Despite a pandemic and supply-chain shortages, 2021 was no slouch for debuts of construction equipment.
Manufacturers rolled out new models or prototypes of dozers, excavators, wheel loaders and compact equipment, as well as a variety of other machines, including the revival of a Caterpillar wheel tractor scraper model that had been discontinued nearly 20 years ago.
So here’s our breakdown of top stories by machine category that appeared in 2021 and got the most views on equipmentworld.com, with links provided if you want to read more:
Caterpillar unveiled an electric-drive prototype of its largest dozer at the 2021 MINExpo (photo at the top of this story). The D11 XE delivers the lowest cost per bank cubic meter in dozing operations and 25% better fuel efficiency, the company says.
Doosan is entering new territory in construction equipment with its first ever dozers, unveiling a “pre-prototype” of the DD100 dozer recently at the company’s testing grounds near Tucson, Arizona. A 10-ton model is expected to arrive in the third quarter next year. A 13-ton model is slated for mid-2023.
When Cat first announced the switch from the D6K2 to the D4, the name change did not indicate a new machine. That is no longer true. Now it's the D4's moment to shine in Cat's new dozer lineup.
Komatsu has re-engineered the mainframe on its largest dozer, the D475A-8, to get twice the life of previous models and withstand multiple rebuild and overhaul cycles. Compared to previous models, the D475A-8 offers a 10% boost in productivity, 11.5% more engine power in reverse and a 10% reduction in fuel consumption in the torque converter lockup mode.
Cat D5, D6 and D7 dozers have now joined wheel loaders and excavators as Cat Command machines. Command for Dozing removes operators from the cab and gives them the ability to operate the machine using either a line-of-sight, over-the-shoulder remote console or a non-line-of-sight station.
Maintenance schedules have been extended and synchronized on the new Cat 315 GC Next Gen compact radius excavator, changes that have prompted up to a 25% reduction in maintenance costs and a 15% reduction in fuel consumption, the company says.
Kobelco is rolling out the new generation of its ED160BR-7 Blade Runner, which it calls two machines in one – a crawler excavator with true dozing capability thanks to a large-capacity, six-way dozer blade.
Komatsu has launched an updated version of the PC210LCi-11, its smallest excavator equipped with intelligent Machine Control (iMC), the company's fully-integrated system for semi-automatic grading functions. It marks the first Komatsu excavator to hit the market with iMC 2.0 on board.
Big jobs require big machines, and Volvo has stepped up to the plate with a pair of its biggest excavators to date, the EC530E and EC550E.
Increased stick and bucket cylinder sizes on Cat's new 335 Next Gen excavator give the compact radius machine 15% greater digging force than its predecessor 335F. Hydraulic power has increased by 20%, while fuel consumption has decreased by up to 10%.
With an operating weight of 16,100 pounds, Case’s newest compact track loader is now the largest in the industry, designed for size and power for residential construction and land clearing. Built on an extra-large frame, Case says, the TV620B isn’t just the big brother of the TV450; the machine was redesigned from the ground up.
A Slovakia-based firm showcased what it says is the first globally, commercially available full-size electric skid steer at the Condex equipment show in Las Vegas.
Komatsu and Honda are jointly working on a micro electric excavator. The electric PC01 prototype is powered by a Honda Mobile Power Pack, which now powers Honda's scooters and Business Bike series. One of the base unit's distinctive features is that the operator straddles the machine much like a snowmobile or a personal watercraft.
The new Kubota KX057-5 conventional tail swing and U55-5 reduced tail swing models feature standard technology and comfort packages, all upgrades from the previous dash-4 models, Kubota says.
Kubota's new SVL97-2 compact track loader has 7,961 pounds of breakout force and a 3.4-foot reach at max height. Rated operating capacity is 3,200 pounds at 35% tipping load.
Doosan's new DL-7 Series wheel loaders have been revamped inside and out, representing the company's first major redesign of its loaders in over a decade. The exterior also has a new look, which has been winning awards for its streamlined, curvier appearance.
Compared with the previous 980M and 982M powershift models, Cat says its new 980 and 982 wheel loaders are 10% more productive and lower maintenance costs by 20%. Cat is also adding 980 XE and 982 XE models to the lineup, which feature a continuous variable transmission to increase fuel efficiency up to 35% and lower maintenance costs as much as 25%.
The Komatsu WE1850-3 loader is designed for mainline production and shovel backup as well as cleanup and ramp building in mine and quarry sites, while delivering double-digit improvements in fuel efficiency.
OTHER TOP EQUIPMENT STORIES
New self-propelled scraper designs don’t come around very often, so when they do it's big news, especially for any contractor who does high-volume earthmoving. If you’re not familiar with what these beasts of the field can do, the new Cat 651 wheel tractor scraper, with a push from a dozer, can load 104,000 pounds of material in 30 seconds.
JCB is going bigger and taller with its new eight-story-high rotating telehandler, the 512-83R, which it calls three machines in one. JCB says it can also serve as a crane or be equipped as an aerial work platform.
Product details are still sketchy — after all, it's still a test machine — but John Deere used the 2021 Utility Expo to strut out its electric backhoe, the 310 X-tier E-Power, now in real-world testing with utility client National Grid.
With its latest track loader, Cat has made everything good about the 963 even better. There’s more power, an updated cab, increased uptime and several improvements inspired by its latest dozers.
JLG has achieved an industry first with its all-electric DaVinci AE1932 scissor lift, which has no hydraulics. The lift, which rises up to 19 feet, is designed for environmentally sensitive jobsites by eliminating carbon emissions and the possibility of hydraulic leaks.
Manitou plans to introduce the world's smallest and lightest telehandlers in early 2022. During an unveiling of its latest aerial equipment in April, the company provided a brief teaser to its new rough-terrain Ultra Light Manitou line.
Xtreme’s new XR1585-C reaches higher than any other fixed-boom telehandler in the world.