Dynamite Comes in Small Packages

Mini Excavator Range 

Impressive breakout force, generous bucket size for a compact machine, great fuel efficiency, and versatility: these are the qualities that have led Swaziland-based Canterbury Plant Hire to order a second Cat® 307E mini hydraulic excavator from Barloworld Equipment this year, according to plant operations manager Lourens du Preez.

Du Preez says Canterbury’s first Cat 307E, delivered by Barloworld in 2015, has completed more than 1 374 hours in construction applications where it is in particularly high demand for digging foundations, and in irrigation including drainage installation, trenching and backfilling. “Fuel efficiency for us and our customers is one of the best features,” he notes.

The largest in the Cat mini hydraulic excavator range at 7 100 kg, the 307E is a strong contender in the 7 to 8 tonne machine class with 43 kW gross power, 6 340 mm reach, 4 070 mm dig depth and  5 150 mm dump height.  Stick and bucket digging forces on the Cat 307E productively perform at 37 kN and 50 kN respectively.

Its size to power ratio gives it excellent versatility across multiple industries from agriculture to construction, plant hire and mining.

Surprisingly tough

Barloworld also offers three other mini hydraulic excavator models in southern Africa. These start with the Cat 301.7D, the most compact at 1 735 kg with a canopy and extending undercarriage and well suited to internal building demolition tasks equipped with a Cat hammer. Completing the range are the Cat 303.5E2 CR and Cat 305.5E2 CR, both popular choices for construction and plant hire.

Du Preez believes the breakout force of the Cat 307E easily matches that of a backhoe loader. “To our amazement this machine has handled areas where we thought we would need a 20 tonne machine, and the 0.33 cubic metre, 850 mm bucket size adds to its appeal. One of my customers commented that the Cat 307E outperformed a backhoe loader on a project involving digging foundations and trenching in very rocky terrain.”                                           

Mini HEX two

He adds that the dozer blade for backfilling has also earned the approval of Canterbury’s customers.

Adding to its flexibility, Caterpillar’s Cat 307E can also be configured as a “front shovel” by turning the bucket around to perform tasks such as utility pipe services, backfilling along walls and cleaning material from inside truck beds.                                                                                                                                                    

“Barloworld Equipment goes out of its way to assist us to get the most out of our fleet, so we know what this machine is capable of and can in turn ensure that our customers get the best out of it.” 

Smarter ways of working

Caterpillar started producing mini hydraulic excavators in 1998. While the southern African market was sceptical at first, Hugo van der Walt, Building Construction Products product manager for southern Africa at Barloworld Equipment, says this has changed.

“Cat mini hydraulic excavators have gained recognition in the construction sector as machines that provide new, smarter ways of doing jobs quickly and effectively in urban expansion and renewal projects where building takes place in increasingly smaller spaces,” he points out.

“Other industries have also realised the cost efficiency inherent in the use of small, versatile machines to make light work of tedious and time consuming jobs. The Cat 307E has been particularly well received since we launched it locally in 2015.”

Improved features

The Cat 307E offers several improvements on the 307C, the previous model offered in the southern African market. According to van der Walt the new Cat C2.6 DI turbo enginereduces fuel consumption and improves fuel efficiency, aided by a standard/power dual mode offering the choice of lower fuel consumption or superior productivity.

The auto idle function, which allows the engine speed to decrease to low idle automatically if not in use after several seconds, translates directly into fuel savings and results in reduced noise levels. 

Mini HEX three

A new intuitive flow sharing “high definition” hydraulic system provides superior control for any application from fine grading and dozing to backfilling. Powerful bucket and stick digging forces are combined with fast cycle times for world class productivity and performance. 

The dozer blade float function facilitates ground levelling for landscaping and finish grade applications as well as efficient job site cleaning. 

Caterpillar’s attention to detail in the cab is evident in the 307E with a new spacious design incorporating ergonomic low effort 100% pilot controls which deliver lifetime “as new” performance and eliminate linkage and cable maintenance, a suspension seat – standard on all mini hydraulic excavator models, and air conditioning.

Maximum travel speed can be selected by an easily accessible foot switch on the cab floor allowing precise control by balancing travel speed with the torque needed for turning and travelling on inclines. Hydraulic lines are provided for various Cat work tool attachments such as hammers and augers.

The 307E has 450 mm triple grouser steel tracks for stability when lifting over the side and in demolition and heavy duty applications. Each track is driven by an independent two-speed motor.

Cat mini hydraulic excavators deliver the same quality as the biggest Cat machines and the 307E, like the others in the range, has durable steel body panels all around to resist impact damage and prolong life and resale value.

Stability is a major factor in a lighter machine expected to perform heavy work and the conventional tail swing design with an extended counterweight provides this while maximising lifting at the same time. The Cat 307E matches industry leading lift capability with exceptional stability.

Mini HEX four

Maintenance and support

The counterweight is positioned low at the back, making space for two big side doors that provide easy access to all maintenance points from ground level. Daily checks and regular service points including fuel and hydraulic oil fill are easily reached via these and the large steel rear door. The main hydraulic valve and lines are accessed through a removable floor plate and side panels.

Convenient “one side maintenance” has been purposely engineered for maintenance of the Cat C2.6 engine.

Barloworld Equipment offers customers investing in the Cat mini hydraulic excavator range the same sales and after sales support as any other Cat machine. An additional customer support package available for owners of the Cat 307E and its mini hydraulic excavator siblings is Equipment Protection Plan (EPP), offered at various age and hour coverage levels depending on customer requirements. Flexible financing packages are also offered.