Manufacturers continue to refine the performance features of their machines. For example, a new hydraulic system on the Bobcat 331, 334, 331E (extended arm) and 430 models incorporates a dual-outlet piston pump, closed-center control valve, high-pressure hydraulic system and pilot-control travel system. The result is better operating performance, a smoother ride and better fuel efficiency.
Gehl's compact excavator lineup also features advanced hydraulic systems that enable the machines to maximize available engine horsepower with even greater efficiency.
And on JCB models, one of the highlights is precise, easy-to-use controls."On our machines, when you stop your motion with the hand control, the motion of the machine stops. It becomes a very easy machine to become very precise with," says Rafferty.
Advanced technologies will continue to play a major part in the future of compact machines. As with the automobile industry, Rabe believes electronics, as well as GPS, will be instrumental in meeting ever more stringent emissions standards. He also foresees computers being used in more units for quick troubleshooting and diagnosis of machine performance and efficiency.
Connor anticipates we'll see more advancements in operator comfort, such as lower sound levels, less vibration and more amenities like air conditioning and radios. He also predicts additional refinement of hydraulic systems, as well as the balance of desired cycle times with power output, to further create a smooth, controllable machine. ¦
When Does It Make Sense To Rent?
When it comes to foundation work, light demolition, small earthmoving jobs, utility installations, etc., a compact excavator is a valuable piece of equipment. But how valuable is it in terms of real dollars?
Let's figure an average purchase price to be about $30,000. Add up the tangible out-of-pocket expenses, including taxes and insurance, plus interest if you borrow the money. Next, consider ongoing regular maintenance (parts and labor), plus bigger repairs later on. You also need to include warehousing, transportation, etc. Assuming an equipment usage life of five years, you're conservatively looking at a cost of about $10,000 a year to own a compact excavator.
Now compare these numbers to a typical renting scenario. For most jobs, you will probably need the compact excavator on site for no more than a week or 10 days at a time. Based on a standard rental rate of about $620 a week, you could do eight week-long projects a year with a compact excavator for less than half the cost of owning it - $4,960 vs. $10,000. If you need it fewer than eight times, your savings are even more impressive.
Using these figures, renting would save you roughly $25,000 on that machine over a five-year span.
"It's just not cost-effective to own," says Barry Reeck, general superintendent, Weis Builders Construction Co., Minneapolis, MN. "Our rental company provides us with the equipment we need, when we need it - near-new, well-serviced equipment. It's a big benefit to us."
The rental company is also responsible for parts, maintenance and transportation, enabling you to gain the benefits of a premium machine without the costs or responsibilities of ownership. If the compact excavator needs service or repairs, someone else does the work. When you're finished with it at your jobsite, just send it back. You don't have to worry about how to dispose of the machine at the end of its usable life.
In addition, renting the equipment enables you to gain flexibility by ordering the exact size and model needed to fit each job. "Compact excavators often need attachments, too, like a breaker or hammer or different size bucket," says Bill Strickler, an area fleet manager for RSC. "Whatever it is that a project may call for, it can be conveniently rented here, as well."