For thousands of years, humans did all of their excavation by hand. The agricultural revolution saw the advent of the plough, allowing working animals to carry the brunt of the work. More recently, the industrial revolution made it possible to mechanize work, resulting in tractors replacing working animals. In the mining and construction industries, digging by hand was still employed due to the cheap cost of labour, but machines were increasingly being brought in for the most demanding tasks. Today, modern excavators come with all kinds of technology to make them easy to use and remarkably efficient and productive. In this article, we will discuss some of these technological innovations and how they are changing the game.
It is no surprise to anyone who are familiar with excavators that they are powerful machines. That power comes from the engine, which becomes increasingly large as the power demands of the excavator increase. Diesel is the most common fuel for these engines, and its price has been rising steadily for years. Recently, the clever engineers at Kubota have developed auto-idling technology, automatically reducing the RPMs and fuel consumption of their excavators when the control levers are neutral for more than four seconds.
Artificial intelligence might seem like a strange phrase in the area of digging hole, but realistically, it is the biggest innovation in the industry for decades. It is the school of thought that’s developing driverless cars and medical robots, so the benefits to the construction industry will be incredible. While slow on the uptake, the momentum is sure to grow as prices fall and consumer appreciation grows. For some companies, artificial intelligence means developing autonomous equipment, while for others, it means collaborating with a human operator using laser-guided precision and predictive movements.
Unless you are working on the mines or major large-scale construction projects, a full-size excavator is probably too big for your needs. The world’s largest excavator is nearly one million kilograms, and for most sites, an excavator could barely hold such a machine. Mini-excavators like the Kubota K008-3 are the machines for domestic and light commercial applications. Because mini-excavators are so popular, there is a lot of research going into reducing their tail swing and improving their overall operating efficiency.