Volvo swings toward slim markets

  • 05-Mar-2009 03:08 EST

The maneuverability of  Volvo's new ECR305CL short-swing excavator allows the 2743-mm (108-in) machine to take up limited space during construction projects.

While suburban housing projects stumble, major cities are still seeing development despite the credit problems. Space is always an issue in metropolitan areas, and to meet the need for stable machines in confined areas, Volvo has introduced the ECR305CL, a short-swing-radius excavator. It follows two other smaller models, the ECR145CL and ECR235CL, both in the short-swing class and both released within the last 12 months, emphasizing a steady market for such machines.

The main differentiator from other excavators is the rear overhang, which is reduced to let the ECR305CL swing 76-mm (3-in) outside its own width, provided it uses the 813-mm (32-in) shoe. This maneuverability allows the 2743-mm (108-in) machine to work close to walls, as well as on a single road lane, allowing better traffic flow during construction and avoiding permits or night-only construction along busy thoroughfares. Operator error from not anticipating rear distance is also less likely, claims the company.

Stability of short-swing equipment is often a concern, as the breakout forces and weight balances must be maintained without the same counterbalance setups. Volvo has designed the ECR305CL to give it a maximum lifting capacity of 11.1 ton (10 t) at 6-m (20-ft) distance and 1.5-m (5-ft) height. The maximum reach of 10.4 m (34 ft) and maximum depth of 6.9 m (23 ft) are only slightly less than comparable rear-overhang excavators due to increased swing torque of 117,600 N·m (86,740 lb·ft).

Moving 34.8 ton (31.6 t) around is done via a 7.1-L Volvo D6E EAE3 six-cylinder diesel producing 153-kW (205-hp) gross at 1800 rpm and 965 N·m (712 lb·ft) at 1350 rpm. The hydraulics have several modes for optimized performance based on job requirements. Maximum cycle times come from the summation system, which combines the flow from both hydraulic pumps to all areas, while boom, arm, and swing settings give priority to those respective operations. Two variable displacement axial piston pumps of 263-L/min (69-gal/min) capacity provide the main power, while a 18-L/min (4.8-gal/min) gear pilot pump is in reserve. Several buckets are available, between 1 to 2.1 m (3 to 7 ft).

Cab engineering had to incorporate the tight swing radius, though Volvo says the size requirements do not equal discomfort. Sitting on separate hydraulic damping mounts, the cab comes with pressurized and filtered climate control, a remote-control audio system, fully adjustable seating, and an LCD monitor showing real-time machine information and hydraulic settings to make the ECR305CL easier to work in. Options include a rear-view camera and opening roof hatch. The sliding cab door enables access in the tight confines in which the ECR305CL is designed to work, and a removable lower windshield allows closer inspection and added ventilation.

Most of the service points are located together for convenience along the side of the machine. An optional CareTrack satellite-linked monitoring system performs self-diagnostics and issues alerts promptly to prevent costly damage.

The engine meets Tier 3 requirements and low noise levels, and in keeping with Volvo’s environmental initiatives, 95% of the materials in the ECR305CL are recyclable.

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