Independently Test Driven by Earthmoving Equipment Magazine
In the past couple of decades, we’ve witnessed some amazing advancements in our industry. Not only with construction methodologies and the scale of the tasks we undertake, but also with the tools we use to deliver our projects. This evolution has created the need for faster, quieter, more energy-efficient products, but some of the most obvious changes are in machine configuration. Wacker Neuson as an equipment manufacturer has never been content to follow their competitors’ lead. They pioneered the Vertical Dig System on their compact excavator range, setting their brand apart from every other manufacturer. It should come as no surprise then that they are taking on the wheeled excavator market with two models, the EW100, and the smaller and soon-to-be-released EW65.
Having not had much exposure to wheeled excavators previously, this was a bit of a learning experience for me. A quick read of the operator’s manual and a crash course to gain an understanding of the controls and we were in business. The EW100 is a great choice where speed and mobility are important, and accessibility to the work site is reached from sensitive ground conditions such as roadways.
For the uninitiated, 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 Wacker Neuson EW100 is powered by an interim tier 4 compliant, 116hp, 4 cylinder Perkins 854 engine. Hydraulic pumps and other components are Rexroth. The weight range for the EW100 varies depending on specifications, ranging from between 9590kg and 11,260kg.
Rather than just an excavator on wheels, the Wacker Neuson EW100 goes beyond the capabilities of a conventional excavator. Forgetting about everything from the track frame down for a moment, the Wacker Neuson EW100 boasts some enviable features. Not only does it have a swing boom to improve manoeuvrability in the horizontal plane, it also has an additional boom pivot point which enables more vertical reach. This is referred to as a Triple Boom configuration. The upper swinging structure features minimal-swing overhang geometry, further improving accessibility in tight quarters. All of this comes on a machine capable of travelling at 40kph.
To get down to what you really want to know – what does it dig like? Truthfully, it wasn’t that dissimilar to operating a conventional excavator. There are obviously some things you have to work around with a machine that is a hybrid in the true sense of the word. The Wacker Neuson EW100 features both the pilot control levers of an excavator, along with the steering wheel and pedals of a loader or wheel dozer. With the steering wheel tilted back towards yourself, the pilot levers bump the steering wheel while operating, but with the steering console in the forward position, it partially impedes your vision to the bucket. The Wacker Neuson EW100 also features a push blade which serves an additional function as a stabiliser. This is more of an advantage on a pneumatic rubber-tyred machine than it is on a machine with a conventional track frame undercarriage.
The Wacker Neuson EW100 has some clever features that optimise manoeuvrability and stability. The operator can select between a conventional, single-axle steering mode and two optional additional all-wheel steer modes. One sees both steering axles turn in opposite directions to enable tight radius turns, and the other has both axles turning together to allow the machine to crab into tight positions. When stationary, the front pivoting axle can be hydraulically locked in any position. What this means is that if your machine is sitting flat, but the axles are on uneven angles, hydraulic rams on either side of the axle pivot point can be locked at the angle they’re sitting at to stabilise the machine in that position.
The operator’s station features a simple, yet functional monitor panel. The sheer volume of switches, levers and controls of various types in this machine means that not everything can be in an ideal ergonomic location. Even so, with limited space to work with, and so much going on, the resulting layout works. With various power modes to cater to the requirements of an array of tasks, the operator can alter the machine set-up as required. Vision to the front is enhanced by way of a unique window-stowing design. The lower-front glass panel slides up to attach to the upper-front glass panel, allowing them to stow together. The air suspension seat improves ride quality, especially at the speeds the EW100 is capable of, while climate-control air conditioning ensures that the operator’s station maintains the desired temperature.
In all, the Wacker Neuson EW100 Wheeled Excavator brings something a little different than your average machine. If there’s one of these on site, it’s going to have your interest. In the right application, there is no match for the Wacker Neuson EW100.
To take a closer look, get online and find a Wacker Neuson representative in your state or territory.