Test Drives

Kobelco SK210LC

Independently Test Driven by Earthmoving Equipment Magazine

Class-leading economy and high work performance are the hallmarks of the new Kobelco Generation 10 range, and the SK210LC is an excellent example.

The first of the new generation Kobelcos to hit Australia are the 20-tonners, and while the heavy machines are as much focused on high-class Japanese design and manufacture as they’ve always been, and durability and environmental responsibility are very much in evidence, it’s the incredible fuel efficiency of the SK210LC that’s grabbing everyone’s attention. Still, as we walked around the new machine at Stapylton Quarry on Queensland’s Gold Coast it was obvious there’d been quite a few refinements.

It was a seriously tough worksite, and we don’t know we’ve worked too many machines as hard as we worked this one.


Improved fuel efficiency

Kobelco’s claiming a 16 per cent increase in fuel efficiency compared to the H mode on the SK200-8. A new arm interflow system more efficiently controls hydraulic fluid flow, and a significant reduction in in-line resistance and pressure loss make a big contribution, as does the electronic-control common-rail engine using high-pressure fuel injection and multiple injection with improved precision.

The engine is fitted with an EGR cooler, which greatly reduces PM and NOx emissions and meets TIER3 Standards, and the result is a highly efficient hydraulic system that minimises fuel consumption while maximising power.

The SK210LC is nimble and offers more than ample digging grunt.


The work environment
The operator of a new Kobelco has some very luxurious features to look forward to.

There’s a quick-hitch hydraulic line that makes for faster attachment changes, and while our test machine didn’t have the factory piping tilt circuit, all models from January 2016 will. That should make them even more amazing.

Kobelco claims it takes a whopping 38 per cent less effort to work the operation lever. While that lever’s in use, the operator has a brilliant colour graphic display to show fuel consumption, maintenance intervals, coolant temperature and a stack of other parameters. Directly under the colour LCD display is a switch panel offering nearly as many choices, but one we really liked was the One-touch attachment mode switch. One flick of this switch converts the hydraulic circuit and flow amount to match attachment changes, and coloured icons help the operator to confirm the proper configuration at a glance – a glance the operator can enjoy from the comfort of the air suspension seat.

Of course the cab itself plays a big part in operator comfort, and the high level of airtight sealing helps keep noise levels extremely low and allows the air-conditioning to work with excellent efficiency, while coil springs absorb small vibrations and high suspension mounts filled with silicone oil reduce heavy vibration.

Vision from the cabin is fantastic. It’s a very noticeable facet of the machine. There’s no centre pillar on the right side and the fuel tank has been relocated, so the range of vision almost feels panoramic.

Relocating the tank also prepares the SK210LC for the coming TIER4 requirements and will allow easy installation of the addblue tank.

From the easy access, reclining operator’s chair through the USB connector and 12-volt power outlet right down to the drink holder, the SK210LC offers the kind of work environment that should keep fatigue to an absolute minimum, no matter how long the shifts.

As a final, very pleasing detail, many daily checks and regular maintenance tasks can be done from ground level.



Ready for work

After giving the Kobelco a thorough workout we came away more than a little impressed. Operation of the machine is smooth and precise, and functions were quite quick for a machine of its size, while still retaining good breakout/performance.


Engine type: Direct injection, four-cylinder, water-cooled, four-cycle diesel with turbocharger and intercooler

Bore and stroke: 112mm x 130mm

Displacement: 5.123 litre

Rated power output: 114kW/2000 min-1 (ISO 9249). 118 kW/2000 min-1 (ISO 14396)

Max torque: 569N•m/1600 min-1 (ISO 9249). 592 N•m/1,600 min-1 (ISO 14396)


Hydraulic system

Type: Two variable displacement pumps plus one gear pump

Maximum discharge flow: 2 x 220 L/min, 1 x 20 L/min, 1 x 44L/min (optional gear pump)


Swing system        

Swing motor: Axial piston motor

Brake: Hydraulic; locking automatically when the swing control lever is in neutral position

Parking brake: Oil disc brake, hydraulic operated automatically

Swing speed: 13.3 min-1 (rpm)

Tail swing radius: 2910mm

Minimum front swing radius: 3550mm


Travel system


Travel motors: 2 x axial-piston, two-step motors

Travel brakes: Hydraulic brake per motor

Parking brakes: Oil disc brake per motor

Travel shoes: 46 (49) each side

Travel speed: 6.0/3.6kph

Drawbar pulling force: 229kN (ISO 7464)

Gradeability: 70 per cent (35°)


Can and control

Cab: All-weather, sound-suppressed steel cab mounted on the high suspension mounts filled with silicone oil and equipped with a heavy, insulated floor mat

Control: Two hand levers and two foot pedals for travel. Two hand levers for excavating and swing. Electric rotary-type engine throttle


Boom, arm and bucket

Boom cylinders: 120mm x 1355mm

Arm cylinder: 135mm x 1558mm

Bucket cylinder: 120mm x 1080mm


Refilling capacities and lubrications

Fuel tank: 320 litre

Cooling system: 18 litre

Engine oil: 20.5 litre

Travel reduction gear: 2 x 5.3 litre

Swing reduction gear: 2.7 litre

Hydraulic oil tank: 140-litre oil level. 244-litre hydraulic system

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