various bucket sizes and the choice between rubber or steel tracks. Safety is first with Yanmar — its excavators offer several safety features such as Codura covered hoses, a recessed hose design, recessed work light, rollover protection and larger entry/exit areas. Maintenance can be done in a snap, with easy engine access and one-side engine servicing perfect for daily engine checks.

Yanmar was the first compact excavator manufacturer to design a progressive, multiple variable displacement piston pump hydraulic system called VIPPS to increase productivity while allowing the use of lower horsepower engines. VIPPS is available on eight of the company’s excavators — the ViO20, ViO27, ViO35, ViO45, ViO55, ViO75, B7? and SV100. Yanmar is also the only compact excavator manufacturer to offer a hydraulic quick coupler — which allows for quick attachment changes — as standard equipment, as well as spring steel cylinder guards on the bucket, arm and boom cylinders.

In 1933, Yanmar created the world’s first practical small diesel engine. Today, Yanmar is a leading compact diesel engine manufacturer. All the Yanmar compact excavators are powered by the company’s diesel engines. Today’s TNV liquid-cooled engines are Tier 4 Interim and Clean and Silent technologies provide quiet operation for those sensitive jobsites such as residential areas. Additionally, Yanmar also manufactures its own fuel injected equipment, which fully integrates with the engine for maximum performance. The company also brags about its VICTAS Offset Track System, which increases the excavator footprint without increasing its track width for added side-to-side stability.

Advice to Buyers

“In a mature industry like compact excavators, customers often assume that all manufacturers’ base products are relatively equal, so they concentrate their buying research on eye-catching amenities such as LCD readouts or high horsepower,” says Bill Gearhart, marketing and product manager for Yanmar Construction Equipment. “The hydraulic system is the heart of a compact excavator, because all of its work is done hydraulically. Be sure to do in-depth research into the hydraulic system and the return on investment that it will provide. I would recommend a demonstration or rental in your normal jobsite conditions to see if a particular machine will do what you expect.” RS#78 For more information, go to www.ceunbound.com/info.

Contact Info

Yanmar Construction Equipment Div.

101 International Pkwy.

Adairsville, GA 30103

Ph: (770) 877-7570

Fax: (770) 877-7572


IHI Compact Excavators

More Than a Dozen Diggers for Various Jobsite Needs


Established in 1853, IHI has been manufacturing construction equipment since the 1950s and mini excavators since the early 1970s. In 1994, Compact Excavator Sales began distributing the IHI line and the J Series was introduced to the American residential and construction contractor. Today, IHI/CES offers 13 conventional and zero tail mini excavators — 28N-2, 35N-3, 55N-3, 9VX, 9VX-E, 15VX, 25VX, 30VX, 35VX, 40VXL, 55VX, 65VX and 80VX.


The 9VX, 9VX-E, 15VX and the 35VX all come standard with an expandable track frame. All IHI models come standard with two-speed travel and A-F quick-change pattern control valve. Units with an operating weight over 3,000 lbs boast auxiliary hydraulic piping to the end of the dipper stick, short lever hydraulic pilot joystick controls and variable displacement piston pumps. Variable displacement piston pumps — which are featured on all units, except the 9VX and 9VX-E — allow the operator to perform multiple actions simultaneously without losing flow to any function. Optional features include heated cabs with interior lights, AM-FM CD player, windshield wiper, A/C and steel tracks. The IHI undercarriage has an angled crawler track frame, which prevents dirt buildup and increases the life of the sprockets, idlers and tracks. All VX and N-3 excavators are EC Stage IIIA and EPA Tier 4 or interim Tier 4 compliant, offering operators an eco-friendly machine.

IHI’s mini excavator line offers outstanding performance, safety and comfort, as well as the latest technology to meet jobsite needs. Now on its third generation of electric excavators, the 9VX-E can expand its tracks from 27.5 in. to 37.5 in. for added stability. However, it can withdraw its tracks and fit through a standard size door, making this the ideal unit for indoor use. With a 5-hp electric motor, the 9VX-E produces no fumes, very little noise and is capable of utilizing attachments such as a hydraulic hammer. The 35VX comes optional with an extendable dipper stick, increasing the arm length another 39 in.

Maintaining the IHI mini excavator has always been straightforward and uncomplicated. With extended maintenance intervals, accessible grease ports, segmented boom cylinder hoses and heavy-duty bushing and pins, downtime is kept to a minimum.

Advice to Buyers

“There are many factors that need to be considered when purchasing a new or used mini excavator,” says Kendall S. Aldridge, national sales manager for IHI. “The contractor should consider typical job conditions, digging depths, working environment and operating weight of the unit desired. The decision between a conventional style unit and a zero tail swing unit could be the most important money-saving decision a contractor makes. Ease of maintenance, ease of operation and operator comfort should be deciding factors in the process as well.” RS#79 For more information, go to www.ceunbound.com/info.

Contact Info

IHI/Compact Excavator Sales LLC

P.O. BOX 667 (400 Production Ct.)

Elizabethtown, KY 42702-0667 (42701)

Ph: (800) 538-1448

Fax: (270) 737-0419


Wacker Neuson Compact Excavators

Seven Mighty Machines for Maximum Digging Performance


Wacker Neuson Corp. introduced compact excavators to the U.S. market in January 2008. This is a new offering for the company as a result of a merger between Wacker Construction Equipment AG (Munich, Germany) and Neuson Kramer Baumaschinen AG (Linz, Austria). The new product offering for Wacker Neuson Corp. fits to the company’s strategy to offer compact and light construction equipment for all phases of the construction process.

Wacker Neuson offers seven models of compact excavators: the 1404, 28z3, 3503, 38Z3, 50Z3, 6003 and 8003. The 1404 is a mini excavator that delivers big performance in tight spaces. The 1404 is a 1.4-ton machine with a maximum digging depth of 7 ft, 4in., featuring a comfortable work platform with great visibility and a canopy compliant with FOPS, TOPS and ROPS regulations. Two models are available with a choice of standard or long dipper sticks. Other features include a telescopic undercarriage, rubber tracks, dozer blade, boom-mounted working light and a control pattern selection system.

The 28Z3 excavator was introduced to the market in January 2009 and features a zero tail swing design — providing excellent visibility and performance in confined working areas. The unit is lightweight and compact enough to be hauled with a standard size pickup trailer. Powered by a Yanmar 3-cylinder, 20.4-hp engine and maximum digging depth of 9 ft, the 28Z3 is the perfect machine for top performance and economical operation. Offered with either a cab or canopy work station, the ergonomically designed operating environment is spacious and provides many creature comforts that allow the operator to remain on the job longer, increasing productivity.

The new minimum swing radius 6003 track excavator is one of the strongest machines in its weight class. This 6-ton excavator comes standard with an air-conditioned cab, rubber tracks, dozer blade, boom-mounted working light and a control pattern selector valve. The new 6003 excavator also offers two driving speeds for flexibility and versatility on the jobsite, and the minimal tail projection over the tracks allows the unit to operate in tight spaces.

What’s Unique and Interesting?

All of Wacker Neuson’s excavators are designed with durability in mind. The equipment lineup boasts several standard features that are ideal for heavy-duty applications, including a torsion-resistant X-shaped chassis frame and steel castings. Thoughtfully designed bearings, pins and bushings mean the machines can withstand tough conditions, lowering maintenance cost and offering higher resale value.

Advice and Insights

“Make sure the excavator is sized right for your needs and meets the requirements of the work it will be performing,” Jay Baudhuin, compact equipment product manager for Wacker Neuson. “Compact excavator users have many choices on the market, so looking for ergonomic operator’s platform, ease of operation and serviceability are three factors that vary between manufacturers. Also, buyers will want to look at the support they will receive from the manufacturer and dealer after the sale of the machine.”

Contact Info

Wacker Neuson Corp.

N92 W15000 Anthony Ave.

Menomonee Falls, WI 53051


Case Compact Excavators

Five Fuel-Efficient Models for Big Jobs, Tight Budgets and Small Jobsites


Case introduced its compact excavators in 2003 and currently offers the CX B Series, the second generation of these powerful yet compact machines. Since the beginning, Case has focused on fuel efficiency and ease of service while delivering the comfort, power and performance needed by compact equipment users. Case originally introduced its compact excavator line to supplement its full-sized excavators. These smaller machines meet customer demands for working in tight spaces, especially close to walls. Case CX B Series compact excavators are as easy to trailer as a skid steer loader, yet have big excavator features.


The Case CX B Series compact excavator line includes five machines that offer zero tail swing and a center-swing boom for maximum productivity even in the tightest working spaces. The Case CX27B, CX31B, CX36B and CX50B are equipped with the latest Tier 4-certified Yanmar engines that deliver high performance combined with excellent fuel efficiency. The CX17B comes equipped with a Tier 4-certified Mitsubishi engine that’s ideal for fuel-efficient, economical operation in an entry-level machine. With the Tier 4 upgrades, the current models feature more hydraulic flow than before, increased hydraulic horsepower and greater arm digging force. These improvements deliver significantly faster cycle times to move more material per hour and complete work quicker.

All models possess large-excavator features, such as an undercarriage with heavy-duty travel motors for excellent speed and traction, and heavy plate guards that prevent damage to the hydraulic motor piping. The hydraulically controlled backfill blade gives stability for light dozing work. Case compact excavators come standard with a control-pattern-selector valve, rubber tracks, pilot-operated hand controls and one-touch engine deceleration that give them operating smoothness and precision.

For ease of maintenance, Case compact excavator models have swing-out access panels and ground line fuel, coolant and hydraulic fluid fills. The fuel cap and all access panels are lockable for added protection. The engine access door makes it easy to get at the air filter, oil level check and fill, coolant overflow and the fuel filter. A one-piece, swing-out side access panel opens onto the cooling components, valves and the operator control pattern change valve.

The three-post ROPS design on the Case CX B Series models makes it easy to get in and out of the excavators safely, providing a 40-percent-wider entry area than on previous models. On cab models, the front glass is six-percent wider for improved sight lines. Operator controls include a 100-percent swing brake to hold the upper structure when the engine is off. A safety gate on the left side of the operator must be lowered to activate the hydraulic pilot controls. The most popular model is the CX36B, a machine sized right for nearly all applications.

Contact Info

Case Construction Equipment, Inc.

700 State St.

Racine, WI 53404 USA

Ph: 866-54CASE6 (866) 542-2736


JCB Compact Excavators

Ten Small Diggers from the British Bigwig of Construction Equipment

In 1987, JCB entered the compact excavator business with the introduction of its 801 compact excavator. In the years to follow, the company expanded its range to include JCB’s current North American compact excavator product line, which is comprised of the 8008, 8018, 8025Z, 8030Z, 8035Z, 8040Z, 8045Z, 8055, 8065 and 8080 models. Today’s compact excavator range boasts many value-added features not included in the original lineup of JCB excavators such as dual pattern controls (ISO/SAE), variable displacement pumps, reduced and zero tail swing and enhanced pressures and flows for improved breakout forces and digging performance.

These heavy-duty machines feature some of the highest horsepower ratings in the industry, with high-bucket and arm-crowd forces and low-ground bearing pressures. JCB excavators also feature fuel-efficient engines with effective hydraulics that present the operator with smooth and easy operation. For more information on JCB’s product line, visit www.ceunbound.com/info. RS#82

John Deere Compact Excavators

Five Machines that Provide Supreme Digging Power in Small Spots


John Deere first introduced its compact excavators to the construction market in 1999. Since then, Deere has established its product line, stocking it with five compact excavators — the John Deere 17D, 27D, 35D, 50D and 60D.

All of John Deere’s compact excavators have either zero or reduced tail swing, because worrying about the back end of the equipment is a real drain on productivity. Less tail swing results in reduced damage to the machine, less damage to property and more productivity, as the operator can concentrate on what’s in front of the cab instead of what’s behind it. The 27D, 35D and 50D all feature zero tail swing. The 17D and 60D have a reduced tail swing. All are available with numerous Worksite Pro Attachments.

The newest and smallest member of the line, the 17D, fits in places where shovels were once the only option. Its minimum width of only 3 ft, 3 in. and a height just under eight feet, allows the 17D to fit through narrow openings and work in tight quarters. It has an expandable undercarriage that allows it to adjust to a width of 50 in. for stability when operating.

What’s Unique and Interesting?

The 27D, 35D, 50D all feature auto downshift. When the excavator encounters resistance during travel, it will automatically downshift to a slower speed with a higher traction force until it gets through the rough spot, then shift back up for faster transport speed. All of the compact excavators come standard with a mechanical quick coupling, so the operator can easily and quickly change out attachments such as buckets, hammers and augers.

The compact excavators also keep serviceability in mind. Each model features extended-hour oil change intervals, greasing intervals and hydraulic oil change intervals to keep the excavator on the jobsite longer and allows them to be more productive.

Advice and Insights

“When you are in the market for a compact excavator, work with your dealer to get the right configuration for the jobs you’ll be doing,” says Mark Wall, John Deere product marketing manager. “Considerations include using steel tracks, longer arms for deeper digging and heavier counterweights. Then be sure to demo the machine. Test it out on your jobsite be sure that it will fit your needs.”

Contact Info

John Deere

P.O. Box 8806

1515 5th Ave.

Moline, IL 61265

Ph: (309) 765-0227 Fax: (309) 765-1859


Kobelco Compact Excavators

A Quartet of High Production Mini Diggers from CNH Global


Kobelco today offers the ACERA lineup of Tier IV certified compact excavators, including the 17SR, 27SR, 35SR and 50SR. Kobelco ACERA compact excavators deliver substantial fuel savings, along with the range of power customers demand for residential construction, underground pipe/electrical work, landscaping, demolition and commercial construction. Heavy duty by design, Kobelco compact excavators include robust features found on full-sized Kobelco excavators, including Long X-frames for excellent stability and support, thick gauge steel booms and arms for superior strength, high-quality boom swing castings for longevity and durability and sealed rollers, sprockets and travel motors to extend track life.

Fully enclosed cab systems with heater and air conditioning are available for the 27SR, 35SR and 50SR. Air conditioning is standard on the 35SR and 50SR models when ordered with the cab. These cabs offer protection from the elements and excellent visibility. All models come standard with a three-post ROPS/FOPS with extra-wide entry and exit to the operator’s station. Kobelco compact excavators also offer reliable, fine-tuned engine and hydraulic performance, resulting in up to a 10-percent increase in fuel economy. All four models perform with leading bucket breakout force, excellent dig depth and maximum swing torque.

Kobelco compact excavators enhance the operater’s experience and performance with a Decel Switch to reduce engine rpms, resulting in real fuel savings. This feature is extremely valuable during periods of excavator inactivity. Auxiliary hydraulics are standard on all Kobelco compact excavator models, making them ready for specialized attachment applications. Two-speed travel makes changing speeds as easy as pushing a button on the right travel lever. The three-pump “Smart System” allows for simultaneous operation of the swing and boom/arm functions while operating the dozer blade, without affecting travel speed or direction. This configuration provides proportional control for smooth, progressive movement of the operating controls, improved separation of flow for simultaneous boom/arm/bucket operation while traveling and focused hydraulic flow for maximum breakout power.

A four-way blade option is available on the 35SR and 50SR. Built with the same durability as the standard blade, this four-way option provides 23 to 25 degrees of left- and right-angle movement for clearing, grading and backfilling. The four-way blade gives you better control for following changing terrain and helps eliminate the windrowing effect that can occur with standard dozer blades.

Advice to Buyers

“Productivity is the essential requirement of a compact excavator, so it’s important to make sure you purchase a machine that delivers on its productivity promise. This means selecting a machine with the horsepower and digging force necessary for the work you do on a day-in, day-out basis,” says Reese Norwood, platform manager with Kobelco.

Contact Info

Kobelco Construction Machinery America LLC

621 State St.

Racine, Wis. 53402

Ph: (888) KOB-LC01 (888-562-5201)


Takeuchi Compact Excavators

Ten Solid Mini Excavators from the Japanese Pioneer of Construction Equipment

Takeuchi was founded in Japan in 1963 and developed its first compact excavator by 1970. Today, Takeuchi is marketing its sixth generation of compact excavators with three next-gen models introduced in 2008 in North America, five of the TB Series conventional excavators ranging in operating weight from 2,033 to 10,650 lbs (the TB016, TB108, TB228, TB235 and TB250). The company also markets two models of the TB/FR Series zero tail swing excavators with operating weights from 8,316 to 12,450 lbs (the TB138FR and TB153FR).

The TB135 has been the company’s most popular unit, being replaced by the next generation model TB235. It fits right in the middle of the 6,000- to 8,000-lb weight class, which is 35 to 40 percent of the market, say Takeuchi officials. Dig depth and operating weight are the keys, allowing customers to dig at a good depth, maintain reach and then pull the unit on a trailer for easy transport to the next jobsite.

Takeuchi supports two units with an expandable undercarriage — the TB108 and the TB016. The TB108 expands from 29 to 36 in. and the TB016 expands from 39 to 51 in. For more information on Takeuchi’s product line, visit www.ceunbound.com/info. RS#85

New Holland Compact Excavators

Four Ergonomic and Efficent Machines for the North American Market


New Holland has been in business for more than 100 years. In 1999, the company launched its construction equipment brand at the CONEXPO trade show with 53 new machines for the North American market, which included compact excavators. Today, as a successful, growing global company, New Holland designs and manufactures a wide range of construction equipment for worldwide markets and sources its mini excavator line from its Kobelco sister company.


New Holland offers four compact excavators, including the E18B, E27B, E35B and E50B. These comfortable machines meet Tier IV emissions standards, while delivering substantial fuel savings. New Holland compact excavators deliver the range of power owners expect, whether the task is landscaping, residential or commercial construction. New Holland compact excavators set a new standard for personalized comfort with individualized settings. Ergonomically placed controls and gauges are easy to read and reach. Features of the operator’s station include a hydraulic lockout lever outboard of the joystick, hand and foot travel controls, co-located gauges and controls and dual arm rests.

A robust hydraulically controlled dozer blade adds extra versatility for site-prep, back-filling and general grading. An optional four-way angle blade is available on the E35B and E50B for even more versatility. New Holland has focused on meeting the needs of operators for powerful, high-performance machines sized right for the job, including fitting into tight spaces and along walls. Owners can choose either a three-post canopy or fully enclosed cab. The three-post ROPS/FOPS with canopy provides extra-wide entry and exit from the operator’s station.

New Holland carefully studied operator ergonomics and designed the operator’s station with a large entry area, cushioned seat, anti-vibration engine mounts and conveniently located operating controls. The result is improved comfort and extreme ease of operation. New Holland has added a number of features that enhance the operating experience and performance of its compact excavators. A deceleration switch reduces engine rpms, resulting in real fuel savings. This feature is extremely valuable during periods of excavator inactivity. Auxiliary hydraulics come standard on New Holland compact excavator models, making them ready for specialized attachment applications. Two-speed travel is available with the push of a button on the right travel lever. A three-pump “Smart System” allows for simultaneous operation of the swing and boom/arm functions while operating the dozer blade, without affecting travel speed or direction.

Advice to Buyers

“Equipment buyers should rate the machines they are considering for purchase on comfort as well as performance. It’s especially important that the machine efficiently meet the needs of the job while keeping the operator fresh throughout the shift,” says Troy Hitchcock, product specialist with New Holland Construction.

Contact Info

New Holland Construction

621 State St.

Racine, WI 53402


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