Advancements in attachment technology expand equipment versatility

By Belinda SmartNovember 22, 2021

Caterpillar’s next generation of primary and secondary pulverizers are said to deliver up to 52% faster cycle times, producing more tons-per-gallon of fuel burned

Attachments increase the versatility of tool carrier machines from skid steers up to the largest excavators. With the right mix in your fleet, you can use one machine to do the work of what once took several.

Recent studies by industry research firm Fact.MR says advancements in technology will see the construction equipment attachment market expand 1.3 times in terms of value from 2020 to 2030.

Demand for excavator attachments, a key sub-category of the market, is also on the rise, according to research by the Insight Partners.

“Growing urbanization and industrialization have raised the demand for excavators, which directly affects the growth of the excavator attachments market,” the study said. “An increase in the number of smart city projects and heavy spending by governments on infrastructure development propels the growth of the excavator attachments market during the forecast period.”

Better excavator buckets

Leading OEMs are responding to demand with increasingly durable, and adaptable excavator buckets. Volvo CE, for example, offers a heavy-duty bucket for rock handling – wear cover 30% on the bottom, and 50% on the sides.

Meanwhile the latest Komatsu buckets are designed for durability and adaptability to most excavators and applications.

“The Komatsu bucket is optimally designed for all phases of each working cycle: easy penetration during the digging phase, smooth and effortless curling of the bucket, fast material uptake, maximized fill ratio and effortless emptying of the bucket,” the company says.

Tobroco-Giant, for its part, has developed a new line of buckets for ground planning work. The adaptable buckets are designed to perform tasks - including stripping topsoil, dozing and landscaping - using only one bucket.

The bucket is equipped with a double cutting edge at the front, rear edge at the back and two sliding strips under the bucket. For an optimal view on the front blade, both sides next to the hitch are semi-open. It’s available in widths between 140 and 175 cm and can optionally be equipped with screwable side plates.

Backhoe attachments turn compact loaders into excavators

Bobcat has launched a backhoe attachment for its skid steers and compact track loaders, which the company says, “converts a Bobcat loader into a powerful excavator, allowing customers to increase the versatility of their machines and the return on their investment.”

Bobcat's backhoe attachment is available in four configurations that offer a choice of digging depths, reach and hook-up systems

Designed for applications in construction, utility, road work, landscaping and more, it’s available in four configurations [the two Versatile (V) B32V and B35V models and the two Standard (S) B32S and B35S models] that offer a choice of digging depths, reach and hook-up systems.

The largest model in the range offers a maximum digging depth of 10.8 feet and a maximum reach of 13 feet.

Unlike the Standard models, the Versatile versions of the backhoe attachment have a double-acting auxiliary line that allows more attachments to be used with the backhoe attachment, including Bobcat hydraulic attachments such augers, breakers and tilt buckets. The previous version of the backhoe attachment only allowed for non-hydraulic attachments, such as buckets to be used.

The V-versions of the backhoe attachment are also equipped as standard with the trademarked Klac mechanical coupling system, which ensures that attachments can be changed more quickly.

Making a motor grader out of a compact loader 

Case Construction Equipment has introduced the Case Precision Grader Blade for large-frame compact track loaders.

This new feature delivers grading capabilities in a more compact and agile footprint, Case said, which allows contractors to increase their productivity and efficiency by utilizing CTLs for their jobsites’ grading needs.

Compatible with 2D and 3D precision grading solutions, the Grader Blade includes laser receivers (single or dual), GPS/GNSS (single or dual), sonic tracers, total stations and Case’s SiteControl.

“This is built for those applications where contractors have always wanted the power and precision of a motor grader but were unable to justify it based on size, access or cost,” said Jerry Hutkowski, product manager with Case Construction Equipment (CE). “It takes the large-frame CTL that many contractors already own and turns it into a powerful precision grading solution capable of working on sites where a larger machine isn’t practical or can’t gain access.”

Road maintenance attachments for variety of tool carriers

Bobcat’s sweeper range includes five models approved to use with Bobcat tool carriers including skid steers and compact track loaders, compact wheel loaders, small articulated loaders and rigid-frame telehandlers.

Bobcat has also launched a range of sweeper attachments as part of its road maintenance equipment offering.

The company says, “the sweepers complement a wide choice of products for this sector, including planer, wheel saw, soil and asphalt spreader, grader, trencher and angle broom products.

“Combined with the growing lineup of Bobcat tool carriers, these provide high-performance solutions for asphalt, concrete, road, pavement surface repair and many other applications.”

The five models in the new Bobcat range provide sweeping widths from 43 to 85 inches. All model sizes are now available with unified platform features.

They also feature tougher, longer life heavy-duty bristles, and in response to customer feedback, Bobcat has developed a new optional integrated water tank unit, installed on top of the sweeper itself, with a cleverly designed, optimally front-positioned sprinkler system.

The sweeper attachments employ Bobcat’s ‘plug and play’ system, which enables the operator to install and change attachments in less than a minute.

Bobcat has also released a planer attachment and soil and asphalt spreader range for repairing potholes, surface cracks and ice damage as well as milling surfaces and working around manholes. The range of planers from Bobcat covers cutting widths from 14 up to 47 inches.

Other uses include creating cuts for recessed lane markers; matching uneven pavement surfaces; producing vertical edges for pavement repairs; cutting drainage in parking lots and for tapering edges of roadways.

Also from Bobcat and described as “rugged, powerful” the wheel saw attachments cut through asphalt, concrete, frozen ground, wire mesh and other hard materials “with more precision than either air or hydraulic breakers,” the OEM claims. “They can be used for road repair and cutting trenches for laying water, gas, electric and fibre-optic cable lines.”

Faster and hungrier pulverizer attachments

Caterpillar’s next generation of primary and secondary pulverizers are said to deliver up to 52% faster cycle times, producing more tons-per-gallon of fuel burned.

The new Cat Pulverizer line includes three new rotatable primary models – P318, P324 and P332 – which feature 360-degree rotation, and three new fixed secondary models – P218, P224 and P232. Both pulverizer series are designed to fit 20- to 55-ton machines.

The new design is built around the SpeedBooster technology found in Cat Multi-Processors, which quickly closes the jaw when there is no load. When the jaw comes into contact with material, the SpeedBooster hydraulic valve automatically switches to power mode for maximum power, quickly shattering concrete.

Caterpillar says its new primary pulverizers offer up to 52% faster cycle times and 21% higher force than the previous models.

Cat Secondary Pulverizers are said to deliver up to 44% faster cycle times and up to 20% better force in concrete demolition, resulting in up to 15% greater performance in secondary material processing applications. Wide jaw openings allow operators to grab more material from any angle, increasing processing speed and improving overall material throughput.

Integrated into all new pulverizers, Cat asset tracking is available for quick attachment locating.

Hydrodemolition attachments chew up concrete

Keith Armishaw, business development manager at Aquajet, says Aquajet Hydrodemolition attachments are increasingly being used to precisely remove concrete without damaging underlying rebar, and their success in traditional, flat areas has also led to demand in more challenging applications.

To meet that demand, hydrodemolition robot manufacturers have add-ons and accessories designed for working at greater heights and in specialty applications.

Contractors can take on concrete at any angle - horizontal, vertical or overhead - by bolting steel frames or spines to the demolition surface and attaching a hydrodemolition robot cutting head.

“The head moves across the spine to remove material in the desired area to a pre-set depth. These mechanical steel structures expand a machine’s capabilities far beyond the original design, allowing contractors to quickly and easily remove concrete in large or difficult-to-reach sections,” the company said.

Meanwhile, circular supports allow hydrodemolition robots to remove concrete from pillars or piles, including those underwater. The cutting head moves at a pre-set distance around the pillar, moving up or down until it reaches the required depth.

Armishaw says hydrodemolition jobs in enclosed areas are also benefiting from conversion kits that allow diesel-powered robots to operate using electricity, eliminating the risk of fumes.

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