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Though outwardly similar, the 150X crawler excavator (shown) is heavier than the 140X and delivers up to 290 kg (640 lb) more lift performance. (JCB)

JCB adds three new X Series crawler excavators

JCB has expanded its X Series crawler excavator line with the launch of three models in the popular 13- to 16-t (28,660- to 35,270-lb) sector. This follows the successful introduction of the 210X and 220X last year, both competing in the 21-t (46,300-lb) category.

The 21-t market remains the biggest single weight sector in the global crawler excavator market, with 13- to 16-t machines the second most popular weight range. That said, the latter market is by far the biggest sector in JCB’s domestic market of the UK and Ireland, accounting for almost 60% of all tracked excavator sales.

The 131X, 140X and 150X replace the previous generation JS131, JS130 and JS145, respectively. The smaller models follow the design pioneered by the 220X, with a robust-looking upper structure that is 80 mm (3.1 in) wider than previous JS machines, at 2.5 m (8.2 ft) overall. This has allowed the company to fit the JCB CommandPlus cab, as seen on the heavier X Series models, while retaining the centrally mounted boom position for improved digging accuracy and reduced stress on the slew bearing.

As with the larger model, JCB has put all three of the new machines on an automotive-style shaker rig that simulates 15,000 hours of tracking in a 150-hour test cycle. On the 220X, this led to a much-improved access door design, with double-skinned, zinc-plated doors now standard across the range. JCB has also designed easily-repaired strike points into the rear corners of the counterweight, to protect the back of the machine on site.

“We’ve put every model through the shaker test. It’s proven very effective,” said product manager Paul Swallow. “All of the lessons that we learned on the 20-tonne machine, we’ve put into the 13-tonners.”

Enhanced hydraulics, more comfortable cab

The three excavators use the same undercarriage, boom and dipper design as the last-generation JS models, with the majority of changes taking place inside the new double-skinned doors. The 131X, which is aimed at the rental market, uses a 55-kW (74-hp) JCB EcoMAX diesel engine that meets Tier 4 Final emissions standards without a diesel particulate filter (DPF) or selective catalytic reduction (SCR).

The 140X and 150X models come with the more powerful 81-kW (108-hp) EcoMAX engine, which currently meets Tier 4 Final using SCR but still without requiring a DPF. These engines will be engineered to meet the new EU Stage V emissions regulations when they come into force next year.

Other changes include new Kawasaki hydraulic pumps on the 140X and 150X, while the engineers have spent a lot of time fine-tuning the Kayaba hydraulic valve blocks on all three machines for smoother operation. One of the benefits of the new hydraulic pump and improved control valves is a 4% fuel consumption improvement for the 140X and 150X, along with a 6% improvement in tonnes/liter moved.

Though outwardly similar, the 150X is heavier than the 140X and delivers up to 290 kg (640 lb) more lift performance. The 140X and 150X also benefit from an 11% increase in bucket tearout force, thanks to a larger-diameter bucket cylinder. In addition, high-flow hydraulic hose diameters have been increased by 0.25 in (6.35 mm) throughout the machines, improving flow and reducing pressure in the system.

The CommandPlus cab delivers 15% more operator space and greatly improved comfort. The cab sits on four new three-chamber hydraulic isolating cab mounts, which help to cut internal noise levels by 5 dB(A), to just 67 dB(A). The CommandPlus cab comes with a choice of three Grammer seats, with the top specification including seat heating and cooling functions. JCB reports that this seat has been the most popular choice with 220X buyers so far, though the rental focus of the 131X, in particular, could see the focus move to a lower trim model.

The cab has a new command pod to the right of the operator’s seat, with a 7-in color monitor and automotive-style rotary controller. The air-conditioning system has been improved, with the cab filtration now easily accessible from ground level. A rearview camera is standard, while a secondary camera can be fitted to the right-hand side of the machine, with the operator able to toggle between views on the in-cab monitor. JCB will also offer a four-camera system as an option, which provides an all-round view of the machine, using a second monitor in the cab.

All three of the excavators can be factory-prepared for use with Leica, Trimble or Topcon 3D machine guidance systems, allowing a plug-and-play installation on site. Steelwrist tilt-rotator wiring and hydraulic supply can also be factory-installed.

The fuel and hydraulic tanks are now mounted inside secondary body panels, to prevent knocks on site and the hydraulic tank benefits from improved baffles to reduce oil aeration. This in part has contributed to longer service intervals, with the hydraulic oil filter swap now due after 2,000 hours and the actual oil lasting for up to 5,000 hours of operation. The hydraulic oil cooler is also 15% larger, to provide improved temperature control within the system. JCB has also made regular servicing easier, with grouped greasing points and ground-level access to all filters and drain points.

The three X Series models can be ordered in LCD specification, with a dozer blade fitted to the undercarriage for utility work. There is also an HD specification, with heavier belly plates and a heavy-duty undercarriage from the larger JS160 model. Demolition contractors can also specify extra side protection, a Level 2 FOPS (falling object protective structure) and a reversible engine cooling fan, if required.

Market outlook

As mentioned, the 13-16 tonne machines are expected to prove particularly popular in the UK and throughout Europe, though they will be offered in North America and in other Tier 4 Final markets as well. JCB is confident that the three machines will prove popular with ground-working contractors and rental companies.

“We expect this new 13-16 tonne range to take the groundworks industry by storm,” said chief innovation and growth officer Tim Burnhope. “In the UK alone, this class of machine accounts for nearly 60% of all tracked excavators sold. The 210X and 220X have already delivered on customer demands for greater levels of strength, durability, comfort, ease of use, reliability, efficiency, productivity and serviceability, so we are delighted to bring this new level of detail to our 13-16 tonne models.”

Though unconfirmed at present, JCB’s Heavy Products division will gradually add to the X Series lineup over the coming years, moving its entire crawler excavator range from the previous-generation JS models. Managing director Alistair Gorton also confirmed that, in time, much of the X Series’ design will be adopted by the firm’s wheeled excavators.

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