Picking the right attachment
28 April 2022
Leila Steed looks at the latest niche and general construction attachments and the flexibility they can offer contractors.
Having access to just a few key attachments can enable construction sector contractors to maximise profits, by taking on a wide variety of projects.
Vitally important when it comes to surviving in an industry that can be prone to rapid and volatile price shifts, the latest attachments on the European market lend themselves to an ever-increasing number of construction sector applications, both general and niche.
Attachments ideal for heavy-duty jobs
For example, Caterpillar’s new Performance Series Hammers are ideal for heavy-duty tasks such as demolition and quarrying.
The Cat H190 S and the H215 S models are the largest in the attachment range, which comprises seven other models, and offer 370 to 530 and 300 to 520 hammer blows per (bpm) minute respectively.
Built for high production, the models are said to deliver consistent breaking power and emit less waste from internal heat, which allows more power to be delivered to the tool.
In addition to featuring a buffering material that dampens vibration feedback to the carrier, the hammers can also be configured for joystick or pedal control to suit operator preferences.
“With piston and tool matched in diameter and mass, these new hammers offer increased power transmission frequency,” says Cat.
“Operators can switch power mode from high frequency/low power to low frequency/high power, giving the ability to fine tune power to the material being broken.”
The H190 S and H215 S, which were launched in December in of last year, were specifically designed for use with Cat’s next gen excavators.
While the H190 S is sized for mounting on Cat machines with operating weights of between 43 and 80 t - which includes the Cat 349 through to the 374 excavator models, the larger H215 S can be used with the 374 and 395 machines, weighted at between 65 and 120 tonnes.
Hydraulic breakers for smaller carriers
In contrast, the latest hydraulic breakers from Spain-based equipment manufacturer Tabe are designed for smaller carriers. The MT 195 and MT 800 can be mounted on machines weighing between 3 and 5 tonnes and 11 to 14 tonnes respectively.
Launched last year and retaining the monoblock (one-piece body) design Tabe is known for, both the MT 195 and MT 800 offer greater impact energy than previous models produced by the company.
“We launched new MT 195 and MT 800 models last year and, following this design, we are updating the rest of our light range,” says a spokesperson from Tabe.
“The aim is to offer more efficient breakers, more powerful with less consumption of fuel.” While the 200kg MT 195 delivers 875 to 1,200bpm, the MT 800 is designed for use with excavators in the midi range, weighing 760kg and delivering between 500 and 875bpm.
Although hydraulic breakers may be the most common type of attachment on the European construction equipment market (not counting standard buckets of course) – used on everything from big industrial projects to home improvement works – shears and screening and crushing buckets play a key role in the heavy construction, demolition, recycling, quarrying and infrastructure sectors.
Series II FS45 shear
Over recent months a plethora of new models have hit the market. Among these is the Series II FS45 shear from Shearcore – a subsidiary of US-based Exodus Global.
The Series II FS45 shear, part of the manufacturer’s Fortress mobile product range, is engineered to provide a high strength to weight ratio and incorporates nitrocarburized swivel component that help provide a long service life.
It is made from 6” high-yield structural plate steel and comprises a two-piece piercing tip with zipper seams and dowl pins, as well as a longer razor blade that sits outside of the guide blades.
Shearcore says, “The shear is designed with a significantly enlarged pivot group that eliminates the need for auto guide and dramatically improves performance and durability of the shear.”
According to the manufacturer, the model is available in two different versions – the 5.4-tonne FS45R and the 5.13-tonne FS45S, which both offer a jaw opening of 711mm.
Snow and winter construction attachments
For contractors carrying out work in cold climates that are prone to snowfall, Doosan Bobcat’s angle broom attachment can be used to sweep away light snow, dirt and dried mud and other debris.
Available in four widths that range from 132 to 213cm, the attachment can sweep flush to a kerb and also offers both forward and reverse rotation to sweep snow away from obstacles such as doors and gutters.
Particularly useful for businesses that provide ongoing services as part of framework contracts, the Bobcat angle broom (pictured on an L85 compact wheeled loader) is just one of an extensive and growing range of winter attachments offered by the manufacturer.
Katinka Kincses, Product Manager for Attachments at Doosan Bobcat EMEA, says, “There is a growing trend for municipalities and their contractors to use versatile solutions, with powerful compact machinery increasingly taking the place of manual labour.”
Indeed, Bobcat’s specialist winter range also includes snow blades and V-blades, snow pushers, snow blowers, scrapers and salt and sand spreaders.
Similarly, Demarec’s DXS scrap shear is also designed for heavy duty tasks, such as demolition and scrap metal processing.
Described by manufacturer as the “strongest scrap shear on the market”, the DXS scrap model is available in four sizes for mounting on excavators weighing between 18 and 80 tonnes.
It includes Demarec’s patented DemaPower 2.0 cylinder, which is said to give the model the same performance as “shears one or two sizes up”.
“This is because of our patented DemaPower 2.0 cylinder technique,” says Demarec.
“Due to the DemaPower 2.0 cylinder with four pressure chambers and 25% more power in combination with a double-acting speed valve, which ensures extremely fast cycle times.”
According to the manufacturer, which operates as part of Kinshofer Group, the DXS scrap shear also features an offset apex jaw design that enables it to start cutting the material as it is being compressed. Once contractors are done breaking up all their onsite materials with shears and hammers, attention must then be paid to what to do with it next. Enter crushing and screening buckets.
Advantages of crushing and screening buckets
The main advantage of crusher buckets is that they give contractors the ability to crush and reuse materials onsite quickly, contributing to a reduction in waste and a more circular economy.
A case in point is the Rockcrusher bucket attachment from Rock.Zone.
It can handle a variety of materials including concrete, asphalt, glass and ceramics, natural rock and brick, as well as mixed inert material, making it suitable for demolition, quarrying, excavation, recycling, infrastructure and general construction applications, particularly on smaller sites.
The crusher bucket produces a consistent cube-shaped aggregate end product “with very little fines and flaky material”, that contractors can either reuse on site or sell on.
With different sized models available (the RC 7R, RC 9R RC 11R, RC 13R) for excavators in the 12, 20, 25 and 35-tonne classes, the bucket offers an operating cost of “less than one Euro per tonne”, says Rock.Zone.
According to Germany-based Rock.Zone, formerly known as Rokla, the Rockcrusher attachment features a central lubrication system and replaceable wear parts that help to reduce downtime.
Similarly, screening buckets also enable contractors on smaller sites to meet their project requirements.
Take the newly updated VSE screening buckets from Simex for example, which are designed for separating different-sized materials on-site.
Adjustable screening bucket
Simex’s VSE range consists of four models for excavators weighing between 8 and 45 tonnes. Key features include the ability to instantly adjust the output size of material from inside the excavator cab and a new screen tool system inside the bucket called FIT.
The FIT system comprises five independent but interlocking parts that can be easily replaced.
Simex says, “This means 75% less maintenance costs, since it is possible to replace even just one single disc or blade. The system allows multiple configurations depending on the materials to be screened.”
These features make the VSE buckets particularly useful for backfilling tasks and helps to reduce waste by increasing the reuse of existing site materials.
“In backfilling operations of underground pipes, especially in the Oil and Gas industry, the instant adjustable output size leads to a numerous benefit in terms of saving of time and money,” says the manufacturer.
With new attachments continuing to enter the market, promising ever greater improvements to safety, efficiency and versatility of construction equipment, help buyers choose the right equipment, more information can be found on KHL’s online equipment directory, Yellow Book.
Masterhitch launches concrete pourer attachment
When it comes to more niche attachments, leading UK quick hitch manufacturer Masterhitch Europe believes it has designed one with “several unique” features.
Its newly launched Masterhitch Concrete Pourer enables construction workers to pour up to one cubic metre of concrete – or another type of fluid material - evenly and easily.
The attachment features two spouts; one facing towards the machine and the other away from it, giving the operator a choice of how to pour it.
The unit, which can be supplied with a either a standard pin or quick hitch attachment, allows users to spread an even level of concrete in two directions, without the need for site workers to be “in the immediate vicinity” during the pouring.
This is something the manufacture says it hopes will “avoid future tragedies”, such as the one that claimed the life of Nicholas Hall when, in 2016, he was crushed by an excavator bucket as it was pouring concrete at a site in Blantyre, Scotland”.
Masterhitch’s Engineering Manager, Sean Green, says, “Various customer feedback and research told us that this attachment was a very much needed product to enter the market.
“We began design work several months ago and held focus groups along the way with some of our top clients, getting them to test out the prototypes for themselves. This really helped us achieve the best possible product design.”
The Concrete Pourer can be used with any carrier machine with an operating weight of between 8 and 24 tonnes, which according to the manufacturer, is something that cannot be done with other similar products on the market.
Transporting construction equipment attachments
With onsite versatility the driving force behind the development of every attachment, Tobroco-Giant’s latest attachment is a multi-purpose tool that can also be used to transport other attachments.
The new Tobroco-Giant Levelling Frame for wheeled loaders is primarily designed to level sand, gravel and earth surfaces, in preparation for tasks such as paving or groundwork.
However, it is also equipped with attachment points that allow it to carry other loader attachments.
Available in widths of between 130 and 250 cm and with a number of hitch options, when the Levelling Frame is mounted on the wheeled loader other attachments can then be stacked onto it compactly, and transported securely on the same trailer at the same time.
“When it comes to the attachments that can be inserted into and stacked on the frame, there is a wide range of options. Whether the pallet forks are standard, with side shift or completely hydraulic, they all fit in the frame,” says Tobroco-Giant.
“Regarding the range of buckets that can be placed on top of the levelling frame, the possibilities are endless. Earth buckets, grading buckets, high volume buckets and stone buckets are just a few examples of the attachments that can be supplied.”