Got a full-scale home renovation coming? If you’re worried that your mini excavator won’t be up to the job, you’ve come to the right place.
But first off, let’s clear the confusion between a mini-excavator and a compact excavator. Some people use those terms interchangeably, but they’re in fact distinct from one another. In general, A mini excavator is classified among the machines weighing up to 6 metric tons, or about 13,200 pounds. But some brands, including Caterpillar, group their minis in their 8-metric ton machines. So what’s called “mini” or “compact” also depends on the brand.
As for the purpose of a mini excavator, it’s more than just a toy. Some people in construction may underestimate its capabilities due to its diminutive size, but don’t be fooled by it. As with any vehicle, you can boost the performance and function of your mini excavator with maintenance and some modification.
That said, here are some ways to make your mini excavator perform big:
1. Insert Attachments
Aftermarket Caterpillar excavator parts can make a big difference in your mini machine. If you need to demolish parts of your home or remove broken concrete chunks, an attachment called a thumb or clamp will ease down the job for you.
Thumbs can also remodel or help create a landscape garden. It can remove tree stumps, prep a site, or move rocks and other aesthetic features in a landscape. To increase the capabilities of your thumb, consider an attachment that includes a hydraulic pressure, tool dimensions, and a cylinder.
If you’re going to remove boulders or large logs, adjust your thumb’s auxiliary hydraulic relief valve pressure down to the original setting. This avoids damage to the thumb’s cylinder. Keep the pressure to 1,800 pounds per square inch (psi), and choose a more rounded thumb to minimize strain on your machine.
Hammers and breakers are good attachments for demolition work as well. You can choose between two operating system designs, namely gas over oil or fully hydraulic. The former results in a highly efficient transfer of energy to the piston and the working tool. A fully hydraulic design, on the other hand, generate impact energy through hydraulic oils and the stroke length of the piston.
For digging jobs, an auger is the best attachment. Switch out the bucket for it, and your mini excavator will evolve from a basic digging and trenching machine to a giant drill. It will boreholes for fence posts, piers, poles, or trees.
With an auger, your mini excavator will gain a reach, which lifts the auger so that it will avoid obstacles like shrubs, fences, or holes. As a result, the auger can target specific areas without disturbing its surroundings. It will also help you reach an area from across the road, without you having to drive on uneven ground.
2. Boost Breaker Performance
If you attach a breaker to your mini excavator, grease the attachment following the manufacturer’s instructions, and always put down the pressure on the tool. This ensures that the top is seated inside of the breaker prior to itsactivation. Re-apply grease every two hours, or as often as needed. If the tool starts to break through the material, deactivate the breaker.
To reduce the chances of backfiring, run the breaker for 15 to 30 seconds, and if it doesn’t break through the material yet, just reposition the breaker, and try again. Maintain a 90-degree angle on the breaker tool.
Operating the breaker can be quite risky, as it can cause debris to fly around while breaking through a material. Hence, avoid using the breaker if someone is nearby and could be hurt. Avoid detaching the breaker while the hydraulic oil is still hot from use, and do not touch the demolition tool as well after use. Wait for the oil and the demolition tool to cool down first.
Furthermore, consider if your mini excavator operations follow OSHA regulations. Just because you’re working on your own home doesn’t mean you get a free pass for noncompliance. If there might be silica on-site, mitigate its effects by adding a water feature on your breaker.
3. Maintain Proper Track Tension
Most mini excavators have rubber tracks. Maintain this track by keeping it properly adjusted. This increases its longevity and reduces wear damage. Once the tracks loosen, adjust it immediately to avoid unnecessary downtimes or reinstallation of a new track.
But don’t make the tracks too tight either. It may cause the rubber to tear, or increase wear on the other components. To ensure that your track tension is just right, refer to the manufacturer’s manual, and note the track’s sagging regularly.
Most importantly, don’t be late on your mini excavator’s regularly scheduled maintenance or servicing. The machine may look far from appealing, but it’s just as precious as your recreational auto.