Attachments: Flexible and efficient
By Sandy Guthrie24 August 2016
An attachment can be any one of a large number of different additions to a machine, but in many cases it is what gives the machine a purpose – without it, the machine is just a carrier waiting for its role to be defined.
All parts of the jobsite are covered, from construction to demolition – and all stages in between. Within this variety, the attachment companies are innovating as much as any other part of the industry. These innovations concern the attachments themselves, but new ideas are also seen in the ways that the attachment fits the machine, with ease of use and safety always at the heart of the proposition.
As with all construction machinery, some markets have different requirements, and sometimes just particular preferences. The tiltrotator, for example, has a loyal following in Nordic countries, but traditionally less so in some other regions.
Sweden’s Engcon has more than 25 years’ experience of tiltrotators, having been founded in 1990 by Stig Engström. The company describes tiltrotators as the excavator’s wrist, and the company points out that in the Nordic region, almost all excavators are fitted with one.
Engcon said, “A tiltrotator converts the excavator to a flexible and profitable link in all projects.”
It said it was a smart accessory for buckets or other tools that provided the operator with “total precision and entirely new possibilities in his or her work”.
The company said, “With a tiltrotator on the machine, the bucket or chosen tool can be tilted 45° and rotated 360° around its own axle. This makes the possibilities limitless. The excavator can stay in the same place, but nonetheless work in every direction by tilting, turning, swivelling and rotating its tool into various positions.”
Among the advantages of the tiltrotator claimed by Engcon are increased profitability and improved efficiency of the excavator. This is partly thanks to saving fuel through fewer machine moves, which it also pointed out was good for the environment.
It also said that the tiltrotator could enable precision excavation. With this in mind, it has launched a grading beam (GRB) – a new addition to the product range which it said streamlined grading work further.
Engcon said using a tiltrotator to grade surfaces was particularly efficient as the tilt and rotation functions meant the excavator had no need to be on the same level as the graded surface. It added that it was able to access areas that were previously only possible by repositioning the excavator.
Pontus Jonasson, designer at Engcon Group, said, “We noted an increasing interest in this type of product for some time and we felt that now was the right time to make a move.”
The GRB is produced in four sizes – 1,500, 2,000, 2,500 and 3,000mm – and is designed for use with a tiltrotator.
“Today, levelling without a tiltrotator is practically unthinkable, and when used together with our new grading beam, levelling is further streamlined since a bigger area is covered and the need for machine repositioning is also reduced,” said Jonasson.
Engcon said that an advantage of its new grading beam was the fact that the gate/attachment was fastened using the same bolt pattern as many other tools from the company. It said the ability to switch quickly from one gate to another provided great freedom of choice.
Another tiltrotator-focused Swedish company, Rototilt, has introduced the R3. The company said it was designed for an increasingly popular segment in the excavator market and could handle machine weights up to 12 tonnes.
Per Väppling, vice president of marketing and sales, said, “The R3 is an adaptation for larger and stronger machines with low weight and good performance.”
Earlier this year, Rototilt presented the R5 aimed at machines of 14 to 19 tonnes. The R3 is for 7 to 12 tonne machines.
“With R3, Rototilt offers the customer a product that has both the right size and characteristics,” said Väppling.
The new R3 is available with the ICS control system ICS – which Rototilt claimed was the market’s most advanced control system. It said that by adding the SecureLock option, which confirms that the attachment is correctly coupled, it was one of the world’s safest tiltrotators.
Another new feature of the tiltrotator is the newly-developed hydraulic system with new soft-sealing hydraulic couplings – ORFS. This solution handles higher pressures and, according to the company, results in better performance and lower fuel consumption.
The R3 replaces the RT30, which will be phased out this year. Sales of the Rototilt R3 will begin in the autumn.
Global interest in the tiltrotator concept is increasing, according to Rototilt, which said it had been partnering manufacturers for many years. This has now lead to a tie up with Caterpillar.
In the fourth quarter of this year, Cat is releasing a fully-integrated solution with a tiltrotator for wheeled excavators between 12 and 24 tonnes in Europe.
Anders Jonsson, CEO at Rototilt, said, “We are very proud to get this vote of confidence from Caterpillar. The complete integration is a result of team work between the companies.
“It also shows Caterpillar’s goal to be an innovative company that introduces new interesting products.”
Rototilt said the tiltrotator concept would benefit from Caterpillar’s extensive global sales and service network.
Väppling said, “We believe that the main reasons Caterpillar chose to work with Rototilt are because of our proven technical platform, our fully-controlled production line and our innovative solutions like, for example, the SecureLock safety lock.
“We have prepared ourselves for OEM-relationships for the last couple of years. OEM is an important channel to spread the tiltrotator concept around the world.”
Bas Timmers, Caterpillar work tools applications specialist, said, “We are excited to add this product to our portfolio, because tiltrotator products are used across a wide range of applications to perform any kind of excavator task more profitably.
“Caterpillar customers will have access to new cutting-edge technology that makes their Cat excavator a safer, more productive and flexible tool carrier.”
The SecureLock feature confirms the tool is coupled properly. A safety gate alerts immediately if the work tool is not connected correctly, which Cat said eliminated the risk of lost or swinging tools. It said the safety gate used dual locking circuits to maximise safety and eliminate any electrical or hydraulic faults.
For ease of operation, a positioning system is available as an option. This system connects to third-party machine-control (grade-control) systems via the Controller Area Network (CAN) communication system, which tracks the position of the work tool and shows the data on the in-cab monitor.
Caterpillar introduced the H80E/Es hydraulic hammer earlier this year. It is designed for the full range of Cat backhoe loaders and for 307 and 308 excavators, and is available in both conventional (H80E) and silenced (H80Es) versions.
The new hammer, which replaces the H75E/Es model, is completely designed and manufactured by Caterpillar, which it said gave it the distinction of being the only global manufacturer to build both hammer and carrier.
The H80E/Es delivers 1.356kj of energy at 600 to 1,500 blows per minute.
The model is described as having a lighter operating weight, compared to the previous version, which the company said resulted in greater working stability and increased carrier fuel economy. In addition, the new hammer is said to accept a wider range of hydraulic-oil flow, allowing the H80E/Es to be used with a variety of carrier brands for optimum utilisation in mixed fleets.
Sheers and grapples are also in the Cat portfolio. The new Cat S2000/S3000 series mobile shears, designed for hydraulic excavators working in scrap and demolition applications, are said to feature optimum force-to-weight ratios that yield faster cycle times and more cuts per hour, compared with previous models S340B, S365C and S385C.
Cat said that the new models, which it claimed were built with added strength and jaw protection features, could be boom- or stick-mounted. They are available in both straight (S2050, S2070, S2090) and 360° rotating (S3050, S3070, S3090) configurations. Cat said the rotating feature allowed the shear to be positioned in optimum cutting positions without moving the carrier.
Rogier Tonies, sales manager for Caterpillar work tools, said, “To maximise profitability, you need productive equipment that allows customers to manage their costs.”
The design of the new shears features a dual offset apex jaw design that is said to result in increased cutting performance and efficiency. A new patent-pending Cat bolt-on piercing tip on the upper jaw further enhances productivity when piercing is required, while also protecting the moving jaw and shielding parent metal from wear as the moving jaw travels through the lower jaw, said the manufacturer.
New Cat GSH425 and GSH525 orange peel grapples are designed with horizontal cylinders, creating a profile that Cat claimed allowed for greater material penetration and more efficient bulk-material handling.
The design is said to enhance the strength, reliability, and durability of the new grapples, which are available in both four-tine and five-tine shell configurations, in either closed or semi-closed versions, while they claim an improved rotation function.
The GSH425 and GSH525, which replace the GSH20B-series grapples, feature high grade, impact resistant steel construction that protects vulnerable areas, such as hydraulic cylinders.
Allu makes crusher buckets, and now all its different drums for its various applications and fragments fit one frame.
The company said that for the customer, this meant versatility and higher use of the unit, saving money and the presenting the opportunity to earn more money.
There are new drums with changeable blades, which the company said were useful for waste material handling, and pipeline backfilling/padding. It added that Universal blades matched most applications and materials, while the Long blades were aimed at compost and other soft materials.
There are also new stabilisation drums, which Allu said meant no more welding at the jobsite as the new X-blades were fast field replaceable in a very short time.
These drums are for mixing and crushing harder materials such as crushing asphalt or minerals.
The new Allu TS drum assembly comes in two different fragment sizes just by repositioning the screening combs. Allu said it was based on the application that the customer might choose, for example the standard blades for screening – gravel, top soil, compost, etc – or the axe blades for crushing or shredding effect, such as field bark, plastic bags shredding, or waste materials.
All Allu drums have changeable blades and now are said to have 40% more wearing surface for the blades, in addition to new design.
The Allu M buckets are specifically designed for processing and mining industries, heavy screening, material processing, soft material crushing and so on.
The standard Allu M series range covers 50 to 160 tonne excavators and 30 to 90 tonne wheeled loaders.
Ramtec also has screening buckets within its range of attachments, under the Robi name. It said all Robi screening buckets featured robust and maintenance-free gear boxes.
The Multi Master (MM) screening bucket series includes five models that are designed for screening, separating, mixing and composting. The customer can choose an excavator of 10 to 45 tonnes or a wheeled loader of 6 to 19 tonnes as a carrier, said Ramtec.
It said that the Robi CG crusher grapple had been designed for applications where demolition grapples were too weak. It claimed that the grapple’s robust structure and high power guaranteed customer satisfaction.
Its DG grapples are designed to perform all demolition and sorting tasks, it said. The DG range is said to have a wear resistant structure with optional operating weight, and a special mechanism of “double dog bones” (X link synchronising bars) that are said to produce stability and a more controlled operation. There is a two-motor option.
The Robi CC cutter crusher with long cutter blades is designed for demolishing buildings with steel structures. Its one-cylinder geometry is said to be ideal for long reach boom applications, but its design claimed to enable access to narrow, hard-to-reach areas.
The Robi RP pulveriser is described as a proven tool for secondary demolition and separation of rebar.
Its long, turnable cutting blades claim excellent wear resistance to reduce spare and replacement part costs.
Mantovanibenne said that its screening buckets line MVR – now the MSB line – has had “a radical upgrade in design and functionality”.
The buckets are said to be more compact and robust, and now allow the rotating of the basket in both directions.
The company added that another product line that faced substantial technical changes was the GR Grapple – from now on known as SGR.
Designed as a multi-function tool, it is dedicated to the demolition of non-reinforced
structures, handling debris, mixed waste, paper, wood, etc.
Mantovanibenne said recent upgrades had been focused on improving demolition capabilities. It claimed new features which included double rotation motors for stronger and more precise movements even with high loads applied; a hydraulic brake on the cylinders to extend their integrity by reducing opening/closing speed when approaching the limit switch; and a block valve to keep the shells firmly closed while moving, preventing accidental load release.
Also in the demolition field, its Multisystem range, said to be particularly popular in the German market, has been extended with the new MS15 model.
It fits excavators from 10 to 21 tonne class. Mantovanibenne said the MS line was versatile, with four jaws configurations which could be mounted on the same machine body with a very short downtime.
Volvo Construction Equipment has introduced three new buckets specifically designed to fit Volvo L110-L350 wheeled loaders – the Volvo Sand bucket, Volvo Rehandling Flat Floor bucket, and Volvo Rehandling bucket, which will replace the current model.
The company said that as they were optimised for the application, Volvo Rehandling and Volvo Sand buckets enabled wheeled loaders to perform at maximum capacity, helping customers save time, money and effort.
General Equipment Company’s 130C CUT-R-TACH is described as a cost-effective attachment for many asphalt cutting projects, such as road patching, scoring and edging, and various tasks for pipeline, street, water and sewer applications.
The 130C is said to clamp to most backhoes, wheeled loaders, road graders, dozers and other construction vehicles. No special tools, modifications or adapters are required. The patented, twin-screw pivot clamp conforms to differences in bucket and blade shapes and sizes, and can be used in forward and reverse cutting, said General Equipment.
A 343mm diameter cutting blade is machined from a special service, heat-treated alloy steel, and is said to be capable of producing smooth-sided cuts up to 140mm deep at a rate of more than 1,800m/h.
The Mega 720 broom attachment from SweepEx is built with a 1,830mm long mainframe, making it the largest unit within the Mega series.
Paladin Attachments has expanded its Bradco pallet fork offering to include new Walk‐Thru pallet forks, featuring an open design that allows the operator to step through the frame upon entry and exit for safe access to the loader.
Bradco pallet forks have a heavy duty design for skid steer loaders handling up to a 2.8 tonne capacity, and claim “excellent operator protection and visibility”.
The lever style locks provide additional leverage when operating the tine latching mechanism and the patented pull D ring for pulling or retaining loads.