Wheeled excavators have become increasingly more common in Europe and appear to be gaining popularity in the U.S.
“There is interest, and it will continue to grow as job sites become more confined and accessibility becomes more difficult,” said David Caldwell national product manager for Takeuchi. “As cities grow and population centers grow, you'll start to see more because you need more versatility to move through those job sites quickly and efficiently.”
Based on the company's 9-ton excavator platform, Takeuchi says, the 23,000- to 26,000-pound TB395W, unveiled at ConExpo-Con/Agg 2023, provides the power of a tracked excavator with the benefits of a wheeled machine, such as higher travel speeds for on- and off-road applications.
At ConExpo, a sales rep from Chappell Tractor LLC in Milford, New Hampshire, found the excavator to be an ideal solution for contractors in the Northeast. “Backhoes back in the day were kind of the number one thing; they do everything and they're not good at anything,” said Jobe Miles. "With one of these, you can take up a lot fewer road lanes, and you can work all the way around."
Noting that it is similar in size to a backhoe, he said it can do a lot more work and the versatility of a variety of attachments, including tiltrotators, makes a difference.
"Now, in the Northeast, I'm not going to say we're ahead of everybody technology-wise, but we sell a lot of tiltrotators on a lot of excavators," Miles said.
Citing the 31.7 gallons per minute of hydraulic oil flow on the TB395W, he noted that operators could use a wider variety of attachments for mowing, paving, and other work.
“It's a key size,” Miles said. “They make a lot smaller units than this, but they don't have the reach, they don't have the dig depth and the power that this size will have.”
The TB395W runs on a 114-horsepower Deutz engine, the same one that powers several other models, such as the TB2150 and TB2150R.
The excavator is equipped with a blade and a pair of rear stabilizers. The blade assembly on the TB395W can be used for light grading, jobsite cleanup and as a stabilizer.
“A lot of folks feel like wheeled excavators may not be as stable as tracked excavators, and that's simply not true,” Caldwell said. “When you lower the rear stabilizers and the blade, you have a very stable working platform.”
Reaching speeds up to 18 mph, the TB395W combines excavating performance with on-road capabilities. The units will be available in the United States this fall, likely in October or November.
Several things have been improved surrounding the cab of the TB395W.
First, before even entering the machine, operators will find toolboxes on the side. The standard configuration will include one toolbox and a second will be available.
“That will just allow guys to carry more gear on the job, tools and other things that they may need on the jobsite,” Caldwell said.
Upon entering the cab, it features a deluxe high-back, air-ride suspension seat, adjustable armrests, low-effort pilot controls, a large flat floor area, and integrated footrests to improve the operator experience.
“An operator is going to be in this machine a lot during the day, so operator comfort is very important,” Caldwell said. “Since you can drive it on the road and travel with the machine it's nice to have that additional suspension in the seat for all-day comfort.”
From a mobility standpoint, the TB395W is driven with a basic steering wheel. The steering column is tiltable with the press of a button on the floor.
In addition, the height of the steering wheel also can be adjusted using a knob on the wheel.
Caldwell said the benefit of the tilt feature is being able to move the steering wheel out of the way while actively operating the machine as it is only utilized when the machine is mobile.
The cab features an easy-to-read 7-inch touchscreen and multifunction color monitor with integrated air conditioning and DAB radio functions.
“We're getting a more common monitor throughout our product line,” Caldwell said. “You'll see it on our smaller excavators in the cab configurations, as well as some of our larger excavators now.”
The monitor offers touchscreen control, making it easy to navigate through various functions on the machine.
In conjunction with the monitor, the TB395W includes a jog dial that is a more automotive-style feature and provides access to functions through the monitor as well as throttle control.
Adjacent to the jog dial are several one-touch control switches to operate other machine functions such as work lights, Standard and ECO working modes, low- and high-speed gearbox, swing boom/second boom select, differential lock, manual regen/regen inhibit and lift overload alarm.
Caldwell said the TB395W has an available LED light package.
“That will be ideal for folks who are going to have to work at night or in low light conditions,” he said. “Right now, a lot of the road and bridge work is being done at night to limit traffic issues so the LED light package will be very nice for folks having to do that type of work.”
Also, for safety purposes, the machine has a 270-degree camera system.
“We have very good visibility around the machine not only in the rear but also on the sides of the machine,” Caldwell said. “It helps reduce the risk of hazards. This will alert the operator to the presence of people on the jobsite, trucks, cars, and other things that may be on site.”
For other controls, he said on the joystick, operators can switch between blade or outrigger control with the press of a button.
While moving, he said the machine controls can be locked out to reduce the liability of the upper structure swinging or the implements moving while traveling.
The wheel thing
The TB395W is designed with multiple steering options. At ConExpo 2023, the displayed unit had two-wheel steering.
However, Caldwell said Takeuchi is looking to bring the model into the United States with not only two-wheel steer but two four-wheel steer options: 4WS (all-wheel steering) and 4WSC (crab steering.)
“Both four-wheel steer and crab steer are going to give us a lot more maneuverability on tight job sites and in areas that have very limited accessibility,” he said.
In addition, the TB395W features high-speed road gear, allowing speeds up to 18 miles per hour.
“It will get from Point A to Point B quicker,” Caldwell said. “For highway and road work this is a nice machine because you're able to move quickly on the jobsite from site to site, you don't have to trailer it to transport it and move it to other areas on the jobsite.”
Even the tires on the machine are unique.
“We have a two-piece tire design, so there are two tires on the wheel and mudguards," he said.
For the U.S., Caldwell said another tire option, a seamless tire will be available.
“It's the same width or a little wider and we won't be able to use the mudguard,” he said. “However, the nice thing with that tire is you won't have rock, mud, or debris building up in the gap between the two-piece tire system, so it will give you better flotation and it will keep material from building up on the wheel.”
The TB395W features a double boom design, which provides more reach and an ability to dig in and lift closer to the machine.
In addition, boom design gives the machine a higher cutting-edge height at full length as well.
“It will give us a lot more versatility and working range with the wheeled excavator,” Caldwell said.
The design provides greater clearance between the bucket and dozer blade due to the arm mount position. TB395W operators can pull the bucket to the dozer blade, which is ideal when working in narrow spaces or moving an obstacle out of the way.
As an example, Miles said in the Northeast, the two-piece or double boom is critical in overcoming the overhead wires.
"If you're loading or unloading, from a truck and lifting something heavy with a regular boom on a rubber tire machine, you're lifting it out further so it is tipping," he said. "With a two-piece boom, you're able to bring that load straight up and down and you're able to lift a lot more weight."
In conjunction with the double boom design, the TB395W also has high flow capabilities and is equipped with three auxiliary circuits.
“If an operator wants to switch attachments quickly and easily, that's where the third auxiliary circuit comes in,” Caldwell said. "The high flow capability on this machine would give us about 31.7 gallons per minute, which will allow us to run quite a few different motorized and hydraulically driven attachments very efficiently."
An Auto Cruise function enables operators to set and adjust their travel speeds by pressing a button or operating a toggle switch (on an optional, multi-function grip). The function is ideal for attachments that require a consistent, repeatable travel speed, such as a mulcher, mower, or trencher.
The machine also can be outfitted with a tiltrotator system that provides a 50-degree tilt right or left and gives operators a lot of attachment versatility.
“With the grab in the front you're also able to pick up objects on the job site and move them and reposition them,” Caldwell said. “There's a lot of versatility built into this platform.”
“Serviceability on the machine is very good,” Caldwell said, noting that it is very similar to the TB290.
Takeuchi designed the TB395W with a wide-opening rear engine service door and an overhead-opening right-side cover.
“We have access to our dual element air cleaner, our fuel fill, the DEF tank, pattern change valve and the control valve on the machine are all accessible through the side compartment,” he said. "Everything (engine oil fill, oil filter, dipstick, and more) is very accessible right here on the back of the machine for daily checks.”
Also, Takeuchi's Fleet Management (TFM) telematics system comes standard on the TB395W, free for two years/2,000 hours.
Caldwell noted that TFM allows operators to monitor machine health remotely, receive alerts to fault codes and set up geofencing to protect the machine as an investment.
- Operating weight: 23,425 lbs. to over 26,000 lbs.
- Engine: DEUTZ / TCD3.6 L4
- Power: 114 hp at 2,200 rpm
- Dig depth: 13 ft 5.2 in.
- Max reach: 25 ft 2.2 in.
- Bucket breakout force: 18,322 lbf
- Primary auxiliary flow: 31.7 GPM
- Travel speed: 18.1 mph