Six Mini Excavator Tips from Top Product Managers

Takeuchi TB20e

Mini excavators are one of the most popular categories of compact construction equipment in the United States. We recently published a 6,000-word overview on mini and compact excavators, which you can enjoy right over here. In researching and compiling this extensive story on mini diggers, we generated additional material, including the advice paragraphs below. Expert product managers provided us with loads of crucial advice for businesses looking to invest in and maintain mini excavators. Below are six tips that offer insights into not just buying the right equipment, but also optimizing its operation to maximize efficiency and reduce costs. This guidance is especially vital in a market where making the most of every asset can be the difference between profit and loss. Let’s start with…

Evaluate the Soil Types

JCB 35Z-1

Match the size of the machine to the job. That typically means dig depth, dump height and bucket size. You don’t want to eat the elephant one spoonful at a time. Evaluate the soil types. Rocky or heavy clay soils may require a machine with a stronger bucket breakout force. — Lee Tice, product manager, JCB

Electric vs. Diesel Power

People compare the acquisition cost between an electric mini excavator vs. a similar diesel engine powered machine, where they should be comparing the total cost of running an indoor or noise-sensitive operation vs. a diesel unit with limited workhours and limited applications. — Diego Butzke, product manager, excavators, Case Construction Equipment

Hydraulic Flexibility

Having easily adjustable auxiliary hydraulics means a machine can be used in more ways, which is one of the top reasons people like mini excavators in the first place, versatility. Look for a minimum of single-acting and double-acting hydraulics to support a variety of attachments. — Darren Ashton, product manager, compact equipment, Volvo Construction Equipment

Telematics and Data Management

Hitachi’s ZX50U-5N

Telematics systems can remotely monitor operational status and can alert owners to upcoming maintenance and repair needs through fault codes. The hour meter and machine position information captured allows for better fleet management. — Kei Matsumoto, product manager, compact excavators, Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas

Dealer Support

John Deere’s 17P excavator

Customer support is the top priority for anyone looking to buy or rent a compact excavator. For those looking to purchase their machines, we encourage contractors to lean on their dealer to help support all services, including purchasing, maintaining and financing equipment. — Justin Steger, product marketing manager, excavators, John Deere

Rearview Camera

Takeuchi TB370 excavator

Operators working in congested areas or busy worksites where there may be more foot or vehicular traffic should consider a rearview camera, especially on larger excavators where it would be more difficult to see around the rear of the machine. — David Caldwell, national product manager, Takeuchi-US

Keith Gribbins is publisher of Compact Equipment.

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