Comparison of tracked excavators below 10 tonnes weight – eight eight-tonners

Urbanisation and underground cabling have increased the need for compact and powerful machines. For example, reduced tail excavators weighing eight tonnes are suitable for many different application areas. Koneviesti has tested eight machines of this size class. The machines in the test are Bobcat E85, CAT 308E2 CR SB, ECM ES85 SB4, JCB 90Z-1, Komatsu PC80MR-5, Kubota KX080-4a, Takeuchi TB280FR and Wacker Neuson EZ80.
The machines in the test are Bobcat E85, Cat 308E2 CR SB, ECM ES85 SB4, JCB 90Z-1, Komatsu PC80MR-5, Kubota KX080-4a, Takeuchi TB280FR ja Wacker Neuson EZ80.

This year, the machines of the Finnish construction machinery class KKH 08 were selected for the traditional construction machinery comparison, that is, all tracked excavators weighing less than 9 tonnes. These are also called eight-tonners on construction sites in Finland.

Construction machines of this class are generally used in earth cabling or landscaping. Modern 8-tonne machines not only offer practicality but also power and range for work that used to require the use of heavier construction machines.

All importers in Finland were invited. In the test invitation, we asked for all construction machines to be fitted with a reduced tail and rubber tracks. There were eight construction machines in the comparison; this represents a comprehensive sample of the models sold in Finland. Unfortunately, not all potential candidates could participate in the comparison this time. Reasons for this included the lack of a suitable demonstration machine and the recent release of a new model.

The healthy business situation in civil engineering as well as the tightening of sales figures for construction machines meant that, surprisingly, some brands had no new demonstration machine.

Nevertheless, the importers of CAT, ECM and JCB showed great enthusiasm as they brought rented construction machines to the test almost directly from the construction site. The construction machines had the following operating hours: CAT - 762, ECM - 300 and JCB - 1063.

Differences in outfitting

There were some differences in the outfitting of the construction machines tested. Instead of rubber tracks, the Caterpillar and ECM machines had rubber-padded steel tracks and the Komatsu machine had so-called Roadliner pads, where the rubber base plates are attached directly to the track conveyor. The boom of the ECM machine was fixed (the model fixed next to the cab), while the other machines had a swivel joint on the boom that could be tilted forward from the revolving superstructure.

Today, there are hardly any machines with standard outfitting, rather, machines are adjusted to the customer's wishes in the purchase order. Of course, this poses a challenge when it comes to making comparisons. If the outfitting of a machine affects the test operator points or the measurement results, this is indicated in the presentation of the results.

Koneviesti carried out its last comparison in the eight-tonner category in 2008. For example, ten years ago, tilt rotators were not as common as they are today, so some machines only had swivelling buckets. The level of outfitting and working comfort have also improved significantly in this decade.

Measurements and assessments

This time, the test took a good week, during which we performed a wide range of different performance efficiency measurements. After diligently acquainting themselves with the machines, the test operators and Koneviesti employees evaluated the operating characteristics of the machines. Among other things, the subject of analysis was the factors which have an impact on userfriendliness, working comfort and performance efficiency.

The test operators filled in a 37-point assessment sheet based on their findings during the test; the different characteristics were evaluated on a scale of 1-5. When calculating the total point score, the different areas of the questionnaire were multiplied by factors of 1-3, depending on the weighting of the area.

For example, the hydraulic control system, working ergonomics and serviceability of the machine were given a weighting factor of 3. In contrast, less important features such as the storage space in the operator's cab, the ease of keeping the cabin clean and the appearance of the machine were given a weighting factor of 1. We also used weighting factors in the technical measurements, among which fuel consumption, power values and sound level were tested, among others. A completely new element of the comparison was the testing of airconditioning system performance.

Weighted properties included the accuracy of the hydraulics, the external dimensions and the stability of the machine. The theoretical maximum score was 1,000 points, 600 of which were test operator points and 400 of which were technical points.

The test operators, Juha Arminen, Hannu Jantunen, Camilla Kuivalainen and Tuomo Nurminen evaluated the machines in practical work assignment and awarded points based on their own experience. By using multiple test operators, we have ensured that the result is as unbiased as possible.

In the course of the comparison, the differences between the machines, both positive and negative, became clear. The work could be carried out with all test machines, but some clear differences were visible, for example, in terms of serviceability and working comfort.

The machines in the test were:

• Bobcat E85

• CAT 308E2 CR SB

• ECM ES85 SB4

• JCB 90Z-1

• Komatsu PC80MR-5

• Kubota KX080-4a

• Takeuchi TB280FR

• Wacker Neuson EZ80

The test operators: Juha Arminen, Hannu Jantunen, Camilla Kuivalainen, Tuomo Nurminen, Mikael Sammatti, Arto Turpeinen, Technical support: Jyrki Karkinen, Timo Rintakoski, Images: Jussi Laukkanen, Arto Turpeinen, Graphic: Jukka-Pekka Lindbäck

See also our additional information where is a video of the machines in the test!

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