Bobcat’s latest series of mini excavators are designed to increase productivity in tight working environments.
They are ideal for working in spaces where you need the power or productivity of a larger machine, but larger machines won’t fit, says Matt DeWitt, vice-president/general manager with Bobcat of Toronto.
“Customers are demanding mini excavators more every year,” he says. “We’ve had very good reception with the R Series, especially in terms of the machine’s controllability and its cab. It’s been a very good rollout, and we have sold a lot of mini excavators this year, with strong demand for the R Series in 2018.”
This year mini excavator sales will outperform skid steer loader sales. With dozens of attachment options, hydraulic flow and 360-degree swing capability, mini excavators are replacing skid steer loaders, as well as larger excavators and manual labour, on construction sites, he says. Bobcat’s three-tonne mini excavators can fit through backyard gates for residential construction and landscaping.
“Bobcat has one of the only extendable sticks for five-tonne machines, which increases the reach of that machine to match that of an eight-tonne machine. This is important because, as backhoe loaders disappear from construction sites, up to 50 per cent of compact equipment on a construction site will be mini excavators,” says DeWitt. “We demo’ed to local contractors the Bobcat E55 equipped with the extendahoe and got a really good response. That machine and attachment are really popular on urban jobsites.”
One of the greatest changes to the latest line is an improvement to overall machine stability, which is achieved by changes to the machine’s tracks and an increase in blade downward angle. These changes result in an increase in over-the-side capacity by up to 15 per cent, claims Bobcat.
“Dual flanges in the tracks improve over the side tipping capacity by pushing out the machine’s undercarriage while not extending the overall width of the machine. This leads to a more balanced machine, especially when switching from working over the front to working over the side,” says DeWitt. “The track changes also result in a smoother ride.”
Stability is further increased by increasing the downward angle of the machine’s blade by 33 per cent to a downward angle of 12 degrees. This allows operators to get a solid angle and stabilize the machine when digging on an uneven surface or trenching at an angle. The new Bobcat mini excavators increase over-the-side capacity by up to 15 per cent, claims Bobcat.
To complement large machine performance, Bobcat mini excavators come equipped with a large cab — one of the largest in the industry. The new wider cab features a wider seat and 29 per cent more floor space as well as automatic HVAC and heated seats for year-round operation. The addition of a new top window, which increases glass surface area by 15 per cent, as well as narrower side pillars, leads to better visibility to the work environment, states the company.
Operation of the machine has also changed. Control pattern changers have been moved to a more convenient place.
“The joystick is made of a better material to make it more comfortable and long-lasting. And the boom offset and secondary auxiliary has been moved onto the joystick instead of on a separate rocker switch so operators can toggle between the second auxiliary and the boom offset without removing their hand from the left joystick,” says DeWitt. “There is also an improvement in combined function for faster cycle times between boom up and down, stick in and out, and bucket rotation.”
The new machines also have a more modern design with better service access. They feature strengthened hinges and latches as well as rigid, aligned excavator panels to reduce vibration in the cab, especially when working on rough surfaces.
“The new series of Bobcat mini excavators benefit from incremental changes in combined function, stability, operator environment, visibility and hydraulic flow; these changes make Bobcat R Series mini excavators ideal machines for urban construction sites,” says DeWitt.