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Tuck-back Takeuchi


Nick Johnson reports on the latest Takeuchi FR mini excavator whose minimal front and tail swing allows operation in more confined spaces.

Whilst the use of ‘ultra’ swing compact excavators, with minimal front and tail swing, is common in Japan, only Takeuchi offers a CE marked range in this country. The latest addition to its FR series is the TB128FR, which weighs 3360kg and will have its UK exhibition debut at the Executive Hire Show.

The ability to slew around with a loaded bucket tucked up beside the cab minimises disruption to traffic during road works.

Takeuchi first introduced its FR compact excavator design in Europe at Intermat in May 2000. Whilst there initially was a 1.5 tonne FR mini, bigger machines proved more popular here, and the current ultra-swing

range comprises the 3860kg TB138FR, the 5615kg TB153FR and the 8325kg TB180FR, as well as the latest model.

Introduced as a replacement for the former TB28FR, the TB128FR incorporates Takeuchi’s clever tuck-back boom design. On FR series excavators, the boom foot is mounted between two parallel swinging arms. This patented parallelogram arrangement allows a standard digging bucket (maximum width 460mm) to be brought right back alongside the machine’s cab, to allow 360° slewing in an area much less than is required by conventional minis of the same size class.

Minimal front overhang

With the bucket folded right back beside the cab, the front of the TB128FR only protrudes around 210mm beyond the side of its track. This arrangement allows digging in front of the machine and discharge into a dumper behind it, whilst occupying a working width of less than 1.9m. The geometry also allows parallel digging right across the front of the excavator, including in line with either track. Unlike the traditional boom offset arrangement found on compact excavators, the cab continues to face forward when digging in line with either track. On a conventional mini with an angling boom kingpost, the superstructure and cab has to be turned more when offset digging, and the operator does not get such a direct view of the operation.

To tailor the FR machines for self-drive hire, Takeuchi has wisely made the tuck-back boom operation as simple to use as possible.


The parallelogram frame incorporates a mechanical pin lock that prevents the boom being angled back into the front of the cab. As the boom base support arms are swung to the right, the pin is automatically retracted once the boom is beside the machine’s cab. The system also sensibly incorporates electronic sensors which automatically prevent the boom being angled back until the operator has activated an Attachment Interference Prevention Switch (AIPS).

Every time the machine is switched on, the system assumes that a wide attachment may be fitted, and boom tuck-back is restricted. Where a bucket with a width of 460mm or less is attached, full tuck- back can be achieved after the operator has turned the rotary AIPS setting to the M position.

Like Takeuchi’s conventional swing TB228, the TB128FR is powered by a 17.5kW (23.5hp) Yanmar 3TNV82A engine. The FR model is 460kg heavier, 100mm wider and has a slightly reduced maximum digging depth at 2575mm compared with 2875mm. Rear overhangs (beyond the edge of the tracks) are 555mm for the TB228 and only 85mm for the TB128FR. However, operators of the ultra swing mini need to be aware that, when latched back, the fully opened cab door does protrude a little beyond the machine’s rounded superstructure.

The TB128FR has a tilt-up cab to aid service access, two-speed travel, pilot operated hydraulics for the main functions and an updated engine monitoring system. The price premium is in the order of 8 to 10% over the TB228, but hirers should be able to command a higher rate for a machine that can work in very confined spaces.

A significant number of UK hirers have added the larger FR models to their fleets, and Takeuchi has high hopes that the TB128FR will find favour with those wanting a 3.4 tonne class mini offering distinct operational advantages.

• 01706 657722

The boom geometry allows parallel digging right across the front of the excavator, including in line with either track.

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