Volvo EC500 reveals the company’s new excavator direction

By Larry StewartMarch 16, 2023

Volvo pushes toward its vision of zero-accident work sites with Obstacle Detection (Photo: Volvo CE)

Volvo Construction Equipment offered visitors to CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 a peek at its new excavator direction, displaying a pre-production unit of the all-new 50-ton EC500. The most obvious difference in this successor to the Volvo EC480E is the cab design but the technologies it contains, particularly those directed at safety, are the big news.

“A pre-production model, there will be some differences to the appearance of the EC500 that will be available to our customers,” said Stephen Roy, president of Volvo CE North America, “But it gives an insight into the future, with enhanced safety, operability and productivity.

“At Volvo CE we continue to proactively develop intelligent solutions to improve safety and avoid accidents on the jobsite, so the addition of Volvo Smart View with Obstacle Detection is another important step towards our vision for zero accidents.”

Safety and productivity tech

New cab styling comes with new control layout and features including high-definition co-pilot screen, keyless engine start, wired and wireless smart phone charging and new work mode switch.

Volvo Smart View with Obstacle Detection is a valuable new addition that delivers significant safety benefits. Improved camera technology offers a 360-degree view around the machine and new radar detection system provides automatic alerts when the excavator approaches any obstacle, identifying and classifying them as an object or human, and giving the operator time to act.

Productivity and safely options include an operator coaching app, a suite of tools called Volvo Dig Assist designed to help dig accurately without manually marking the site and checking depths and grades, and Volvo Lift Assist. They’re all accessed from the Co-Pilot screen. Volvo Active Control, an automated grading system and part of the Dig Assist suite, will also be available for the first time on an excavator of this size.

Faster cycles, less fuel
Volvo’s new EC500 will get three-point access guard rails and a top handrail that can fold for transportation. (Photo: Volvo CE)

New electric joysticks give the operator even more control over the hydraulic system. The excavator’s hydraulic pumps can be operated together or virtually disconnected, allowing the operator to activate the boom without affecting track speed. Increased controllability shortens cycle times and improves fuel efficiency.

Comfort Driver Control allows the operator to move the machine forward, backward and steer with the joysticks. Operators can customize the machine’s hydraulic responses to control inputs and save them in Co-Pilot so they can be quickly and easily accessed in the future.

Volvo increased the cooling capacity means the EC500 and extended service intervals from 2,000 to 3,000 hours for the hydraulic oil and filter. Production of the EC500 will begin at Volvo’s excavator plant in Changwon, Korea, in the fourth quarter of 2023. It will be available in regulated markets including North America, Europe and Korea. More models of this next generation excavator will follow.

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