South African earthmoving equipment manufacturer and supplier Bell Equipment is expanding its partnership with Japanese excavator specialist Kobelco Construction Machinery (Kobelco) with a range of three mini excavator models and three larger models launched in April.
Bell is the exclusive distributor and support service provider for the Kobelco range of excavators in Southern Africa.
In June 2017, Bell announced the Kobelco partnership by offering the standard 21 t, 26 t and 35 t excavators. The addition of the larger units – 38 t, 50 t and 85 t – gives Bell a standard range of six machines, thereby providing the company with a suitably matched loading tool across the spectrum of its Bell articulated dump trucks for the construction, quarrying and mining sectors, Bell Equipment product marketing manager Stephen McNeill tells Mining Weekly.
The larger models are well suited to mining and quarrying applications and over ten have been supplied to the industry so far.
The mini excavator models range from 5.5 t to 13.5 t and complement the larger excavator models. The three mini models are the 5.5 t SK55SRX, the 7.5 t SK75SR and the 13.5 t SK135SR.
“All three mini excavator models feature a short rear swing that reduces the turning radius for superior manoeuvrability in limited spaces,” reiterates McNeill.
As interest in the 5.5 t and 7.5 t excavator segment grows in Southern Africa, and the three models all feature Kobelco’s innovative short rear swing excavator technology, McNeill believes that the excavators will gain strong market acceptance locally.
A differentiating feature of the SR range of mini excavators is Kobelco’s proprietary integrated noise and dust reduction cooling system (iNDr), which comprises an airtight engine compartment with an offset duct that connects the air intake to the exhaust outlet. The addition of insulation material reduces engine noise, while the iNDr filter in the intake systems prevents dust penetration for a quieter, cleaner engine, claims McNeill. The iNDr system and insulation materials support the performance of the cooling unit and allows for easier maintenance.
Further, all the excavator models feature the same machine-efficient technology to promote optimum performance and improved cost efficiency while simultaneously taking due care of the environment by reducing fuel burn through hydraulic and engine efficiencies, McNeill highlights.
There are two digging modes that enable the excavators to operate using less fuel: H mode for heavy-duty loads and higher performance, and S mode for normal operations. The standard Auto-Idling-Stop feature further reduces fuel consumption, shutting down the engine automatically when it is on standby.
Electronics significantly affect the versatility of the excavators in terms of switching between different functions and from a diagnostics point of view. Therefore, Kobelco incorporates its proprietary Intelligent Control System, an advanced computerised system that responds quickly to sudden changes in the hydraulic load, ensuring that the engine runs efficiently with minimum wasted output.
The Kobelco 5.5 t to 35 t machines are factory-fitted with two-way piping and with foot-operated controls so that most hydraulic-operated attachments can be fitted to an excavator without modifications.
Hydraulic flow can also be adjusted from inside the cab, which alleviates the need for flow gauges and mechanical adjustments to the pump. This is standard on all excavators up to, and including, the SK500HDLC. Kobelco machines also allow for the switching between single and bi-directional hydraulic flow within the cab.
In terms of safety, the rectangular cabs feature a retractable seat belt and a travel alarm, as well as mounting points on the cab structure for additional front and roof guarding. The cabs are designed to offer operators a quiet environment, with a reclining seat and increased visibility. The analogue gauges have large print displays and the glare-reducing visors are easy to read in any working condition.
The ground-level maintenance also allows for safe, easy access for quick and efficient daily checks and routine servicing. Thermal guards prevent contact with hot components during inspection, while a firewall separates the pump compartment from the engine.
“Our other Kobelco models have been extremely well received by the market and are running seamlessly in many applications throughout the country and we expect our mini excavators and larger machines to expand on this achievement and enable us to further deliver on clients’ equipment requirements,” concludes McNeill.