Mini excavators have always been an indispensable part of the construction industry. This excavation equipment is used for multiple purposes, from building foundations to digging trenches and demolishing old buildings. Furthermore, the compact size of this excavation equipment enables it to work in small urban construction settings under variable conditions.
Another excellent thing about these excavators is that you can attach several attachments to them, increasing their usability and the number of functions they can perform.
These additional attachments sometimes make this machine as powerful as large excavators.
However, like there are two sides to a coin, medium and small excavators have their share of problems and issues. This article will discuss these machines' limitations in detail and explain how to overcome them productively.
What Are the Limitations of Working With a Mini Excavator, and How Do You Solve Them?
Mini excavators are versatile and popular machines used for various construction, landscaping, and demolition tasks. However, they have some limitations that can affect their performance and efficiency.
Some of the limitations of using a mini excavator are:
- Limited reach and digging depth
- Reduced stability
- Limited lifting capacity
- Limited operator visibility
Limited reach and digging depth: Unlike large excavators and earthmoving equipment, mini excavators have a shorter reach and digging depth, which limits their ability to dig deeper or reach further into a job site.
For instance, let's take the SANY SY365H 36T large excavator and SANY SY135C 15T medium excavator. While the former has a massive dig depth of 7050 mm, the latter can only reach down to a maximum digging depth of 5500 mm.
One solution to solve this problem is to use attachments that can extend the reach and digging depth of the mini excavator. Attachments such as boom extensions, long-arm excavators, and hydraulic breakers can improve the machine's performance.
Reduced stability: Mini excavators have a smaller footprint and a lower weight, which makes them less stable than larger machines. This can be a problem when working on steep or uneven terrain.
For instance, the SANY SY500H 52.5T heavy excavator weighs a hefty 52,500 kg, making it one of the most stable earthmoving equipment for jobs on an incline or uneven ground.
At the same time, if you choose the SANY SY265C – 27T medium excavator for the same job, it might not be able to provide the same stability as it weighs 27000 kg, which is relatively low from 52,500 kg.
The best way to stabilise mini excavators is by using outriggers, which provide additional stability and support when working on uneven terrain.
Limited lifting capacity: Unlike their larger counterparts, such as standard or heavy-duty excavators, mini excavators typically have a lower lifting capacity.
For example, a standard excavator may have a lifting capacity of 20 to 30 tons. In comparison, a mini excavator may only have a lifting capacity of 1 to 5 tons. This can limit the jobs that mini excavators can handle, as they may be unable to lift heavy loads or move larger objects.
To put it in perspective, let's say you're working on a demolition job that involves breaking down a concrete wall. A standard excavator could use its heavy-duty hydraulic breaker attachment to break down the wall and then use its lifting capacity to move the debris to a dump truck.
However, a mini excavator may not have the lifting capacity to move large pieces of concrete, so the debris may need to be broken down into smaller pieces before moving.
To overcome the limited lifting capacity, mini excavators can be equipped with load management systems that provide real-time weight information to the operator, enabling them to manage loads more effectively.
Limited operator visibility: Mini excavators are known for their small and compact size, which makes them ideal for working in tight spaces. However, this compact size can also lead to limited operator visibility, a safety concern on the job site. Unlike their larger counterparts, such as standard or heavy-duty excavators, mini excavators typically have a smaller cab and limited visibility.
For example, a standard excavator may have a cab several feet off the ground, providing the operator with a clear view of the surrounding area. In contrast, a mini excavator may have a lower cab that limits the operator's line of sight. This can make it difficult for operators to see what's happening around them, leading to accidents and injuries.
Let's say you're using a mini excavator to dig a trench near a busy road. The limited operator visibility could make it difficult to see oncoming traffic or pedestrians, increasing the risk of accidents. In contrast, a standard excavator with a higher cab would provide a clearer view of the surrounding area, making it easier for the operator to stay aware of potential hazards.
To overcome this limitation, many mini excavators now have cameras and sensors that provide a better view of the surrounding area. Some machines even have 360-degree cameras that offer a complete view of the job site, making it easier for operators to avoid hazards and stay safe.
While mini excavators are incredibly versatile and powerful machines, they have limitations. Understanding these limitations and taking proactive measures can help avoid costly repairs and downtime.
However, if you encounter issues with your mini excavator, it's essential to seek professional help to resolve them. Use the assistance of qualified technicians with the knowledge and experience necessary to quickly diagnose and resolve issues to get your machine back up and running.
So, whether you're a contractor, landscaper, or DIY enthusiast, don't hesitate to contact a professional for help. Doing so lets you keep your mini excavator in tip-top shape and ensure it continues serving you well for years.