The 13-14 ton class excavators are my preferred choice of machine as an operator, mainly due to the fact that they offer me such a large variation of work, a superb all round machine that is often one of the first machines to land on site and often one of the last to leave. So it’s no real surprise then, that when we were finally offered some “stick time”, I made straight for one of Volvo’s latest offering’s in their compact radius line up the ECR145D.
The machine on the demo plot certainly was an “all singing, all dancing” affair, fitted with a two piece articulated boom, Steelwrist tiltrotator, and running on rubber street pads. I was very keen to try the machine out and I was introduced to the ECR145D by one of Volvo’s Eskilstuna based demonstration operators. After an interesting chat about the machine and a discussion about my full time career as an operator, I was left to get on with the demo drive.
I quickly got accustomed with the cab, which is sure to be comfortable place to spend a working day, as we have come to expect from Volvo cabs over recent years. As is often the case with compact radius machines space to the rear of the cab is often limited, but there is room in the ECR145D for the operator’s lunch bag and day to day effects.
The ECR145D is powered by Volvo’s D4H 4 cylinder engine, which gives the machine a total power output of 85kw (114hp). These engines are Tier 4 interim/stage IIIB legislation compliant and deliver lower emissions, while offering more productivity with reduced fuel consumption. I put the machine to work and was amazed at how quiet it was even when set to full power. My initial thoughts were how was a compact radius machine going to cope with a tiltrotator fitted to it? Any concerns I had were quickly dismissed as I gouged out a large bucketful and hung it over the side to test the machines stability, apart from an expected slight dip the machine maintained a perfect and impressive balance.
Several work modes are provided for the operator to choose from, to suit the task at hand , including Fine mode, which provides high hydraulic pressure and fine controllability, which is useful for precision lifting work. Heavy & Power modes, which are suited to fast and intensive digging operations, especially when hard digging and during deep trench work, this is the mode that most of us in real site situations choose to use on a daily basis, when faced with the ever demanding timescales on projects today. There is also a three setting General mode which is designed for the more day to day tasks, and a new Eco mode which uses the latest electronic pump control technology which is said to boost fuel efficiency even further, with no loss in performance.
I have to say I was extremely impressed with this machines performance in the short time I spent on it. I would love to have one of these or the new EC140D model at the job I am currently on for a real on site evaluation, something I will be looking to arrange with our local sales manager for the South West soon, when it happens I will report on it here on Digger.
My next stop was to try out the new EC220DL, weighing in at around 20.9 – 24.6 tonnes depending on specification, and powered by a 128kw (174hp) 6 cylinder Volvo D6H engine. This machine was incredibly lively and smooth to operate, and left a big impression on me. The only downside was that I could not spend very long at the controls, with so many of the journalists wanting to have a go.
I climbed up to the top of the demo heap next, for a date with the largest machine on display at this event, the new EC480DL. When I arrived at the machine one of the journalists was being given instruction on how to operate the machine by one of the French Volvo demo operators.
Despite my love for the smaller all rounder construction site size machines, it was great to get back onboard something of this size. I put the machine into its maximum power setting and the sound of the Volvo D13H-D engine was a pure delight as it powered up in reaction to my touch on the controls. I was asked to backfill a large hole that some of the others before me had excavated. The 256kw (348hp) engine powered the large 3.8m3 bucket into the heap effortlessly in a display of awesome hydraulic power. Once again my time was sadly limited on the machine, but what time I spent on it was an enjoyable experience.
The C Series excavators were good machines, but the all new D Series models are even better, and I for one look forward to spending more time with the latest Volvo excavators in the future.