The latest mini excavators to hit the equipment market

D&Ri looks at the latest mini excavators to hit the market, including the models set to be debuted at Intermat 2024.

The number and type of mini excavators coming onto the market seems to be exponential, with increasing urban development, the renovation wave and the need for less environmentally harmful machines driving the demand skywards.

Of course, it is also true that there are few machines out there as useful as a mini excavator. And the construction equipment manufacturers know it.

Hitachi's ZX26U-6 mini excavator Hitachi’s ZX26U-6 mini excavator. (PHOTO: Hitachi)

Updated excavator models

Probably the most excited of all the manufacturers to be attending the upcoming Intermat show in France, Hitachi Construction Machinery Europe (HCME) has said that it will “wow” the public at the event with its “top 10” machines.

The company is set to bring a range of its newest 3-tonne to 40-t machines to the show, which will take place in April.

Among them will be its newly updated ZX26U-6 (pictured left) and ZX33U-6 mini excavators - the smallest machines in the lineup.

Both models have been upgraded to provide operators with greater comfort within the cab, which now features a soft and wider armrest, a height-adjustable seat, and improved heating and cooling.

“We are continually improving our machines to enhance the experience of operators,” says HCME Product Manager Norihiko Kinugawa.

“While complying with the latest harmonised standards for machinery, it was also important for us to include new features that respond to the needs of our customers.”

The OEM’s design engineers have also worked to improve the visibility, productivity, and uptime of the Zaxis-6 mini excavators, making adjustments to the height of the cab on the ZX33U-6 and adding a rear wiper.

HCME will also showcase the new ZX55-6EB and ZE135-7EB models from its electric range.

The OEM says that the ZX55U-6EB provides reduced noise levels, better efficiency, fewer maintenance requirements, and less downtime than conventional models.

It can be operated using battery power (via 39 kWh lithium-ion batteries) or by using a wired connection to a CEE 400VAC 3-phase power source.

Diesel powered excavators

Unlike HCME, Develon (formerly Doosan Construction Equipment), has taken a different tact, with a range of brand-new models.

A short time ago D&Ri was fortunate enough to be invited by Develon to its first ever customer event at its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea.

Taking place over three days, the Global Develon Day event combined elements of Develon and Korean culture throughout. It began with a visit to Develon’s Proving Ground facility at Boryeong to the south of the capital, Seoul.

The equipment display at the 2023 Global Develon Day in Seoul, South Korea The equipment display at the 2023 Global Develon Day in Seoul, South Korea. (PHOTO: Develon)

One of the many interesting aspects of the visit was a display of the some of the company’s new Stage V compliant, two to six-tonne class mini-excavators.

Sitting at the upper limits of the mini weight class, were the DX62R-7 and DX63-7, as well as the larger 8-tonne DX85R-7 model. All of which were designed to carry out demolition, recycling, waste and construction tasks in confined spaces.

All three feature Develon’s new shared global styling for its next generation mini-excavator range, as well as a platform and upper structure that help to provide “increased durability and robustness”, says Develon.

The mini-excavators are powered by the D24 Stage V compliant diesel engine, which provides 44.3 kW (59.4 HP) of power in the DX62R-7 and DX63-7, and 48.5 kW (65 HP) in the DX85R-7.

The DX63 mini excavator. The DX63 mini excavator. (PHOTO: Develon)

And these machines are not the only ones to roll off the production line in recent months.

In the first quarter of 2024, Develon continued the launch process with the introduction of the DX17Z-7, a 1.8-t model with zero tail swing, and the DX19-7 mini excavator, a 2.0-t conventional mini excavator.

The South Korea-based OEM says both models provide significantly increased performance and have a number of new operator comfort features.

The machines are powered by the Kubota D902 Stage V-compliant diesel engine, providing a 20% higher gross power output of 12.1 kW (16.2 HP) at 2400 RPM, compared with the previous models.

While the OEM is also set to debut a 1.1-t model at Intermat, another manufacturer is planning to make an electric model a highlight of the show.

Electric excavators

Komatsu Europe will use the construction exhibition to showcase its new 3-t electric mini excavator; the PC33E-6.

The PC33E-6 has a short tail design and is fitted with 17.4 kW electric motor, a 35 kwh lithium-ion battery, and powertrain components that come with a 5-year warranty.

Komatsu PC33E-6 model Komatsu PC33E-6 model. (PHOTO: Komatsu)

Suitable for use inside and outside, the model produces zero emissions and is described as significantly quieter than Komatsu’s compact PC30MR-5 diesel model.

Emanuele Viel, Komatsu’s Group Manager Utility, says: “The PC33E-6 features large capacity batteries and a highly efficient powerline, enabling most customers to work non-stop for a full shift before having to recharge.

“Thanks to a lightning-fast charging system, downtime is significantly reduced, allowing for increased productivity and efficiency on the job site.”

Mini excavators with added operator comfort

Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) has replaced three of its compact excavator models with two new tracked models, the EC37 and the ECR40.

Replacing the company’s EC35D, ECR35D and ECR40D machines, the new EC37 and ECR40 are designed specifically for contractors in North America.

They offer upgraded features for operator comfort and are said to be 10% more fuel efficient than the company’s previous models, while also offering better stability and easier maintenance.

Volvo CE's ECR40 compact excavator Volvo CE’s ECR40 compact excavator. (PHOTO: Volvo CE)

Darren Ashton, product manager - compact equipment at Volvo CE, says: “The 3- to 4-ton size makes up more than a quarter of the compact excavator market in North America, and we’re excited to refresh our offering in that range. I think our customers will be very happy with the improvements we’ve made based on their feedback.”

The mini excavators both feature the Volvo D1.7A engine, which has a power output of 25 HP (18.5 kW) and an engine speed of 2,200 rpm

Volvo CE says: “Work modes now include an ECO mode and an auto engine shutdown in addition to the existing auto engine idle.

“With auto engine shutdown, hours not worked are not recorded, keeping the machine operating efficiently for longer while reducing maintenance costs. This also contributes to a 10% boost in fuel efficiency.”

As well as incorporating the same platform and components, the models also share a number of other features.

These include a breakout force of 35.5 kN (7,900 lbf), a slew speed of 9 rpm and a maximum travel speed of 4.6 km/h (2.86 mph).

The primary difference between the 3.5-t EC37 and the 4-t ECR40 is their tail swing radius. While the EC37 has a conventional tail swing design, the ECR40 is a more compact short swing radius excavator.

Key new features of the EC37 and ECR40 include customisable hydraulic flow settings and work modes, which allow them to be used with a range of attachments and for a variety of applications.

They also have a new elongated undercarriage for increased stability and an adjusted centre of gravity that Volvo CE says reduces the “rocking chair effect” that other compact excavators sometimes have.

Compared to the manufacturer’s previous EC35D, ECR35D and ECR40D models, the new mini excavators now also feature a more spacious, ergonomically designed cab.

The cabs of the EC37 and ECR40 have slimmer pillars and wider flat glass areas for greater visibility, a larger door opening and bigger travel pedals for easier use. For operator comfort, the cabs are also now equipped with an armrest and controls that float with the seat.

On the technology side of things, both excavators have “easy-to-navigate” HMI (human machine interface) functionalities that Volvo CE says provide controllability and adaptability for any job requirement.

Darren says: “The load-sensing hydraulics are definitely a highlight. The way the controls are set up and the smooth movements are just outstanding, and it all works together for better fuel efficiency.”

The manufacturer adds: “If there are multiple operators working with the same machine, each person can set up the controls however they see fit with a few simple setting changes on the new 5-inch HMI.”


Machines designed for demolition

Ammann will show its new 1.5-t electric mini excavator at Intermat in April – the first time the machine has been displayed at a major trade show.

Launched last September, the eAMX 15 uses a 21.5 kW lithium ion battery and can operate for up to eight hours on a single charge. It can be 100% recharged in 10 hours using a standard charger, or up to 80% in one hour with a fast charger.

The Ammann eAMX15 mini excavator. Ammann’s eAMX15 electric excavator will be on show at Intermat. (Photo: Ammann)

The chassis is 1050 mm wide, but can be retracted to a width of 790 mm, and the height of the unit measures 2300 mm.

The 1.5-t model fits into Ammann’s existing range of 22 excavators in the 1.2 to 10-t range, and between its conventionally powered 1.4 and 1.8-t minis.

Ammann says a second electric mini, a 2.5-t machine, will be launched in September this year.

A spokesperson for Ammann told our sister publication International Rental News (IRN) that the focus of these models will be the French market, particularly for inner city sites and for indoor demolition work.


Mini excavators that prioritise easy transport

Kobelco Construction Machinery Europe has revealed two new mini excavator models, with the launch of its new SK26SR-7 and the updated SK28SR-7 models.

Designed to handle more demanding applications, the new SK26SR-7 offers a transport weight of just 2.58 t with the cab option and 2.42 t with a canopy, allowing it to be easily transported on a 3.5-t trailer.

Both the SK26SR-7 and the updated SK28SR-7 mini excavator, which also sits in the 2.5 to 3-t class, feature short radius designs, with the machines’ short tail swing enabling them to work in confined spaces and next to walls or ditches.

Kobelco's brand new SK26SR-7 mini excavator. Kobelco’s brand new SK26SR-7 mini excavator. (PHOTO: Kobelco)

Commenting on the launches, Product Marketing Manager Wesley Elverding, says: “Our mini excavator line-up is extensive, but we recognised that the 2.5-tonne segment could be further enhanced to better meet customer requirements.

“As part of our commitment to continuous improvement, the SK26SR-7 and SK28SR-7 build on Kobelco’s reputation for reliability and performance and incorporate several new features to boost their capabilities and really set them apart from the competition.”

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Leila Steed Editor, Demolition & Recycling International Tel: +44(0) 1892 786 261 E-mail: [email protected]
Peter Collinson International Sales Manager Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786220 E-mail: [email protected]
Simon Kelly Group Sales Manager Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786 223 E-mail: [email protected]