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JCB shows new quartet

JCB held the UK launch of four new mini excavators at the Show. Nick Johnson reports.

Visitors to last year’s Show were greeted by the sight of JCB’s new 10-tonne class 100C-1 midi excavator. That was one of six ‘next generation’ midis and, having now established these machines, the company used Show 10 to publicly reveal smaller compact excavators with the same ‘DNA’.

The four new British designed-and-built minis have operating weights from 4.8 tonnes to 5.5 tonnes. They also give hirers a choice of conventional, reduced or zero tail swing configurations. The flagship is the conventional tail 57C-1 with an operating weight of 5483kg. It scores by having the same spacious cab as introduced for its bigger brothers, including the 100C-1.

Fitted with cabs that are only 200mm shorter are the zero tail swing 48Z-1, the compact radius 51R-1 and the zero tail swing 55Z-1. Also sporting rugged all steel bodywork, they replace the more ‘curvy’ 8045Z, 8050ZTS/RTS and 8055ZTS/RTS. The 4792kg 48Z-1 was one of the highlights of JCB’s stand. Here, visitors could check out the machine’s full-colour display screen and the automotive-style rotary controller. The operator can set auxiliary hydraulic flows for two separate attachments from the cab, while a menu button switches the controller between throttle modes, including a one-touch idle function, and menu mode.

All the new machines offer nine power modes, including Eco and an H+ heavy digging mode. Operational prowess is also enhanced by the ability to order them with an angling dozer blade and factory- fitted, tilt rotator-ready hydraulics. For the UK, the four newcomers have 36kW Kohler diesel engines designed to meet Stage IIIA emissions regulations. If a site has an ultra-low emission requirement, they can be supplied with Tier 4 Final Perkins engines.

Site safety officers will welcome the

standard fitting of JCB’s 2Go additional hydraulic activation safety system. An optional green beacon indicator to confirm seat belt fastening is available, as are bright LED work lights which stay on for three minutes after machine shutdown for safe exit in dark conditions.

Nick Johnson at the controls of the 57C-1.

Another interesting introduction for machines of this weight range is an integral Safe Lift system. This provides a green-amber-red graphic in the monitor panel, with an audible warning if the machine approaches overload. This is included as standard when hose burst check valves have been specified.

Just before the Show, JCB demonstrated its new minis at a quarry near La Manga in Spain. Here it was possible to see the effectiveness of the Safe Lift system. The location also enabled the machines to be put through their paces, and the conventional tail swing 57C-1, in particular, coped well with the tough digging conditions. The H+ mode contributed greatly to its ability to break through the hard ground and prise out some sizeable rocks. Swinging a heavy rock in the bucket at full stretch revealed excellent stability and good slew braking.

To aid operation in harsh conditions, the machines have an upgraded hydraulic system, to provide higher tear-out forces, and a re-designed dig end, with a sturdy four-plate construction dipper arm. This is now fully bushed to increase the greasing interval to 500 hours.

At the Show, JCB also revealed an updated 8018 Utility specification mini. This 1800kg class model also now gets a fully bushed dig end with 500-hour greasing, as well as LED work lights. For its utility role, it comes with reflective decals, additional counterweight guarding, a hand-held tool circuit and street pad dozer blade protection.

• The 48Z-1 was one of JCB’s major product launches at Show 10. 37 01889 530312

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