The compact hydraulic excavator can be a tracked or
wheeled vehicle with an approximate operating weight
of 13,300 pounds. Normally, it includes a standard
backfill blade and features an independent boom
swing. The compact hydraulic excavator is also
known as a mini excavator.
A compact hydraulic excavator is different from other
types of heavy machinery in the sense that all
movement and functions of the machine are accomplished
through the transfer of hydraulic fluid. The work
group and blade are activated by hydraulic fluid
acting upon hydraulic cylinders. The rotation and
travel functions are also activated by hydraulic
fluid powering hydraulic motors.
Most types of compact hydraulic excavators have
three assemblies - house, undercarriage, and the
The house structure contains the compartment for
the operator, engine compartment, hydraulic pump
and also the distribution components. The house
structure is attached to the top of the undercarriage
via swing bearing. Along with the work group, the
house is able to rotate upon the undercarriage
without limit due to a hydraulic distribution valve
that supplies oil to the undercarriage components.
The undercarriage of compact excavators consists of
rubber or steel tracks, drive sprockets, rollers,
idlers, and associated components and structures.
The undercarriage is also home to the house
structure and the work group.
The work group consists of the boom, dipper or
arm, and attachment. It is connected to the front
of the house structure via a swinging frame that
allows the work group to be hydraulically pivoted
left or right in order to achieve offset digging
for trenching parallel with the tracks.
Independent boom swing
The purpose of the boom swing is for offset
digging around obstacles or along foundations,
walls, and forms. Another use is for cycling in
areas that are too narrow for cab rotation. Another
major advantage of the compact excavator is the
independent boom swing.
The backfill blade on compact excavators are used
for grading, leveling, backfilling, trenching,
and general dozer work. The blade can also be
used to increase the dumping height and digging
depth depending on it's position in relation to
The most common place you'll find compact excavators
is in residential dwellings. When digging phone
lines or other things, these pieces of equipment
are very common for getting between houses. Due
to their small size, they can fit almost anywhere.
Over the years, the capabilities for compact
excavators have expanded far beyond the tasks of
excavation. With hydraulic powered attachments
such as breakers, clamps, compactors and augers,
the compact excavator is used with many other
applications and serves as an effective attachment
tool as well. Serving many purposes, the compact
excavator is a great addition to any job that
requires the use of machinery.
Also referred to as a loader backhoe, the backhoe
loader is an engineering and excavation vehicle that
consists of a tractor, front shovel and bucket and
a small backhoe in the rear end. Due to the small
size and versatility, backhoe loaders are common
with small construction projects and excavation type
Originally invented in Burlington Iowa back in 1857,
the backhoe loader is the most common variation of
the classic farm tractor. As the name implies, it
has a loader assembly on the front and a backhoe
attachment on the back.
Anytime the loader and backhoe are attached it is
never referred to as a tractor, as it is not normally
used for towing and doesn't normally have a PTO.
When the backhoe is permanently attached, the
machine will normally have a seat that can swivel
to the rear to face the backhoe controls. Any type
of removable backhoe attachments will normally have
a seperate seat on the attachment itself.
Backhoe loaders are common and can be used for many
tasks, which include construction, light transportation
of materials, powering building equipment, digging
holes and excavating, breaking asphalt, and even
You can often replace the backhoe bucket with
other tools such as a breaker for breaking and
smashing concrete and rock. There are some loader
buckets that offer a retractable bottom, which
enable it to empty the load more quickly and
The retractable bottom loader buckets are often
times used for grading and scratching off sand.
The front assembly on a backhoe may be either
removable or permanently attached. Often times,
the bucket can be replaced with other tools or
devices. In order to mount different attachments
to the loader, it must be equipped with a tool
coupler. The coupler consists of two hydraulic
cylinders on the end of the arm assembly, which
can expand and retract to allow different tools to
be attached to the unit.
There are several types of backhoe loader brands,
including New Holland, John Deere, and Case. Some
will offer you cabs, while others won't. The
newer types of backhoe loaders even offer you air
conditioning, radios, and other accessories that
make you feel like you are working with luxury.
Common with excavating jobs, the backhoe can serve
many purposes. It can haul equipment and supplies
in the loader bucket. Another great use is to cover
up dirt when filling in trench lines or covering
up pipe that was just put in the ground. The
backhoe attachment at the rear is ideal for digging
water pipes and sewer pipes.
The best thing about the backhoe loader is the
fact that they are easy to operate. You don't
need to be a rocket scientist to fully operate this
nifty piece of equipment.
Digging trenches is one of the oldest types of work
with both construction and excavating. Prior to World
War 2, trenches were dug by hand. As workers dug the
trenches deeper, the sides needed to be shored or
supported, to keep the walls of the trench from caving
Following the World War, several innovations were made
in backhoes, and trench digging seemed to fade away
as a profession. By 1950, hydraulically actuated
backhoes were developed, which make it possible to
rapidly dig very deep trenches. Resulting from the
innovations with backhoes, and because there were no
workers inside digging the trenches, the walls no
longer needed to be shored.
All types of trenches have what's known as a stand up
time. This time is the amount of time that elapses
from the time the ditch is dug until the time the
trench walls start to collapse. The stand up time
is dependant on many factors, which include the type
of soil, water content, trench depth, weather
conditions, and whether or not the soil has been
The stand up time can be as short as zero seconds
or as long as several months, as they are very
difficult to predict. Before the trench can be dug,
someone must take soil samples as way of estimating
the stand up time. Keep in mind that the soil
conditions can be dramatically different only a
few feet from where the sample of the soil was taken.
After the trench has been dug, workers will go down
into the trench, and perform whatever work is
needed, such as laying pipe or installing telephone
lines, welding pipe, or installing valves. If the
trench walls aren't supported, there is the possibility
of the walls collapsing and trapping the workers in
the trench. Throughout history, there have been
100 - 300 people killed in the U.S. each year
due to trenches collapsing.
The public has become very aware that industrial
progress will often have negative side effects as
well. The place of engineers protecting the
public from these types of side effects is a very
controversial issue. The use of trench boxes on
the site, will help to ease this debate.
The trench box, also called a trench shield, may
be placed in the trench to prevent failures from
injuring workers. The trench box consists of two
large plates, normally made from steel, which are
parallel to the walls of the trench, and horizontal
cross members which will hold the two plates
The lower edge of the trench box rests at the
bottom of the trench, with the top edge of the
box extending above the top of the trench. The
workers will stay between the plates of the trench
box, so that if the trench does collapse, the dirt
will be stopped by the outside of the trench box.
As the work progresses, the trench box is pulled
along in the trench with a backhoe or other machine.
When a project calls for a large excavation such
as digging the foundation for a tall building, the
supporting structure for the excavated walls will
be specified in the plans. The big problem with
not using trench boxes occurs in cities, when
water or sewer lines are being installed or
repaired. The engineer doesn't specify for the
trench box in the plans, but instead leaves it
up to the contractor.
Anytime you are going to be digging trenches or
working in them, you should always use common sense
and take your time. Trenches can be very deadly,
especially if trench boxes aren't used. To be on
the safe side, you should always use a trench box
if you need to be in the trench. If you don't
need to be in the trench - do the smart thing
and let the machines do all of the work.
Also known as a front end loader, bucket loader,
scoop loader, or shovel, the front loader is a type
of tractor that is normally wheeled and uses a
wide square tilting bucket on the end of movable
arms to lift and move material around.
The loader assembly may be a removable attachment
or permanently mounted on the vehicle. Often times,
the bucket can be replaced with other devices or
tools, such as forks or a hydraulically operated
Larger style front loaders, such as the Caterpillar
950G or the Volvo L120E, normally have only a
front bucket and are known as front loaders,
where the small front loaders are often times
equipped with a small backhoe as well and called
backhoe loaders or loader backhoes.
Loaders are primarily used for loading materials
into trucks, laying pipe, clearing rubble, and
also digging. Loaders aren't the most efficient
machines for digging, as they can't dig very deep
below the level of their wheels, like the backhoe
The deep bucket on the front loader can normally
store around 3 - 6 cubic meters of dirt, as the
bucket capacity of the loader is much bigger than
the bucket capacity of a backhoe loader. Loaders
aren't classified as excavating machinery, as
their primary purpose is other than moving dirt.
In construction areas, mainly when fixing roads
in the middle of the city, front loaders are
used to transport building materials such as
pipe, bricks, metal bars, and digging tools.
Front loaders are also very useful for snow
removal as well, as you can use their bucket or
as a snow plow. They can clear snow from the
streets and highways, even parking lots. They
will sometimes load the snow into dump trucks
which will then haul it away.
Unlike the bulldozer, most loaders are wheeled and
not tracked. The wheels will provide better
mobility and speed and won't damage paved roads
near as much as tracks, although this will come
at the cost of reduced traction.
Unlike backhoes or tractors fitted with a steel
bucket, large loaders don't use automotive
steering mechanisms, as they instead steer by a
hydraulically actuated pivot point set exactly
between the front and rear axles. This is known
as articulated steering and will allow the front
axle to be solid, therefore allowing it to carry
a heavier weight.
Articulated steering will also give a reduced
turn in radius for a given wheelbase. With the
front wheels and attachment rotating on the same
axis, the operator is able to steer his load in
an arc after positioning the machine, which can
come in quite handy. The problem is that when
the machine is twisted to one side and a heavy
load is lifted high in the air, it has a bigger
risk of turning over.
Case Cx700 And Cx330
The company of Case has done it again, by introducing
yet another spectacular excavator, the CX700, which
weighs in at 70 metric tons and represents a new
size for Case, fitting perfectly between the CX460
and CX800 models. Case has also taken advantage of
Tier 3 technologies and upgraded the CX330, increasing
the power and improving fuel economy, all while adding
features that will enhance comfort for the operator
and simplify maintenance.
The CX700 is a powered by a high performance, fuel
efficient Isuzu engine that is completely Tier 3
certified. With an operating weight of 153,400 lbs.
and over 400 HP, the CX700 is capable of digging to
31 feet 11 inches with reaches up to 46 feet 11 inches.
The frame for the CX700 is based on the larger CX800
to ensure optimum durability and reliability,
especially given the powerful performance specs the
machine calls for.
New to the Case CX700 is a switch that will allow
you to give priority to either the boom or the swing
functions. The CX700 also offers retractable side
frames and an optional counterweight removal device,
which makes transporting easier than ever before.
The Isuzu engine that powers the CX700 is fully
electronic and uses a high pressure rail system that
provides a 5% increase in HP and also gives the
excavator 10% better fuel economy.
Several enhancements have been made to the CX330
upon releasing the CX700, including the overall
reliabilty and durability of the machine, which
includes the strength of the front idlers by beefing
up the thickness and design of the center hub and
improving the track seal design for increased life.
Several of the features that come standard with the
CX700 are upgrades for the CX330 that will also be
applied to other large Case excavator models that
move forward. The key upgrades include ease of
maintenance and servicing. Both the CX330 and CX700
models feature an easy maintenance system, lubricated
bushings throughout the boom and arm, which provides
extended lube periods of up to 1,000 hours. The
engine oil filters are now mounted vertically in
the pump house access area, which allows for easier
access and servicing.
The addition of a modified oil drain plug with a
check valve will make it easier than ever to change
oil. Both the CX330 and CX700 both offer finer
fuel filtration, up to four microns, which provides
increased uptime and improved fuel performance.
The upgraded cooling system features a design that
reduces the stacking of coolers for better cooling
efficiency and also improves access to ease the
removal of debris. In addition to this, the Case
CX700 also features a hydraulically driven,
thermostat controlled reversible fan for improving
the cooling of the engine and easy cleanout of the
Hydraulic machinery are machines and tools that use
fluid power to do the work. Almost all types of
heavy equipment is a common example. With this type
of equipment, hydraulic fluid is pumped to a high
pressure then transmitted through the machine to
The hydraulic pumps are powered by engines or electric
motors. The pressurized fluid is controlled by the
operator with control valves and then distributed
through hoses and tubes.
The increasing popularity of hydraulic machinery is
due to the large amount of power that is transferred
through small tubes and flexible hoses. The high
power density and wide array of actuators can make
use of this power.
The theory that lies behind hydraulic equipment is
1. A force that acts on a small area can
create a bigger force by acting on a larger area
by hydrostatic pressure.
2. A large amount of energy can be carried
by a small flow of highly pressurized fluid.
A hydraulic pump will supply the fluid to the
components in the system. Pressure in the system
will develop in reaction to the load. Pumps have
a power density of around ten times greater than
an electric motor. The pumps are powered by an
electric motor or engine, which is connected through
gears, belts, or a flexible elastomeric coupling
to reduce the heavy vibration.
The common types of hydraulic pumps for hydraulic
machinery applications include:
1. Gear pump - the gear pump is cheap,
durable, and simple. It is less efficient, simply
because it is constant displacement and suitable
for pressures that are below 3,000 psi.
2. Vane pump - vane pumps are cheap, simple,
and reliable. They are good pumps for higher flow
low pressure output.
Hoses and tubes
A hydraulic hose is graded by pressure, temperature,
and compatibility of fluid. A rubber interior is
surrounded by multiple layers of woven wire and
rubber. The exterior of the hose is designed for
resistance against abrasion.
The bending radius of the hydraulic hose is
designed very carefully into the machine, since
a hose failure can be deadly, and violating the
minimum bend radius of the hose can also cause
A hydraulic pipe is thick enough to have threads
cut into it for connections. It's rarely used
for high pressure systems though, which prefer to
have tubes or hoses. The pipe itself lends to
weldings and can also be used to fabricate the
Hydraulic pipes on the other hand are preferred
over hoses whenever possible, as they are simply
more durable. Tubes are also preferred over pipes,
as they weigh a lot less. Hydraulic tubes will
normally have flared ends and captive nuts to
make connections. They can also be steel welded
with floating nuts and face seal fittings on the
Both tubes and pipes for hydraulic applications
traditionally haven't been plated or painted,
since the temperature and oil they operate under
drive away moisture and reduce the risk of rust.
The fittings with hydraulic machinery serve
1. To bride different standards, such
as the O-ring boss to JIC or pipe threads to the
2. Allows proper orientation of
components, as a 45 or 90 degree, straight, or
even swivel fitting will be chosen as it is
needed. They are designed to be positioned in
the correct orientation and then tightened as
3. To incorporate bulkhead hardware.
4. A quick disconnect fitting may be
added to a machine without having to modify hoses
The skid loader is a rigid frame, engine powered
machine with lift arms that are used to attach a
wide variety of labor saving tools or attachments.
Skid loaders are normally four wheel drive with
left side drive wheels that are independent of
right side drive wheels. With each side being
independent to the other, the wheel speed and
direction of rotation of the wheels will determine
which direction the loader turns.
Skid loaders are capable of turning in their own
tracks, which makes them very maneuverable and
valuable for jobs that require the use of compact,
Unlike conventional front loaders, the lift arms
lay beside the driver with the major pivot points
located behind the shoulders of the operator. Due
to the operator being in close proximity to moving
booms and buckets, earlier models of skid loaders
weren't as safe as conventional front loaders,
particularly during entering and exiting.
Skid loaders today have fully enclosed cabs and
other safety features that will protect the operator
from injury. Just like other front loaders,
the skid steer can scrape material from one
location to another, carry material in a bucket,
or load material on a truck or a trailer.
A skid loader can sometimes take the place of a
large excavator by digging a hole out from the
inside. The skid loader will first dig a ramp
that leads to the edge of the hole. Then, the
loader will use the ramp to carry material out
of the hole.
The skid loader will then reshape the ramp by
making it steeper and longer as the excavation
gets deeper. This method is very useful for
digging under an overhead structure where the
overhead clearance doesn't allow for the boom of
a large excavator, such as those situations where
you are digging a basement under a house.
The bucket of most types of skid loaders can be
replaced with several specialized buckets or
attachments, many of which are powered by the
hydraulic system of the loader.
The first 3 wheeled front end loader was invented
by two brothers, Cyril and Louis Keller in their
machinist shop in Minnesota back in 1957. The
Kellers built the loader to help a nearby farmer
clean turkey manure from his two story barn. The
light and compact loader, with the rear caster
wheel, was able to turn around within the length
of itself, while performing the very same tasks as
conventional front end loaders.
Down the road, the Melroe manufacturing company
in Gwinner ND, purchased the rights to the Keller
loader in 1958 and hired the brothers to continue
their loader invention. Resulting from the
partnership, the M-200 self propelled loader was
introduced at the end of 1958.
The loader featured two independent front drive
wheels and a rear caster wheel, a 12.9 engine and
a 750 lb lift capacity. Two years later, they
ended up replacing the caster wheel with a rear
axle and introduced the M-400 loader, which was
the first four wheel skid steer loader in the
In 1962, the Bobcat name was added to describe
the key features of the machine - touch, agile, and
quick. The M-440 was powered by a 15.5 HP engine
and offered a 1100 lb rated operating capacity.
In the mid 1960s, the skid steer loader progressed
with the introduction of the M600 loader.
Years later, the Bobcat skid steer loader experienced
quite a few changes, including the development of
a hydrostatic drive system, enforced cab structures,
radius and vertical lift arm configurations,
deluxe instrumentation, and even heating and air
In addition to the rubber tire skid loaders of today,
there are now all-wheel steer loaders and even
compact track loaders. Compact track loads offer
less ground disturbance and feature better traction
and control in soft, muddy, wet, and even sandy
Comparing Trenchers To Compact Excavators
Both of these machines are affordable, popular,
highly productive, and they both have helped lay a
lot of cable and pipe in the ground. While they
both can do the work, there are differences as
to how they perform when stacked up against each
other in residential utility installations.
Size and price
The average dig depth for utility installations in
residential applications is between 40 and 48
inches. The basic trencher that digs to the above
depth will boast a 20 - 30 horsepower engine and
cost around 40,000 dollars.
The most popular type of compact excavator is the
2.5 metric ton size class, and it uses a 30 HP
engine and costs around the same price. The
biggest difference in the two surfaces when you
need the trencher to dig deeper. The 2.5 metric
ton excavator has no trouble at all digging to 8
feet or more, although a trencher that can dig
that deep will require an engine with around 100
horsepower and cost upwards of 90,000 dollars!
Not counting the bucket teeth and the replacement
of the rubber tracks at 2,000 hours, fuel and
routine maintenance are your only daily costs
with a compact excavator. The digging chain, teeth,
and sprockets on the trenchers are considered
wear items and need to be replaced often. Even
with the high consumable costs of trenchers, the
differences will tend to even out when productivity
is taken into effect.
For straight line trenching at an average depth,
trenchers will flat out lead compact excavators.
Under reasonable conditions, a trencher can work
three to four times faster than that of a compact
excavator. Another area where trenchers really
excel is wooded areas, where tree roots and logs
can make for slow and sloppy digging when using a
When it comes down to it, compact excavators can
do a lot of things that trenchers can't, especially
when they have attachments on hand. If you are
digging with a compact excavator, you can't go
anywhere near as fast as you can with a good quality
Keep in mind that a trencher isn't a single minded
machine either. Most styles of trenchers can be
outfitted with a backhoe attachment that attaches
to the front end. Whenever concrete, rocks, or
asphalt stands in the way, the boom and chain can
be replaced with rock teeth and a wheel. In soft
soils, you can set up a trencher with a plow
attachment and plow in cables faster than using
any other available method.
When it comes down to choosing, keep in mind that
it all depends on your needs. There are some
cases where the compact excavator is best to
choose, while there will also be jobs in which
the trencher is going to do the best work.
Different Types Of Backhoe Loaders
Caterpillar hit a dial of power and performance with
its top of the line 446 backhoe loader when it first
introduced the D series version of the machine. The
102 HP machine also features a new operator station
and offers optional joystick controls. The dig
forces on the bucket have increased 10% on the
Bobcat gave its compact backhoe loaders a power
boost when the company introduced the second generation
B series to the lineup. The 31.5 HP B100 received
a 45% increase in backhoe bucket breakout force
and a 27% jump in the breakout force of the dipper.
The 46 HP B300 received a 44% increase in dipper
breakout force and a 21% boost in the breakout
force of the bucket. The three model line also
includes the B250, which is a 31.5 HP sideshift
unit. Similar to the larger B300, the B250 also
features all wheel steering and four wheel drive.
Each one of the four models of backhoe loaders in
the New Holland lineup use the new 4.5 liter
turbocharged Tier 2 engine. This new engine and
a number of other upgrades were the basis for the
B series machines, which offer low effort pilot
controls which will give you a choice between
excavator or loader style patterns.
Case added quite a bit to its M series backhoe
loaders, by switching to family 3 engines to meet
Tier 2 emission standards. The new machines
of the M series have quieter, larger displacement
engines for better lugging capacity. They also
have increased torque rise for faster cycles
of loader and backhoe operations.
With 500 hour intervals of oil changes and easy
to access transmission mounted hydraulic pumps,
the M series is surely a force to be reckoned
with in the world of backhoes.
The newest compact backhoe loader from this
company can reach digging depths of up to 12
feet with its backhoe. Working as a loader, the
BL-580 has an operating capacity of 3,406 pounds
with a breakout force of 9,370 pounds.
Both the loader and backhoe are equipped with
standard auxiliary hydraulics with a two way
flow to accommodate a variety of attachments,
which includes booms, breakers, augers, and
even compactors. Other nifty features include
hydrostatic four wheel drive for power and traction,
and all wheel steering for a tight radius.
Komatsu announced that the optional excavator
style joystick controls would be offered on its
five model lineup of backhoes. The lineup has
also been upgraded with increased hydraulic speed,
stronger components, and Tier 2 engines. The
entire Komatsu line consists of the 87 HP WB140
series, and teh 94 HP WB150 series.
The standard model found with each series features
a four speed mechanical transmission complete with
a torque converter. The fifth model from Komatsu
is the WB150, with offers an all star wheel design
with a powershift transmission and anti theft
The 410H is the hallmark of John Deere, offering
92 HP. The 410H also offers the total machine
control system, which integrates control for the
engine, transmission, hydraulics, and brakes so
that the system can respond in an efficient way
to the many different job demands.
Since acquiring the Fermec line, Terex has marketed
a full and impressive line of backhoes. The
models include the 92 HP TX760B and the 100 HP
TX860B. At 100 HP as well are the 860SX, 860 Elite,
and the 970 Elite. Both the 760 and 860 models
feature four speed shuttle gearboxes and travel
speeds of up to 25.8 miles per hour.
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