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With 60-70% of the European market at this weight using zero tailswing, the E27z is one of the most important models in the new line-up. (Image: Dan Gilkes)

Bobcat launches R Series mini excavators at Intermat

Bobcat, a division of the Doosan Group, has launched the R Series range of 2-4 tonne mini excavators at the Intermat exhibition in Paris in April. The machines are said to deliver increased control, a larger cab with improved operator comfort, along with lower weight for ease of transportation.

The R Series mini excavators are based on two flexible machine platforms. The smaller 2-3 tonne platform is designed and engineered in Dobris, in the Czech Republic, while those in the 3-4 tonne class use a platform developed at Bobcat’s facility in Bismarck, North Dakota.

After five years of development work, the new line-up includes the E26, E27z, E27, E34 and the E35z. The E27z and E35z are zero tailswing machines, while Bobcat has opted for a conventional rear body design for the E26, E27 and E34. All five excavators are aimed at markets in Europe, Latin America, South East Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Bobcat unveiled two R Series models, the E32 and E35, at last year’s ConExpo exhibition in Las Vegas. However, these excavators retained the previous design and cab and were destined only for North American markets, where 3-4 tonne models are more popular.

The E27 and E27z excavators can be ordered in standard (L) or heavy (H) counterweight configurations, to suit individual markets. In Europe, the weight limit for a trailer that can be towed behind a 4x4, a pickup or a van is 3.5-tonnes, so a mini excavator needs to weigh less than 2,850 kg (6,285 lb). The E27, at 2,760 kg (6,085 lb) even with the heavier counterweight, will be the largest Bobcat model that can be transported in this way, with enough leeway to allow for additional buckets and attachments to be carried on the trailer.

Quieter cab, improved visibility

The operator’s cab, which is now sourced from Fritzmeier and shared across all five models, is 25.4 mm (1 in) wider than before, for improved comfort. The cab pillars have been reduced in width, to allow for a larger glazed area and improved visibility. There are new handles and a wider door, to make it easier to get in and out of the machines, while a composite entry step tread provides additional security. The R Series models boast redesigned travel controls, complete with metal pedals.

Bobcat is promising minimal effort from the revised joysticks, with finer control. Customers can order the machines with a Selectable Auxiliary Control system, that offers up to five independent auxiliary hydraulic circuits. The operator can change which lever and button controls which function, to better suit their individual way of working. The Aux 1 line is a general-purpose circuit, while Aux 2 is intended for supporting functions such as rotation. Aux 3 is a bucket diverter, for use on clamshell buckets, for instance, while Aux 4 provides tilting coupler control. Aux 5 is a standard hydraulic coupler control circuit.

With a new deluxe dash control, it is easy to swap between functions and buttons, to set the levers and controls exactly how you want them for each operation. Bobcat also offers both Geith and Lehnhoff coupling options from the factory, with tilting adapters if required.

Machines equipped with the new cab boast noise levels that are 3 dB lower, down from 78 to 75 dB at the operator’s ear. This is partly thanks to a new cooling pack and a redesigned fan, with improved shrouding. The radiators and oil coolers now sit side by side, rather than in front on each other and the fan runs at a lower speed, while providing the same throughput of cooling air.

Serviceability has been improved, with a two-piece floor mat and easy to remove floor panels. Troubleshooting is also easier, thanks to the deluxe display screen with integrated diagnostic functions. The machines are set up for simple installation of GPS-based telematic systems, though Bobcat has yet to offer its own telemetry as standard.

Model specifics

The E26 is designed to meet the needs of the rental market, weighing in at 2,560 kg (5,645 lb) for easy transportation. The machine features a new cylinder-in-boom design for the main lift arm, to prevent the dozer blade impacting the main lift cylinder when at full digging depth. Though the E26 uses a mechanical injection Stage V-compliant engine, customers can specify an optional auto idle system, with an electronic throttle control.

The E27z is a premium zero tailswing model, weighing in at 2,700 kg (5,950 lb) with the lighter counterweight or 2,830 kg (6,240 lb) with the heavier rear end. With 60-70% of the European market at this weight using zero tailswing, the E27z is one of the most important models in the line-up. The machine is available with a choice of dipper arm lengths and Bobcat claims that the mini has class-leading stability. The main boom offset angle has also been increased, from 60° to 70°, for additional digging flexibility.

The machine offers a full zero tailswing design, even with the cab door open. Bobcat calls the machine a Zero House Swing (ZHS) design, with the boom offset ram at the front also within the rotating radius of the upper structure, unlike some competitors.

For those customers who need more stability and performance at a similar weight, the E27 is a conventional tailswing model, with 28 mm (1.1 in) of rear overhang. Weighing 2,610-2,760 kg (5,755-6,085 lb) depending on specification, the E27 is available with optional longer dozer arms, to permit digging right up to the blade.

The new E34 replaces the previous E32, weighing at 3,370 kg (7,430 lb). Using a mechanical injection diesel engine, compliant with the coming EU Stage V emissions standard, the machine comes with the option of air-conditioning and an automatic track tensioning system. Power has been reduced slightly, to keep the engine below 25 hp (19 kW), but Bobcat has fine-tuned the hydraulic system to compensate, to maintain performance.

For those looking for a zero tailswing design at this weight, the E35z also uses the 25-hp mechanical injection engine and comes with the choice of auto track tensioning and air-conditioning. It weighs in at 3,550 kg (7,825 lb) and offers a maximum digging force of 20.5 kN (4,610 lb) with the shorter of two dipper arms.

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