By Earthmoving Equipment Magazine April 2016
Some of history’s most notable figures were ‘different’ to the mainstream, their faces immediately recognisable due to their brilliance and individuality. Similarly, the Wacker Neuson excavator range is probably the most unique product line in the small excavator space. The range, features and variants on offer are unlike any other OEM. Wacker Neuson is a European manufacturer that formed out of the 2007 merge of two companies; Wacker Construction Equipment AG and Neuson Kramer Baumaschinen. Today, the Wacker Neuson excavator product lines are manufactured in Austria, featuring industry-leading powertrain components.
The new 14504 excavator, for example, has an operating weight of 15,550kg, putting it in between many other OEM models. Take a closer look and you’ll start noticing some differences to the mainstream excavator. You’ll notice that the engine enclosures lift up to reveal an easily accessible engine and control valve, eliminating the need to climb on to the machine and therefore negating the need for handrails. This improves vision to the rear and removes one safety risk entirely. Servicing the machine from ground level is therefore easy as there is neither a need nor a means of accessing a higher working position.
The Wacker Neuson 14504 also boasts an impressive list of features to improve its productivity and versatility. The unit that EEM was invited to test had rubber tracks, allowing accessibility to more locations with a reduced risk of ground disturbance. It also featured a push blade which acts as a stabiliser and a swing boom with a very large, robust-looking cast hinge point knuckle. For those uninitiated in manufacturing techniques, a casting is usually more durable than a manufactured structure, but is also often more expensive to produce. The use of a casting in a high-stress area such as this, where there are forces coming in at different angles, demonstrates a commitment to build quality as opposed to budget.
Performance wise, the Wacker Neuson 14504 ticks the boxes. The 4-litre Deutz TCD2012-L04 engine produces 75kW and the hydraulic circuit can flow up to 305.5 litres per minute. What this means for the operator is power and speed when you need it. In the operator’s cab, the seat is comfortable and the range of visibility is good. The interior trim and instrumentation are more functional than aesthetic, as is the reverse with some competitive OEMs. Sound levels from the operator’s station are low and the air conditioner cools the cab space nicely. The test machine performed well; the controls were precise, making fine-control operations easy. The combination of the push blade stabilising the machine and the additional mass of the machine make the Wacker Neuson 14504 very stable too. With the narrow bucket we had on the day, breakout was no issue either.
The paint scheme and decal package are appealing and the quality of the paint coating appears good. The finish and alignment of the exterior panel work is neat and tidy. If you’re in the market for a compact excavator that has all the features of a Swiss Army knife and performance to rival the competition, take a look at the new Wacker Neuson 14504.