Machines Changed Construction Practices
Civil engineer chronicles earthmoving equipment in North America
The development of mechanized earthmoving equipment, particularly over the last 100 years, has drastically reduced grueling hand labor and has changed the way we sculpt the earth.

"The need to reshape Mother Earth goes back almost as far as civilization itself," writes author Keith Haddock in The Earthmover Encyclopedia (Motorbooks International, $44.95). "After the steam shovel was established, steam power gradually progressed to other types of earthmoving equipment formerly powered by teams of horses and mules." A civil engineer and mining veteran of 40 years, Haddock unloads new, comprehensive research in the illustrated encyclopedia, which features 920 black-and-white photographs of machines.

DIG IN Book offers "dirt" on machines

The book is Haddock’s fifth chronicle of heavy equipment operating in North America. In Giant Earthmovers (1998), Colossal Earthmovers (2000) and Extreme Mining Machines (2001), he emphasizes mechanical monsters that were used mainly in mining operations. But this time, he treats equipment with more equity and covers more machines used throughout the construction industry.

The 320-page book spans 17 chapters, each covering a machine type and arranged alphabetically. The book opens with medieval concepts, such as early Leonardo da Vinci sketches. It moves on to the William S. Otis steam shovel of 1835–the first modern earthmover–and details machines built up to the 2002 model year. Haddock unearths little-known "dirt" on key players, as well as specifications, product development, acquisition moves and famous projects.

Most information is available from the manufacturers, but Haddock attempts to compile it into one source. Co-founder of the Historical Construction Equipment Association, Bowling Green, Ohio, the author says he pulls many facts and figures from his own personal archives.

The resource would benefit from product time lines and an easier way to cross reference firms without needing to backfill pages with sticky-notes. Nonetheless, The Earthmover Encyclopedia is the culmination of Haddock’s lifelong experience and his attention to detail makes it worthy of any iron enthusiast’s desk or coffee table.

Wide-Operating Range Excavator
Three-Pump Hydraulic System

Zaxis 80, an addition to the Zaxis excavator product line, offers faster front operations, more travel power and a wider operating range when compared to its predecessor, the EX80-5. New swing-independent three-pump hydraulic system helps increase leveling speed by 26%. The Zaxis 80 has a new motor that allows the unit to travel at a top speed of 3.1 mph, nearly 4% more travel power for a maximum drawbar pull of 12,350 lb. It also comes with three auxiliary valves as standard equipment. The 7-ft, 7-in. backfill blade, offset boom cylinder and an attachment can all be readily accommodated. Hitachi; 800/675-8459;

Articulated Hauler
Works in Confined Areas

The newly introduced A25D 4 x 4 articulated hauler has a wheelbase 15.7 in. shorter than its predecessor and the option of adding a useful turn-around system. This hydraulically operated package allows the truck to turn through 180� in just 31.1 ft of space, with the entire operation taking 25 seconds to complete, the manufacturer says. With a payload capacity of 26.4 tons and 33-mph top speed, this model can be used on congested, urban job sites. Other features include a load capacity of 42.6 ft, giving rise to a ground pressure of 23 psi on the front, 28 psi at the rear. Volvo Construction Equipment; 32 2482 5021;

European Market Dump Trucks
Tiltable Cab

Komatsu Europe launches three new articulated dump trucks in France and Spain. The three models in the series include the HM300-1, HM350-1 and HM400-1. All of the main components are Komatsu-designed and built. Oil-cooled wet disc brakes are standard equipment. The HM300 is the only truck in its payload class to have this. To facilitate rapid access to the engine and transmission for service, the cab tilts rearward. Under the bonnet, all engine filters are grouped together for easy, rapid servicing. Several options are available, including wide tires, heated body, side extensions and a tailgate. Komatsu America corp; 866/513-5778;

Multi-Terrain Loader
Rubber-Track Undercarriage

The 287 multi-terrain loader can be used in construction, landscaping, agriculture and other applications. It works well in soft soil, on sloped terrain and on sensitive surfaces, according to the manufacturer. The machine is equipped with

a suspended undercarriage, vertical-lift loader linkage and comfortable cab. It combines the upper portion of the Cat 262 skid steer loader with a rubber-track undercarriage. The loader has an operating capacity, as defined by SAE J818 at 35% of tipping load, of 2,450 lb. Its operating weight is 9,860 lb, ground pressure is 3.8 psi. Power is provided by a turbocharged Cat 3034T diesel engine, rated at 74 net hp. Caterpillar Inc.; 309/675-8995;

Advanced Hydraulic Excavator
Intelligent Management System

Manufacturer introduces the new generation of JCB JS Series machines that consist of the JS220, JS210 and JS200. These excavators are fitted with an intelligent advanced management system that records key operating data as well as controls all the machine’s major functions. Improved multifunctioning allows the machine to track and raise the boom to full height when the bucket is loaded. In addition, a new Tier II low-emission engine delivers 7% more power. Also, visibility from the cab to the right side track has been improved by shortening the switch console which used to obstruct the sight line. Vision through the sky light has been enhanced by introducing a larger glass area. JCB; 01 889 590312;

Tight-Tail Swing Excavator
Long Arm

Boasting an all-new cab/canopy design that contributes to operator comfort and protection, the KX161-3 tight-tail swing excavator includes other features such as the load sensing system and the maker’s exclusive auto idle system which helps conserve fuel and reduce engine noise and overall wear. The tail section projects a slim 4.75 in. beyond the width of the tracks, while still maintaining the stability of a conventional tail swing. Maximum digging radius at ground level is 241 in. Kubota Tractor Corp.; 888/458-2682;

Compact Excavators
Zero Tail Swing Feature

Model CX219z, a 3,968-lb compact excavator, is 3.3 ft wide and has the ability to dig 8.3 ft deep. In addition, it offers 12.4 ft of reach and a bucket breakout force of 3,307 lb. A Kubota D 722-E diesel engine provides power for the unit. The maximum digging and dumping height of the CX219z is 11.4 ft and 7.8 ft, respectively. It also has the ability to swing up to 50� to the left and 85� to the right. It has the zero tail swing feature which enables the excavator to fit into and maneuver through smaller spaces. Another model, CX218, is also available. It offers 8.9 ft of reach and a digging depth of 7.8 ft. Vermeer Manufacturing Co.; 888/837-6337;

Robex 7 Series Machines
Self-Diagnostic Display System
The new R140LC-7 is a 30,820-lb, 107-hp excavating machine with a maximum digging depth of 18 ft, 4 in. It features an improved Computer-Aided Power Optimization management system which allows the operator to customize the working modes of the excavator to fit the specific requirements of the current job- site. Also included is a self-diagnostic display system that provides technical information for 48 distinct functions. Other enhancements include a completely redesigned cab. Hyundai Construction Equipment; 847/437-3333;