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Long Reach excavator: How to choose the right one

Long reach excavators

Typically used for excavation work over longer distances, for example, for all those hard-to-reach areas, and to maximise production. While externally it is a single bucket excavator, the design of a long reach excavator can withstand higher loads, resulting in greater excavation force and lifting capacity. This technique allows excavation at greater depths of increased complexity, i.e. excavating larger volumes of soil and moving it over greater distances, than a conventional crawler or wheeled excavator. This type of excavator therefore has several times the performance of those with a shorter, conventional boom.
These excavators are capable of carrying out work in remote and inaccessible areas. The machine can cope with tasks that exceed the capabilities of other specialist equipment. However, efficiency can only be achieved with adequate operator experience. We will now take a look at the next generation of long reach excavators with Andrius Zakšauskas, Product Manager for Cat® bulky construction equipment at Avesco Lithuania, www.avesco-cat.com/lt/produktai/nauja-catr-statybine-technika/ekskavatoriai.

Applications: from mining to construction

Historically, excavators have been used since ancient Egyptian and Roman times as a means of mechanising the dredging of riverbeds and canals. A longer boom is precisely what is needed for the mechanised dredging of riverbeds and canals. Therefore, the origins of the long reach excavator go back to antiquity.

This type of machine is nothing more than a simple bucket excavator. At the same time, however, it has major design differences from other excavators. The main difference is the long boom, which extends the range of applications, allowing access to hard-to-reach areas, special project orders and other challenging tasks. These machines are designed for the toughest working conditions and can be seen not only in excavation work over longer distances but also, for example, in the removal of topsoil from the surface of building rock, the formation of high-level embankments, the construction of land reclamation systems, the moving, loading or unloading of building materials, and the cleaning of various reservoirs.

How to choose the proper long reach excavator

Long reach excavators are needed for all kinds of work projects that require access to hard-to-reach areas. It is therefore important not to make a mistake when choosing this excavator to carry out the task at hand. In this case, a mistake can have serious consequences, ranging from cost overruns to unfinished projects.

The first step you need to take is to assess the technical specification of the long reach excavators, i.e. to determine the parameters on which you will choose the machine.In order to make sure that the investment in the machine pays off and that no additional costs are incurred, it is essential to assess the technical specification, which is the main criterion for selecting a long reach excavator.
In addition to power, the digging depth, maximum bucket size and other criteria must be considered.

The next step is to contact your sales representative to find out:

  • how far away the machine is from a service centre;
  • what experience has been gained in servicing this equipment;
  • whether essential spare parts and maintenance tools (bearings, filters, etc.) are stocked locally, and what is the shortest possible lead time to obtain the necessary spare parts; and
  • if the warranty period can be calculated on the basis of the hours worked.

When choosing a long reach excavator, most buyers are interested primarily in the price of the machine. In fact, the price of a long reach excavator is an important factor for buyers when purchasing specialist equipment, but it is not the right deciding factor. When choosing a long reach excavator or any other equipment, you should look not only at the price, but also at other features.
Of course, price is an important criterion, so compare the prices and conditions of sale to other models on sale. Long reach excavators are not cheap, and corporate funds are often in circulation, so you need to look for credit, which equipment dealers can also provide. For example, Cat dealership Avesco Baltics offers services of Cat Financial to local companies. These services are offered on flexible terms where, along with the machinery, after-sales service and maintenance, the financial solution can also be obtained from a single source.
Cat Financial transfers the requested equipment to the company that has opted for the operating lease service for a predetermined period of time (1–5 years). The customer pays the lease payments during the contract period and has the option at the end of the contract: return the machine to the company, extend the lease or buy a second-hand machine. This service is convenient for companies with long-term contracts, such as 2–3-year projects, where specific machinery is needed but it is difficult to plan whether it will still be needed after the end of the project.
The price-quality-performance ratio plays a very important role. Therefore, you should first identify the main types of work for which the long reach excavator is to be purchased, as well as the conditions under which the work will be carried out. If, for example, the long reach excavator will have to operate in restricted conditions, the depth and accessibility of the excavation is an important consideration here. The excavator's lifting capacity and the robustness of the structure (frame) are also important factors to consider.
Moreover, we should not forget the brand awareness in Baltic countries. Modern long boom excavators operate in harsh conditions, which places special demands on the quality and frequency of maintenance. It is often the case that cheaper appliances from lesser-known manufacturers are completely depreciated due to long delivery times for spare parts and lengthy repairs or servicing. In order to avoid unnecessary costs, it is recommended that you buy your long boom excavator only from well-known brands that have extensive service networks and ensure prompt servicing.

General characteristics of long reach excavators

The robust and cost-effective Cat long reach excavators are designed to increase productivity and reduce operating costs. These machines are equipped with powerful and fuel-efficient Cat ACERTTM engines that meet all EU Stage V emission standards. In addition to fuel savings, these machines are extremely durable and offer outstanding productivity. The power of the improved hydraulic system allows the machine to handle tonnes of material with unrivalled speed and precision.
A quiet, tight and comfortable operator cab, easy access to service points, easy servicing and the benefits of quick coupling all contribute to the machine's top rating and help get the most challenging projects completed easily and quickly.
Comfort and ease of operation: all Cat long reach excavators meet the highest standards of quality and technology, and the new cab focuses on operator comfort and productivity. The spacious cab offers excellent visibility. It is equipped with highly visible and easily accessible switches. Corner rubber cushions are fitted between the cab body and the frame to dampen vibrations and sound while increasing comfort. A thick steel tube along the lower perimeter of the cab improves its resistance to fatigue and vibration.
Visual information is displayed on a colour graphic LCD monitor. It is mounted in a very convenient position and is easy to use. There is no time to be distracted by the excavator and no time to keep an eye on the readings of small instruments, so all the information is on the monitor. All the technology is integrated and controlled via the monitor – all you have to do is select the menu item you need. The multifunctional digital display shows data on the excavator's functions according to the parameters set by the operator. Menu settings are easily accessible with two clicks or screen swipes.
By activating the 2D semi-automatic digging system, the operator sees on the screen the set digging limits with the required slope angles as well as the bucket position. This means that the operator can carry out the task much faster without fear of overburden removal. This system can be upgraded to a 3D excavation system where GPS positioning is used for excavation.

The LCD display has a warning light and an audible alarm to alert of critical engine oil pressure, coolant and oil temperatures. In addition, it is possible to set the language, which clearly provides the necessary and important information on the monitor. For security reasons, the monitor asks for a PIN code – no additional anti-theft equipment is needed as the engine cannot be started without the PIN code.
For the operator's convenience, the cab is equipped with a seat that can be adjusted in various ways. For example, there is a reclining backrest, upper and lower seat slide adjustment, and height and tilt adjustment to suit your operator's comfort needs and productivity.
The cab is equipped with climate control, which not only automatically maintains the desired set temperature, but also filters the ventilation air. The switch for this system is located on the left console.
The excavator is controlled by joysticks that are adapted to the natural position of the wrist and hand, guaranteeing maximum comfort and minimum fatigue. In addition, both right and left joystick consoles can be adjusted on site to suit the individual preferences of each operator.
Overall, the new cab offers a comfortable working environment that helps the operator to remain productive and efficient throughout the working day. In a workplace with better visibility, world-class comfort levels result in less fatigue and a sufficiently optimised level of operator productivity.

Cat long reach excavator specifications*

 

Cat® model

Maximum excavation depth

Maximum reach

Digging force

(ISO) **

The motor

Load Capacity

KW

320 (SLR)

11,540 mm

15,570 mm

62 kN

Cat C7.1122
323 (SLR)

11,540 mm

15,570 mm

62 kN

Cat C7.1129
326 (SLR)

14,580 mm

18,280 mm

61 kN

Cat C7.1151
330 (SLR)

14,610 mm

18,280 mm

45 kN

Cat C7.1205

*For detailed specifications, refer to the technical specification documents.
**With standard excavation bucket.

All of the long reach excavators listed in this table can operate around the clock, with two or three shift operators.

Chassis

the tracked chassis of these excavators is assembled on an X-shaped frame, the tracks being oval in outline and driven by two-speed axial-piston hydraulic motors via planetary gearboxes. Standard tracks are 600 mm wide. These are tracks optimised for optimum performance under normal conditions and, due to the greater contact of the track with the length of the ground, are less likely to skid on loose, wet soils. However, for work in marshy or peaty areas, it is possible to order 800 mm wide tracks.
 

Engine

Cat® C7.1 ACERTTM industrial diesel engines designed to operate in tough working conditions are the ideal solution for these excavators. These engines have been developed taking into account all the research innovations that have been made in the diesel engine industry over the last few decades. These innovations help to reduce operating costs, increase durability and create added value. As you can see from the table above, these engines range in power from 122 to 205 kW. These Cat engines comply with all EU Stage V emission standards for this power category.

 

Hydraulic system

pay particular attention to the hydraulic systems of Cat tracked excavators. They allow a significant reduction in the time required to complete the job, while simultaneously reducing production costs. Hydraulic system. An advanced hydraulic system ensures an optimal balance between power and efficiency. Cat long reach excavators have a separate turning pump. This pump is connected to a mechanical drive with a closed loop that is not connected to the main hydraulic loop, so that other hydraulic functions can be performed during turns. The hydraulic system's power control distributes power evenly according to the load, resulting in shorter cycle times, increased lifting capacity and increased bucket and boom force.

The main difference between the new engine and the previous generation is in the fuel delivery equipment. Instead of mechanical injection, a common rail system is now used, which has enabled the engine to meet these standards. The main advantage of the common rail system is the wide choice of injection pressure and injection torque. This is achieved by separating pressure generation (high pressure pump) and injection (injectors).

These engines help to reduce fuel consumption. Key fuel saving features include:

  • The main control valve for the electro-hydraulic system and the large hydraulic pump allow the hydraulic engine to achieve maximum performance at lower engine speeds without affecting productivity.
  • Smart Mode (one of three operating mode settings) automatically adjusts engine and hydraulic power to maximise efficiency – using maximum power when needed and less power when it is not.
  • Cat Grade technology can improve operator efficiency by up to 45%, reducing time on the job.

These engines use an electric fan in the cooling system, which is activated by the controllers only when needed. If the radiator needs to be cleaned of dirt, plant seeds or other mechanical particles that have lodged in the radiator, the operator activates the purge mode. In this case, the cooling fan rotates in the opposite direction and blows air from the engine through the radiator to the outside.

Daily maintenance of Cat long reach excavators

All these excavators have daily maintenance points that are easily accessed unaided from the ground. Electrical and hydraulic components are optimally grouped and easy to see, while the fuel and oil filler tank is easily accessible from a dedicated safe service platform. The engine is positioned for easy access to the cooling compartment, all radiators are also in one place and accessible from the ground, and the condensing heat exchanger can be easily removed and cleaned without the need for any special tools.

Maintenance is essential in order to keep a long reach excavator in good condition during its lifetime. Operators spend most of their time with this equipment. They are the first to spot problems and can help prevent serious breakdowns. The operator must inspect the machine daily to prevent loosening of fasteners, leakage of fuel, coolant and oil, dirt and other deposits that could lead to breakdowns, accidents or even fires. For example, oil leakage from a cylinder is not just an environmental problem. In continued operation, the cylinder draws in dust and dirt, quickly contaminating the entire hydraulic system. Then, instead of simple repairs, the hydraulic system needs to be flushed and any damage to the system components repaired.
As well as checking for leaks, daily servicing includes checking the levels of fuel, oil coolant and hydraulic fluids, and topping up if necessary. This includes checking the electrical system and making sure there are no fraying or disconnected wires. Routine maintenance includes manual lubrication of the individual friction pairs of the boom and buckets. The frequency of lubrication is specified in the manufacturer's technical documentation. Friction point lubrication reduces contact stresses, part friction and wear, prevents corrosion and hardening and removes hard particles from the surface.

Avesco Baltic's activities include the sale, rental and servicing of new and pre-owned Cat construction equipment, diesel and gas-powered generators of various capacities and Cat engines for marine and locomotive engines. The company places great emphasis on supplying spare parts and servicing the machinery it sells. It offers warranty and post-warranty servicing of these machines, as well as spare parts.
Whether you are involved in construction, utilities or landscaping, Cat machinery offers solutions to help you successfully complete contracts and projects, increase the competitiveness of your services and perform any task, even the most challenging and unusual, on time. For high productivity and minimum fuel consumption, Cat machines perfectly combine innovative engineering and cutting-edge technology. An investment in Cat technology is a significant contribution to any company's reputation.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CAT® LONG REACH EXCAVATORS AND HOW TO CHOOSE IT FOR YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS,
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