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Factors to consider when choosing the right excavator for utility work

Nathan Medcalf
Factors to consider when choosing the right excavator for utility work
NATHAN MEDCALF — A Hitachi ZX245USLC-6 lays pipe at a newly built neighbourhood in Waterdown, Ont.

When Capital Paving needed an excavator for utility work located near passing traffic in Waterdown, Ont., they chose the Hitachi ZX245USLC-6, the company’s largest reduced tail swing excavator.

“There are several factors a contractor should consider when purchasing an excavator for utility work,” says David Young, product marketing manager, excavators with Hitachi Construction Machinery – Americas. “One of the most important things to consider is whether the desired machine will perform the job that needs to be done. Models needs to be sized correctly for the application where it is intended to work.

“All excavators have multiple arm lengths available. Longer arms should be considered where deeper dig depths are required or the spoil pile location is further from the trench. Bucket sizing is also important in machine consideration. Larger buckets do not always lead to increased productivity, because larger buckets take longer to load and could slow the excavator cycle times. Larger buckets are also heavier and reduce lift capacities.”

Derek Goddard, manager of sewer and water infrastructure at Capital Paving, says the company chose “the 245 for its zero clearance; we have a couple of projects where it’s proved to be valuable with respect to traffic restrictions, specifically on Highway 5 and on Parkside Drive, both in Waterdown.”

Several hundred new residences are being built in that area of suburban Hamilton right now.

“With a tight tail-swing radius, the ZX245USLC-6 is perfect for contractors working in and around obstacles,” says Young.

These applications are the same applications being performed by Capital Paving’s Hitachi ZX245USLC-6.

Capital Paving is renting the machine from Tri-City Equipment, based out of Waterloo, Ont. Tri-City Equipment purchased the machine from Wajax Equipment, Hitachi’s dealer for all of Canada.

Some of the features that contribute to the Hitachi ZX245USLC-6’s reliability are its thick-plate single-sheet mainframe, box-section track frames and industry-exclusive double-seal swing bearing. Reinforced D-channel side frames provide maximum cab and component impact protection and tungsten-carbide-coated surfaces protect the critical bucket-to-arm joint. As well, with large idlers, rollers and strutted track links, the sealed and lubricated undercarriage is built for long hauls.

The Hitachi ZX245USLC-6 features an Isuzu EPA Final Tier 4 (FT4)/EU Stage IV 119-kW (159-hp) engine with common-rail fuel injection system. Fuel pressure, timing and volume are precisely regulated by electronic control for efficient combustion. The pressurized fuel system improves fuel injector operation, and the fuel recirculation system helps prevent fuel gelling in cold climates. Auto-idle reduces engine speed when hydraulics aren’t in use and auto-shutdown also contribute to fuel efficiency.

“The Dash-6 model is equipped with a powerful engine that features integrated, effective engine technologies and does not require a diesel particulate filter,” says Young.

“Plus, the machine’s three-pump system features one pump that is dedicated strictly to swing, which increases productivity,” says Richard Perzan of Wajax Equipment. “Adding to greater productivity is the machine’s complete machine integration of auxiliary hydraulics with proportional control installed at the factory.

“In addition to the emissions update, we’ve added a few features our customers have been asking for like a standard rearview camera, standard factory-installed auxiliary hydraulics with programmable attachment modes, and upperstructure handrails.”

“Our operators indicated the sightlines were great, specifically with respect to the blind spots,” says Goddard. “They also stated they were very impressed with the speed with which the machine is able to operate and that machine operation is incredibly smooth.”

The ZX245USLC-6 comes standard equipped with five years of ZXLink Ultimate, giving an owner or operator 24/7 online access to machine location, health, utilization, fuel consumption and other valuable information, so they can better understand costs and jobsite performance.

Headquartered in Puslinch, Ont., Capital Paving has an asphalt plant and aggregate pit in Puslinch and two more pits in Cambridge, Ont.

Since 2010 Capital has been ranked among “Canada’s Best Managed Companies” for seven years running, achieving Platinum member status, and have been awarded the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s Paver of the Year Award three times (2000, 2006, 2008).

Capital has recently expanded its team and entered into the sewer and watermain sector, where it plans to service clients from start to finish on any core infrastructure project. The company has more than 200 full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees.

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