Excavators: Fleet Expansion For High Productivity, Positive Cash Flow

June 2013, Vol. 68, No. 6

Few machines have had more impact in construction and earthmoving operations than a heavy excavator. In the past five years, over 84 percent of heavy excavator sales to end users have been in these applications.

Whether you’re thinking about adding a new excavator to your fleet to supplement existing excavators or expanding the versatility of your fleet with your first excavator, it’s important to buy the right machine for the work. Selecting a model that doesn’t fit your needs can have negative consequences on productivity and cash flow.

According to Doosan Product Manager Chad Ellis, selecting a heavy excavator should include the evaluation of three key factors: utilization, specifications and cost of ownership. These considerations are very important, because every decision you make in the purchasing process will link directly back to them.

Overall, Ellis recommends that buyers not only determine short- and long-term excavator needs, but gauge the opportunities within their existing fleet. “Machines are always evolving, so you shouldn’t just buy what you’ve always bought without further research. You may want to make a purchase that complements your current excavator fleet, or you may find that a different size machine can increase productivity or make it easier for you to complete certain types of jobs,” he says.

Machine utilization
Ellis says the first consideration in any excavator purchase should be determining how the machine will be used and what expectations need to be met. He recommends that before visiting a manufacturer’s website or an equipment dealership, buyers need to answer a few basic questions about a potential new machine such as:

• Will it perform a single job or multiple jobs? and
• Will the tasks it’s needed for today be the only work it performs during its lifetime in your fleet?

If the answers circle back to a single job function like trenching, an owner needs to look at some very specific parameters. These typically include an analysis of the pipe material to be installed, the conduit size, the trench dimensions along with the machine’s bucket size and a machine’s hydraulic capacities for that application. In the case of trenching certain utilities, a very specific size of excavator may be needed.