Already carrying an enviable reputation for their excavator line-up, the Japanese manufacturer has launched the first of a three-model line-up of demolition specific excavators all of which are designed and manufactured at their dedicated demolition plant in Fukushima. The range currently consists of the SK400DLC-10, SK550DLC-10 and the soon to be launched SK350DLC-10.
The line-up complements the range of excavators exclusively available from Molson ranging from 1 tonne SK10SR to the 50 tonne SK500. Slotting in the head of the demolition line-up, the SK550DLC-10 is based around the 50 tonne SK500D excavator. Whilst similarities between the two models remain in small portions of the machine, such as the upper structure and powertrain components, the remainder has been specifically designed to take on the leaders in this market.
From the tracks up Kobelco engineers have designed a unit to be at home in all types of ground conditions. The extendable undercarriage, which moves hydraulically from the transport width of 2,980mm up to a working width of 3,780mm carries a pair of heavy duty, 5.45m long track frames, complete with full bottom roller protection on both sides of the frame. The ease of widening the track gauge is down to the fine tolerances in manufacturing which, rather than remaining frustratingly tight as on some conversions, lets the frames slide effortlessly in and out. A feature not seen on other excavators with an adjustable undercarriage is the inclusion of a variety of different sized shims. These have been supplied for the operator to insert into the extending frame of the undercarriage to prevent any rocking whilst operating.
The upper structure remains almost standard with the machine using the tried and tested reliability of a Hino power plant. Demolition specific modifications come in the shape of an extra, removable counterweight, which weighs in at a total of 11 tonnes and the fitment of a frame housing the tilting cabin. As is now commonplace on many manufacturers’ demolition specific models, side protection and additional underbody plating have been included.
Dust suppression is a major issue and Kobelco has fitted a dedicated water supply pipe from the upper-structure to the end of the dipper, with the connection being located behind the operator’s cab. The only downside with this, as with most manufacturers, is that care will need to be taken when manoeuvring the excavator with the hose attached.
The operator’s cab has also come in for specific upgrades. Externally, the FOPS guards have been designed to almost disappear from the driver’s seat thanks to the angled bars. The view to the tool has also been enhanced with the fitment of a bonded front and top screen. The combination of the design of the guarding and almost one-piece glass gives an unrivalled view to the 28m maximum pin height. Whilst many manufacturers use external monitoring systems to keep their machines within a safe working envelope, Kobelco have installed their own system, which works through the integrated screen in the cab. Incorporating a tool and arm selection mode, the system recognises the arm configuration fitted automatically and allows the operator to work in total safety.
A variety of boom options are available from the maximum pin height of 27.5m with an 8.7m dipper and 3.5m boom insert. A shorter, 24.5m height is achieved by removing the boom insert. Using a shorter 6.1m dipper, 24.5m and 21m working heights can be achieved. A TAB boom option allows lower working heights and below ground demolition works to be undertaken. A compact intermediate dipper allows the front-end equipment to be folded in extremely tightly and gives the equipment a height of just over 3m when off the machine and ready for transport. The low height of the boom allows for the side mounted hose connections to be coupled from ground level, a major plus point in health and safety.
Overall, the build quality of the SK550DLC-10 is very impressive. Living up to the reputation held by the Kobelco brand, the launch into the European demolition market may well have an impact on some of the more established players in this market. Backed up by the nationwide support in place from Molson the Kobelco should become a firm favourite with the demolition fraternity if all the interest so far is believed.