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April/May 2018
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Executive Hire News › Archives › April/May 2018 › Executive Report : Electric avenue

Executive Report : Electric avenue

JCB is extending and updating its compact plant range, and has also developed an electric mini excavator. Nick Johnson reports from its World Headquarters.

With the need to operate machinery ever more quietly with increasingly low emissions in urban areas, there is much more interest in electric plant. And JCB is the latest major construction equipment manufacturer to reveal an electric mini excavator. Officially launched at the company’s World Headquarters in Staffordshire, the 19C-1 E-TEC is its first electric excavator, and is derived from the recently introduced 1,943kg 19C-1 mini.

JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said, “In producing an electric JCB mini excavator, we are offering our customers a practical and affordable solution for applications that demand zero emissions and quiet operation.” Due for launch towards the end of this year, the machine will enable hirers to offer a model for work without emissions inside buildings, basements, tunnels and underground.

Interestingly, whereas one other prominent manufacturer has produced a prototype all-electric mini with electro-mechanical actuators in place of hydraulic cylinders, JCB has retained a standard load-sensing hydraulic system. The big change is the replacement of the 11.7 kW 15.7hp) Perkins 403D-07 engine with a 48V electrical drive line, with an electric motor and modern batteries.

Self-contained power system

The motor is powered by three 104Ah Lithium-ion battery packs, providing a storage capacity of 312Ah (15kWh). These utilise advanced NMC Lithium-ion cells used in the latest cars, in a rugged housing designed to withstand the rigours of off-highway construction use. The self-contained power system means there is no requirement for an electrical power connection or cable during operation.

The 19C-1 E-TEC comes with a standard 230V input and an on-board charger that delivers a six-hour recharging capability. There is a 110V option and buyers can also select a fast-charge variant that cuts the time to reach full charge to only 2.5 hours. JCB says the motor instantly delivers greater torque than the standard machine’s diesel engine, and contends that the electric mini gives the same digging performance, aided by the retention of the Bosch Rexroth load-sensing hydraulic system.

As well as being ‘fume free’, the conventional tail swing 19C-1 E-TEC scores on quietness. Its quoted external noise level is only 7dBA, and so is approximately five times quieter than its diesel counterpart. Like the conventional machine, it is fitted with the same adjustable undercarriage and choice of digging equipment, to provide a maximum digging depth of 2,576mm with the longer 1,100mm dipper arm. The ability to handle a range of powered attachments makes it an ideal base carrier for demolition and refurbishment projects.

The 19C-1 E-TEC will be launched with the same ROPS/TOPS and FOG (falling object guard) certified canopy that is used on other
new-generation JCB compact excavators. So far there is no remote control option, but this could be added in the future for safer operation during hazardous indoor demolition work.

Aimed at the tool hire market

JCB also highlighted the latest addition to its new generation range of diesel-engined mini excavators, the 15C-1. Aimed at the tool hire market, it had its industry launch at the Executive Hire Show in February. The conventional tail swing machine shares a similar design, with the same choice of digging equipment, as the 16C-1 introduced last year. Both machines have an 11.7kW (15.7hp) Perkins diesel engine, although the 15C-1 uses a gear pump, while the hydraulic system on the 16C-1 has a variable displacement piston pump.

The 15C-1 uses a shorter fixed undercarriage, with single speed tracking, long pitch tracks and mechanical track tensioners. The higher specification 16C-1 has a variable width undercarriage and twin speed tracking motors. Both models can be supplied with either a canopy or a fully enclosed ROPS cab. The latter scores by using flat glass, which can be cheaper and easier to replace than the curved glass found on some other minis. The use of 100% steel bodywork maximises impact protection and facilitates repair.

As was seen at the Show, JCB has worked with the manufacturer, Ifor Williams, to produce a matched two-axle plant trailer for the 15C-1. This can legally carry the machine fitted with a 1,000mm-wide grading bucket on the trailer bed, whilst a lockable front compartment holds two digging buckets (300mm and 450mm) plus a JCB HM012T hydraulic breaker attachment. The 15C-1 has no fewer than ten tie-down points, positioned on the undercarriage and upper structure.

Seven-strong dumper range 

Following its announcement last year that it would be replacing the site dumpers that it was sourcing from Terex, JCB is now producing its own seven-model range. Designed by JCB engineers, these are being manufactured on a new production line beside the company’s famous backhoe loaders at the World Headquarters.

At the Show, JCB displayed the production version of its previously announced 7.0-tonne 7T-1 Front Tip Hi-Viz model, as well as providing first sight of its new 3.0-tonne Swivel Tip 3T-1. Fitted as standard with JCB’s new Sitesafe dumper cab, the former machine addresses industry concerns about safety, especially forward visibility. It cleverly uses a low-slung chassis design and a revised skip to give huge improvements in this regard.

The 7T-1 Hi-Viz, together with the manufacturer’s new 6.0 and 9.0-tonne capacity articulated site dumpers, have a Stage IIIB emissions compliant 55kW (74hp) JCB EcoMAX diesel engine. They are also equipped with a JCB Powershuttle transmission and JCB axles. Produced to ROPS/FOPS Level II standards, the Sitesafe cab has a reinforced frame and an impact-protective front screen. JCB states that it has been designed and tested to withstand a front dump impact and side slewing impact from a 13-tonne excavator.

For driver safety and comfort, each of the new machines has a retractable Hi-Viz orange lap belt. Site safety officers will be pleased to discover that there is also a sequenced drive-inhibit system, ensuring the lap belt is worn. To engage drive, the operator must be properly seated with the belt buckled.

A 27.4kW (36.8hp) Kubota D1703 engine powers the 3.0-tonne capacity dumpers. They also have a Dana manual or hydrostatic transmission, and Dana axles. They incorporate a robust dual-pin centre joint design with neat hose routing, a fold-down ROPS frame and a tilting seat-base and rear bonnet for service access.

Small high-tip model  

Of particular interest to tool hirers, the ‘baby’ of the dumper range is the 1.0-tonne capacity 1T-1 high-tip dumper. It has a 15.5kW (20.8hp) Kubota D905 engine and a hydrostatic driveline with individual Poclain wheel motors. Maximum skip discharge height, when fully raised,
is 2,392mm and the machine’s width with standard tyres is 1,106mm.

Hirers keen to add a compact tracked loader with a difference will appreciate that JCB is now offering its rubber tracked Teleskid for sale in the UK. The 3TS-8T now joins the wheeled 3TS-8W, offering a maximum load height of 4.1m and a forward reach of 2.25m. Powered by a 55kW (74hp) JCB EcoMAX diesel engine, the 3TS-8T provides an increased tipping load with boom retracted and extended. The greater operational capability provided by the Teleskid’s telescopic boom could help grow the UK compact tracked loader market. •

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