Will the compact excavator ever outdig the TLB?

Yanmar is one of the pacesetters in the compact excavator market globally.

There is general consensus that the compact excavator is fast growing as a tool of preference on South African sites, and Justin Nicoll, MD of Force 8, the local supplier of the Yanmar range of compact excavators, shares the same sentiment.

“I would most certainly agree. Customers are benefiting from the versatility of small excavators on sites and increased productivity. The compact excavator seems to be very much gaining its ground. Its abilities have been underestimated for a long time,” argues Nicoll. He believes that mid-sized units such as the 8-tonne are taking trenching work away from the tried-and-tested TLB, and believes that it is a matter of time before the compact excavator becomes the prime tool of choice considering the comparative production speeds.

He tells Equipment Africa that in terms of uptake, leading sectors are pretty evenly divided between the construction and agriculture industries. “Applications are probably in thirds, split between maintenance, site work and a very consistent call for demolition,” says Nicoll.

In terms of market drivers, Nicoll says there are a variety of factors. “The machines are purpose-built to work in confined circumstances and accordingly have become invaluable in those specific applications,” he says. “They get into buildings, can be craned quite easily and our smallest can even get shifted in a regular lift for doing internal demolition.”

“Technology and productivity go hand in hand. The Yanmar product is superbly refined and not costly to operate. Reliability is crucial to meeting production quotas and targets and well developed products like this range of the much needed uptime,” adds Nicoll. Force 8 has Yanmar’s models ranging between 1 to 8 t. The 5 t category is said to be the most buoyant nationally at this stage.

“Our new series is a superb machine with a variety of new features especially in relation to fuel savings. We also have some longstanding features such as a factory-fitted hydraulic quick coupler on most models, which has long since set us apart from most of our competitors. Yanmar invented Zero Tail Swing too, having truly pioneered development and refinement of the compact excavator over many years,” says Nicoll.

Equipment Africa says: The backhoe loader is regarded as the “pick and shovel” of the local construction industry. It is a solution that has proved itself over years. But, compact excavator suppliers believe their tool is fast gaining enough trust on local sites, and the swiftness in production is a key driver, especially in trenching applications. It can also negotiate very tight spaces and can squeeze through even the tightest working areas where the TLB may not be able to go. But, it’s just a matter of choosing a right tool for the job at hand!

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