Whether this is the first time you’ve ever used a mini excavator or you’ve been using them for years, it’s never too late to learn some interesting facts about these wonderful machines. In the list below, we have outlined some of the facts that we find most interesting about these machines, as they might come in handy one day in the future when you’re using them.
1. They are hydraulic
You might already know that these machines provide functionality in areas with limited access. But did you know that they are also considered a type of hydraulic excavator? In this case, both the slew and travel functions (along with the blade and work group functions) are all hydraulically controlled.
2. They are defined by their weight
A machine can only officially be defined as a mini excavator when it has a weight of less than 4500 kilograms. This allows them to be used on more sensitive terrain, have a smaller footprint, work within a tighter turning radius, and be easier to transport (when compared with standard heavier models and backhoes).
3. They compete with backhoes for market share
It has become more and more common to see these excavators alongside a skid steer or compact track loader, taking the place of the traditional backhoe loader. In fact, some expects speculate that these machines are actually taking some of the market share away from the backhoe. Only time will reveal whether this is true or not.
4. The first model was manufactured in 1968
Yanmar began manufacturing the very first mini models all the way back in 1968, followed by Takeuchi in 1971. These excavators were not actually introduced to the American market until the 1980s by Bobcat. IHI also began manufacturing them around a similar time. Believe it or not, Hitachi didn’t start manufacturing them until the 1990s.
5. Compact models have their own uses
Did you know that there are excavators designed to be compact enough to fit through a doorway? Whilst they might be a little difficult for an operator to adjust to, the general consensus is that they’re better than a shovel and wheelbarrow. Even though the bucket doesn’t hold all that much, they’re still considered to be a great time saver.
6. There is only one US manufacturer
Although there are quite a few manufacturers around the world (including Bobcat, Caterpillar, Case, Doosan, Gehl, JCB, John Deere, Kubota, IJI, Takeuchi, Volvo and Yanmar), only one of them manufacturers mini excavators on American soil. This title goes to Bobcat. All the others are shipped in from overseas.
7. They can be very dangerous
They might be smaller in size, but these machines can be just as dangerous as their bigger counterparts. Consider an incident where an excavator fell into a trench it was digging, pining its operator underneath. Or an incident in 1999 when a man was killed after being pinned between the bucket and an air compressor. Exercise caution.
Mini excavators have been around for more than 45 years now, and their usefulness has only increased as time has passed. They are considered by many workers to be the Swiss army knife of the construction fleet, as they can access places that other machines can’t. We hope that you’ve found the facts we’ve shared above interesting and useful in your endeavours.