Here is a look at the 20 products that are powering up the plant hire sector.
The plant industry, in response to the demands of the rental sector, is continuing its quest for ever more sustainable, lower carbon footprint machinery solutions. However, a recent report from Yanmar Construction Equipment claimed that the transition from the ever dependable internal combustion engine to electric power will not happen overnight and that many in the industry are not yet convinced of the benefits. But momentum is building with electric machines seemingly announced on a daily basis.
While Yanmar reports that the EMEA region is leading the charge (pun intended) in electric construction equipment, it is clear from our Top 20 that the massive Chinese OEMs are leveraging their advantage in battery production to give them an edge.
Yanmar itself has launched the SV17e electric excavator and V8e electric loader.
The company’s director of product management EMEA, Cédric Durand commented, “As good as the SV17e and V8e are, it and the new generation of electric machines are struggling to gain traction in the market. Electric technology is new, and customers are hesitant to make such a big change.
The purchase price of electric machines – due to high component prices – is more than comparable to ICE machines – and that’s not all. The charging infrastructure is still in its infancy, new machines require a different way of working for customers, and residual values are unknown. But despite the challenges, this industry is going electric – and this shift will happen in Europe first. It’s not going to be easy, but by 2050 we plan to be net zero emissions. Not just Yanmar, but also Yanmar customers. We have a roadmap to make that happen – and electrification is at the heart of it.”
Our Top 20 Products for Rental reflects this changing market with electric options increasingly being launched or announced by all the major OEMs.
Even the traditionally more cautious brands re starting to get on board. But it isn’t all about battery powered machines, indeed, there are difficulties scaling-up the technology for the heavier end of the plant market and many companies have started exploring the potential of hydrogen-power as a carbon neutral option for plant at the heavier end of the scale.
Cédric Durand continues, “Customers and countries are becoming interested – and that’s an important first step. Large rental companies are dipping their toes in the market, and several big contractors with ESG (environmental, social, and governance) targets are keen. Scandinavia and the Nordics are leading the field for zero emissions, especially Norway, but these are still small markets. For volumes to really grow – and economies-of-scale to drive down costs – we need a major European economy like Germany, France or the UK to push for electrification. We are not seeing that yet. But when it happens, we believe it will go fast – and we need to have a range of electric machines ready.”
Be it electric, diesel or any other form of power, here is our selection of some latest and greatest products for the busy UK rentals sector…
1Short tail swing excavator – Takeuchi
Takeuchi UK has expanded its 3-Series excavator range with the new TB350R short-tail swing compact excavator, the company’s first five tonne class short tail model. The TB350R has a rear swing overhang of only 75 mm and weighs in at 5,095 kg. Maximum dig depth of 3,575 mm, dump height of 3,945 mm and ground reach to 5,925 mm highlights the excellent operating parameters of the new TB350R. Powered by a Stage V ready engine with 32.4 kW and a four-pump hydraulic system providing a bucket breakout force of 37.3 kN.
“Takeuchi continues to design and build excavators that are feature-rich, delivering a unique combination of performance, durability, operator comfort and serviceability,” says Holly Cooke marketing manager at Takeuchi UK.
A 7” touchscreen colour monitor, integrated air conditioner and radio functions mean operators can be assured of the most comfortable working environment for all-day operating. The TB350R has a wide-opening rear engine service door and a right-side cover that opens overhead for access to key daily inspection points. “When maintenance and service work are fast and easy to perform on a machine, it’s more likely that they’ll be done correctly and at the right intervals,” adds Holly.
The Takeuchi Fleet Management (TFM) telematics system comes as standard on the TB350R, providing owners and operators with machine health vitals and condition, run time (hours) and machine location, as well as remote diagnostics, scheduled maintenance reminders and customisable alert settings.
2Compact wheel loader – Bobcat
Bobcat has extended its compact wheel loader portfolio with the introduction of the top-of-the-range L95 model, adding to the L85 and L75 compact wheel loaders launched in 2021 and 2022.
The L95 ‘Premium’ model offers the outstanding combination of high power, intuitive controls, operator comfort, ease of use and attachment flexibility found in the L75 and L85. In addition, the L95 incorporates the very latest product updates, which are also available in the 2024 versions of the L75 and L85, and are based on customer feedback.
Jiri Karmazin, loaders product manager comments: “High performance is assured in the L95 by the combination of the powerful Bobcat 75 HP engine, the hydraulics and the 40 km/h maximum travel speed. As in the L75 and L85, this is complemented by the comfortable and spacious cab, combined with the high stability and lift capacity and impressive breakout, push and pull forces, together with a comprehensive selection of Bobcat attachments. And the enhanced Automatic Ride Control system protects operators from any bumps or rough terrain.”
Operators of the L95 can now shift when stopped from 1st to 2nd gear, allowing acceleration up to 40 km/h to increase the boundaries of the job site, without needing additional resources such as organising transportation on a truck. The higher speed can provide significant savings and enhances daily utilisation of the machine.
3Backhoe loader – JCB
JCB is celebrating 70 years of manufacturing its iconic backhoe loader with the unveiling of Platinum Editions of its 3CX and 4CX models. The first JCB backhoe was manufactured in 1953 when company founder Joseph Cyril Bamford combined a lightweight backhoe with a Major Loadall tractor loader creating a single machine which combined a front shovel and rear excavator arm.
While it took 20 years for JCB to build its first 50,000 backhoes, under the leadership of JCB chairman Anthony Bamford, more than 900,000 have now been made. A total of 70 limited-edition 70th birthday 3CX PRO and 4 CX PRO machines will be manufactured.
Lord Bamford commented: “The backhoe loader is an incredibly versatile machine and thanks to continued innovation and evolution, it remains just as relevant today as the day it was first invented. The JCB backhoe loader remains one of the most popular pieces of construction equipment in the world and it has a very exciting future ahead of it.”
The Platinum Edition models will have servo excavator controls, Powerslide, air conditioning and bi-directional auxiliary flow hydraulics. The machines will bear limited edition Platinum decals and grille badge. They will have Platinum-coloured wheels, while in the cab there will be an embroidered graphic in the carpet and upgraded seat material with 70th anniversary branding, along with a steering wheel centre cap featuring the 70th logo. Each machine will also have a special plaque and customers will receive a special Platinum gift pack with the backhoe loader.
4Wheeled excavator – Hyundai
Hyundai Construction Equipment Europe has expanded its wheeled excavator range with the launch of the 10 tonne HW100A. The company says the compact, highly versatile machine delivers a best-in-class operator environment, a powerful driveline, multiple steering modes and a range of chassis layouts to suit all job sites.
With a slim counterweight and a tail swing radius of just 1,600 mm, the HW100A can easily work within a single carriageway. The machine is equipped with three steering modes, increasing manoeuvrability in confined site conditions. Two-wheel steering uses the front wheels only to turn and is designed for maximum stability when travelling at speed.
Power is provided by a Hyundai D34 diesel engine with two-can exhaust after treatment, that includes a Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC), Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR). This Stage V compliant engine has no requirement for Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) contributing to reduced fuel consumption and lower maintenance costs.
The engine develops a powerful 75 kW (100 hp), with 460 Nm of torque available from just 1,400 rpm. It employs a variable pressure turbocharger, delivering optimal air flow to the engine under all load conditions. Like on Hyundai’s heavy excavators, operators can choose from three power modes – Power, Standard and Economy.
5Bulldozer – Develon
Develon has pushed its way into the European dozer market with the launch of its DD130 dozer. It follows on from the DD100, which it successfully launched in 2022 but the DD130 is its first step into the European dozer market.
One of the biggest differences between the DD130 dozer and other brands is the visibility it provides of the machine’s blade. The front engine compartment offers a narrower design to make it easier for operators to see their work.
The DD130 offers a high level of comfort with a premium high-quality seat. The operator has total control of the machine via two smooth and precise, fully electronic joysticks. The seat and joysticks move together via the air suspension system, to absorb all vibrations.
A 2D grading system (dozing assist) makes precision grading easier, even for novice operators.
The operator programs the needed inputs, and the machine controls blade functions to finish the job faster and with better accuracy. No GPS or lasers are required.
6Electric 8 tonne excavator – Hitachi
Hitachi says the ZX85-6EB underlines its commitment to minimising the environmental impact of its equipment and creating a sustainable future for all. The eight-tonne electric ZX85-6EB enables users to work with zero emissions, low noise levels and in small spaces, which makes it ideal for urban environments and low emission zones. It has fewer maintenance requirements and less downtime than conventional diesel models.
The new Zaxis-6 based electric model can operate on battery power using 100 kWh lithium-ion batteries, or can be connected via cable to a CEE 400 VAC 3-phase power source. It has an average running time of 5.5 hours (depending on the application) and the battery can be fully recharged in 45 minutes using the optional Combined Charging System (CCS) Type 2.
7Electric wheel loader – Liebherr
Launched in October this year, Liebherr’s L507 E battery-electric wheel loader combines the advantages of a Liebherr Stereoloader with a battery-electric drive design developed by Liebherr.
The performance of the L507 E is equal to a conventionally powered Liebherr wheel loader in the same size class, but it emits no CO2 onsite. In addition, noise emissions are kept to a minimum, which makes it particularly suitable for any application where you have to consider noise or exhaust fumes, such as in inner-city areas. Liebherr relies on a high-voltage battery system – specially developed for L507 E wheel loaders – which ensures powerful performance and efficient charging.
Depending on the respective operating conditions, the L 507 E offers a running time of up to eight hours. Liebherr’s modular battery design also makes it possible to install a second lithium-ion battery ex works at the customer’s request, which further increases the running time. Depending on the on-board charging technology and power rating, the battery can be fully charged in about one and a half to three hours.
8Mobile charging solutions – Volvo Construction Equipment
Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) says it is increasing its growing portfolio of charging solutions with a mobile Power Unit – designed to provide flexible and lasting power to remote locations or sites with zero or weak grid access.
To help achieve the industry’s sustainable transformation, innovative solutions are needed to provide reliable, efficient and fast charging for electric machines. The transportable 600V Power Unit for larger machines offers just that, with its zero-emission battery-powered energy accessible exactly when and where it is required.
It is currently being rolled out to various sites, including Sweden’s largest fossil fuel-free worksite in the Slakthusområdet meat-packing district of Stockholm with construction company Skanska. Providing power to the 23-ton EC230 Electric excavator it is transforming the industry’s approach to fossil-free power solutions.
Elodie Guyot, head of Electromobility Sales Europe says: “Electric machines are one part of the puzzle when it comes to establishing fully fossil-free worksites – another is reliable charging solutions. Our Power Unit is the next step in our ambition to decarbonise the construction industry, helping customers comply with environmental regulations while ensuring the steady and efficient supply of power they need to get the job done.”
920 tonne electric excavator – Komatsu
Komatsu Ltd introduced the PC200LCE-11 and 210LCE-11 models of its 20-tonnes class electric excavators equipped with lithium-ion batteries as rental machines in the European market in October.
Komatsu has been jointly developing these electric models since January 2021 with Proterra, an American manufacturer based in California with a proven track record for high-load handling and commercial vehicles in various fields around the world.
Proterra provides the new machines with its lithium-ion batteries. After conducting the PoC (Proof of Concept) tests at customer jobsites, Komatsu exhibited one of the models at bauma 2022.
Komatsu is now ready to introduce them to the rental market. By using them under various operating conditions and with different power supply environments in regions where the electrified market is expected to be formed in the future, customers will be able to experience their environmental friendliness and safety, while Komatsu will compile feedback, opinions, and knowledge to lead to the formation of the electrified market.
10Electric three-tonne dumper – Thwaites
Thwaites entered the electric machines field earlier this year with an all electric three-tonne dumper. The company says the machine was designed with contractors and hirers in mind, offering the same build quality, robust design and engineering excellence that is ubiquitous across the Thwaites range. Thwaites general sales manager, Andy Sabin comments: “As the demand for cleaner alternative fuel sources grows, we are keen to ensure we offer a quality product that delivers for our customers, their clients and the environment.”
Four maintenance free, long-life, lithium-ion (dry-cell) batteries, operating at 48V, are fitted. Each battery is rated at 5.75 kWh, providing the power to drive the machine. With two highly efficient electric motors (one for traction, one for the hydraulic services) giving the operator the control and manoeuvrability expected from a Thwaites dumper.
Thwaites says the battery pack will complete a full eight-hour shift of `normal site operation’ from a single charge. The standard on-board 3.4 kW battery charger can charge the pack from 0-100% in eight hours. Optional off-board chargers rated at 7 kW (single-phase) and 22 kW (three-phase) have charge times of four and two hours respectively.
11Compact track loaders – Cat
Building on the D3 series compact track loader’s success, the all-new, next generation Cat 255 and 265 compact track loaders are a ground-up redesign of the previous series, improving on the features that made the previous models so popular. The first next generation models in the compact track loader line, the 255 and 265 elevate Caterpillar’s loader reputation through improved engine performance, lift and tilt performance, stability, operator comfort and technology.
“We kept the DNA of the D3 series while reimagining the possibilities of loader performance using voice of customer feedback to lead the way,” Trevor Chase, product application specialist for Caterpillar said. “Both next generation models leverage the many benefits offered by the vertical lift design. The new Cat 255 replaces the 259D3, while the 265 replaces both the 279D3 and 289D3 machines.”
The new loaders are powered by Cat C2.8T and C2.8TA engines respectively, which offer 74.3 hp (55.4 kW). The new engines maintain horsepower across a wider rpm range and boast significant torque increases – gains of 13% for the 255 and 43% for the 265 – for improved working performance. A redesigned engine compartment mounts the engine and cooling package lower into the frame for improved stability, giving the operator confidence in handling heavy loads and throughout all aspects of the work cycles.
123D machine control – Leica Geosystems
Leica Geosystems has announced the commercial availability of its Leica MC1 3D machine control system with Caterpillar factory-installed NGH sensors. The first customers of this new compatibility option have already experienced the streamlined installation process of the Leica MC1 system into Caterpillar’s existing Grade 2D Assist excavator system with the support of Leica Geosystems and Caterpillar dealers.
The enhanced interoperability between the Leica MC1 3D machine control solution and Caterpillar’s NGH sensors offers various benefits for construction professionals and operators. Unlike traditional solutions that require sensor replacements, this technical solution allows the Leica MC1 software to work in harmony with the existing Cat Grade 2D Assist system without any additional hardware modifications. It results in a more seamless and simplified installation, minimising downtime.
13Telescopic boom lift – LiuGong
LiuGong launched its electric LA20JE telescopic boom lifts at this year’s Vertikal Days show along with a comprehensive range of electric scissor lifts from 4.5m to 12m working heights.
With a 22.2m maximum working height, the new LA20JE delivers clean, quiet performance to a wide range of urban centres, arenas and residential and construction applications. Designed for operator convenience and safety, it is easy to use, charge and maintain and provides the highest levels of safety and stability. With 4-wheel drive, these lift have unrivalled rough terrain capability, no matter what the surface.
According to European vice president, Hakan Ilhan, “We are extremely excited to be showcasing, not only our new electric boom lift, but our AWP capability to the UK market. LiuGong is a recognised leader in BEV technology so UK customers can have confidence in our quality and trust our machines to be safe, productive and easy to use.”
14Site safety – Safety Shield
The digital transformation era has arrived with the construction sector seeing a significant acceleration in technology adoption. Through collaborative research and design, Safety Shield in partnership with Lynch Construction has built upon the established, industry-known safety procedure ‘Thumbs Up’ and digitalised it.
In collaboration with Lynch, Safety Shield’s development team looked at how it could take the Thumbs Up a step further and digitalise the procedure. The Thumbs Up system is simple and universally known. The goal was simply to enhance this, and bring it into the digital age, aiding in a connected work site. The simple model involves the operator pressing a button in the cab that triggers the sign illumination to change from a red ‘No Entry’ to a green ‘Thumbs Up’. This is accompanied by an audible message from an inbuilt speaker saying, “Thumbs Up accepted, approach with caution”.
At the same time, the controls are disabled and made safe for the approaching person.
This digital concept provides site personnel with absolute certainty that it is safe for them to enter the red zone. In addition to telling and informing the individual when they can safely approach, this technology will also inform where to approach safely, with the LED ‘shield’ highlighting the area of direct vision for the operator, where they do not need to rely on mirrors or cameras.
15Cabbed Dumper – Mecalac
Dumper operators can now rotate the entire cab at the touch of a button to keep their vision and focus on the job and a view of potential obstacles on the site according to Mecalac. The company’s Revotruck’s chassis with central oscillation ensures stability and traction in all conditions.
Almost one third of transport accidents on construction sites occur on dumpers. This is mainly due to the front load that obstructs visibility when driving forward, exposing drivers to major accidents. Alternative products such as reversible dumpers have attempted to solve this problem for a long time by proposing rotating driving platforms. However, Mecalac observed that operators always stay in the same position without using the rotating platform:
“Based on our user-centric innovation process, we have created a new type of vehicle for smarter and safer material transport. This revolutionary development is named: The Revotruck. The Revotruck is not just a dumper; it is an iconic machine with a rotating cab and an exclusive chassis architecture that combines stability and mobility,” Mecalac says.
16Large excavator – Sany
Sany UK has launched the new Stage V compliant, 78-tonne SY750H crawler excavator, the largest model now available in the UK market. This new addition to the range boasts impressive features and capabilities designed to meet the evolving demands of large-scale construction projects. With a powerful Cummins X15 Stage V engine and enhanced hydraulic system, the SY750H delivers exceptional digging force, making it ideal for heavy-duty excavation and earthmoving tasks. Its advanced technology and robust construction ensure optimal efficiency, reliability, and durability, even in the most challenging environments.
Leigh Harris, business development director for Sany UK, said “Sany UK is excited to introduce the SY750H excavator to the UK market. Sany has a strong pedigree in large excavators with machines up to 300 tonnes operating in some markets around the world. The SY750H is the largest machine to enter the European market so far and features the same quality, fuel efficiency and cab comforts as our SY390H and SY500H which are both receiving great feedback from our customer base.”
17Battery powered mixer – Altrad Belle
Altrad Belle has launched a compact, heavy duty, professional tip-up cement mixer with an emissions free, lithium-ion battery powered motor for all mixing requirements. The company says it is ideal for both outdoor usage and indoor usage in poorly ventilated areas. The Minimix 150E+ can be used on or off its stand and is the ideal portable and robust solution for mixing concrete and mortar but without any engine emissions or the need for an electrical power supply.
18Digital worksite integration – Topcon Positioning Systems
Topcon Positioning Systems has introduced Aptix, a new integration-platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) to optimise how heavy civil construction projects are managed. Aptix seamlessly integrates Topcon solutions with multiple third-party applications to automate and orchestrate data connections between the office and job site. It streamlines processes and generates insights for construction teams within one platform, ensuring the as-built is as-planned and the project meets profitability goals.
Jason Hallett, vice president and general manager, Topcon Integration Services, said, “By automating previously manual processes, Aptix eliminates time-consuming and error-prone data entry, allowing construction professionals to focus on more strategic tasks. Project managers can make better, more informed decisions by having real-time visibility into project progress and potential roadblocks. We are confident that Aptix will optimise how construction projects are managed, providing a powerful new tool for construction professionals looking to improve their project management processes.”
19Wheeled excavators – Case Construction Equipment
Case has launched the four-model E-Series wheeled excavator range, with a fifth, larger model joining the series in the future according to the company. The machines will be built under an existing supply agreement with South Korean manufacturer Hyundai Construction Equipment.
The Case wheeled excavator line-up will include the conventional tail swing WX140E and WX160E, along with the short radius WX155E SR and the WX175E SR. These four models will be joined by a conventional tail swing WX210E at a later stage.
Features include smooth operation and maximum control thanks to proven Bosch Rexroth Load Independent Flow Sharing hydraulic systems on the four smaller models as well as durability, reliability and efficient roading capability thanks to heavy-duty ZF axles and hydrostatic transmissions.
The new range can operate on a range of biodiesels, HVO, and other synthetic fuels thanks to Cummins Stage V diesel engines with no requirement for exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) Customisable specification.
The new CASE E-Series wheeled excavators will boast proven well-established quality components. They will be available in a range of lower frame layouts, with several combinations of front and rear dozer blades plus front and rear outriggers.
20Short radius excavator – Kobelco
Short Radius machines are ideal for operators working on urban and residential sites and are increasingly popular due to ongoing requirements for roadworks and utility maintenance. With this in mind, Kobelco Construction Machinery is pleased has launched two new models in its SR range. The new SK230SRLC-7 and SK270SR(N)LC-7 follow Kobelco’s Performance x Design concept and offer powerful performance and productivity, precise controllability and excellent stability and lifting.
Kobelco first introduced the Short Radius (SR) concept in 1996 and now has the largest SR range on the market covering machines from one to 38 tonnes. SR machines benefit from a smaller working footprint, which means that they can access tighter working areas and can even operate within one carriageway.
The new SK230SRLC-7 and SK270SR(N)LC-7 are equipped with a powerful Yanmar Stage V compliant engine, which provides 127 kW output and 22% higher torque than previous models for a more efficient performance. In addition, the DPF replacement interval has been extended from 4,500 to 6,000 hours of operation, resulting in less downtime for maintenance.
Weighing in at 24 tonnes (SK230SRLC-7) and 27.3 tonnes (SK270SR(N)LC-7 with two-piece boom), the new machines provide extremely precise operation through excellent controllability and smooth hydraulics.