The evolution and refinement of the hydraulic excavator’s design have been constant, with today’s models incorporating electrification, hydraulic technology, and machine analytics; which all positively impact the comfort and safety of the operators. Large fleet owners and many smaller contractors are reaping a variety of benefits—including cost savings, improved maintenance, and better machine uptime—with every evolution of the excavator.
For instance, the PowerTilt full-tilting, telescoping attachment can provide extra Jobsite versatility—handling the work of many different machines. Couplers that allow excavator attachments to tilt and/or rotate can dramatically increase Jobsite efficiency when used in the right applications. An excavator with a standard coupler or pin-on bucket is only able to work in parallel with the direction of the boom and stick. Adding tilting and 180° rotating functions to the end of the stick increases the mobility of the excavator front structure, enabling the possibility to work in all directions, with different angles. Tilt-rotators eliminate the need to constantly reposition the excavator, which increases not only productivity and fuel efficiency, but also safety on the Jobsite.
We know hydraulic pumps and motors have been effective and compact ways of transferring available energy for years. However, on the propel side, the transition to electric will continue to develop as technologies advance to provide a better way or an easy interface to amplify the torque of the electric motor via a gearbox or some other gear ratio to get the machine to move. We have started to see electric motors replace diesel engines for the elimination of noise. This is most popular in the mini excavator which favors itself to projects that might take place inside a building where noise is a factor.
The electric motor isn't new to off-highway as the technology has long been used in the mining industry but the challenge in construction is how often the batteries need to be recharged and if the construction site has a convenient power source. The engineers at Parker, after months of development and testing, developed a patent-pending Global Vehicle Motor (GVM) for electric and hybrid electric powertrain motors and electro-hydraulic actuation that is scalable for a variety of applications as well as compact in terms of size and weight – all without sacrificing performance.
On the data side, the increased use of telematics or IoT in excavators remains a common theme. Fleet managers increasingly are recognizing the value of monitoring machines as a means to quickly respond to service or maintenance needs and perhaps make recommendations to operators for reducing fuel consumption. Parker’s newest equipment and hydraulic monitoring cloud-based solution, Mobile IoT, is vastly improved over the traditional telematics solution, with its sophisticated data, monitoring and performance control capabilities.
Fleet managers and equipment owners also are thinking more and more about the total cost of ownership and the elements that drive lifetime equipment costs up and down. There is an increased emphasis on IoT, enabling contractors to remotely monitor, diagnose, and troubleshoot operational issues as a means of optimizing productivity and operating efficiency, as well as ensuring long, product life for their equipment. Parker’s Mobile IoT solution can be customized and the ROI can be seen within the first two years in terms of operator behavior, fuel consumption, predictive maintenance, and unplanned downtime.
Within the construction equipment segment, hydraulic excavators, which are the most widely used earthmoving equipment in heavy-duty operation, are expected to experience much faster growth than other sub-segments. As equipment with the widest applications across the infrastructure development value chain, it is imperative for hydraulic excavators to perform with maximum efficiency and be productive.
Technology, product quality, reliability, and aftermarket support - apart from worksite conditions and operator skills - have a significant impact on the efficiency and productivity of hydraulic excavators. Advancements in technology can provide enhanced quality, reliability without costing more. For instance, the made-to-order pre-formed hose has been around for decades but can be very costly in excavators as well as extend unplanned downtime. Designed to handle extreme bends while allowing full-flow, kink-free performance, Parker’s E-Z Form hose effectively replaces pre-formed hoses in many applications— eliminating special design, tooling, and fabrication costs and associated long lead times. It also eliminates the need for ordering excessive minimum production quantities.
The ongoing labor shortage has made it more important than ever for manufacturers to ensure that operators are comfortable inside the cabs of excavators. Easy-to-operate controls, good visibility to the work area and surrounding areas—including rear-view and side-view cameras—comfortable seats, clear displays, and automatic HVAC systems all contribute to keeping operators content.
Onboard monitors provide a wealth of information and capability that can increase productivity, reduce fuel consumption and enhance safety on the Jobsite. The monitors often interface with modern electrohydraulic systems to provide semi-autonomous functions and customized capabilities that make novice operators more efficient while reducing fatigue in more experienced operators. There is a wealth of information at your fingertips. For instance, Parker’s PHD programmable electronic display family has been developed to meet the needs of the mobile sector, where they can help to enhance equipment productivity and profitability. These robust and compact displays are fully programmable through a graphical, easy-to-use programming tool for rapid application and menu screen development.
When you think about comfort during those hot summer months, you think about the air conditioning. Having the ability to repair the existing air conditioning lines with the correct components can be both a time and cost saver. However, if worn-out or damaged hoses need replacement, you can build a new custom hose assembly immediately with Parker’s innovative hose tube assemblies. In addition to offering the parts needed to make custom assemblies, ParkerStores offer custom-made hose tube assemblies for A/C repair. Prompt, efficient, professional in-store services while you wait.
Above all, there is a high demand for fuel-efficient excavators, rapid technological advancements, the use of IoT in construction, and rising adoption for other applications are all increasing the demand for excavators within the rental market. With this type of machine utilization, product selection, maintenance, and monitoring are essential to reduce unplanned downtime and maintenance costs. Parker is here to help identify the right components for your construction equipment.
The Parker Global Mobile Systems team application engineering experts are available to assist our customers in designing and implementing new systems to meet your application needs. Contact us for more information, or if you'd like to receive more relevant hydraulics, pneumatics, and electromechanical product and technology updates for excavators in your inbox, subscribe here.