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Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) NV has launched the first of a new generation of excavators, the ZH210LC-5 hybrid. The latest innovative Zaxis-5 model has been designed to deliver reliable performance with fewer emissions and less fuel than conventional models.

More economical for owners, easier for operators and better for the environment, the ZH210LC-5 hybrid incorporates advanced technologies adopted from hydraulic, electric and battery-powered excavators. The result is the TRIAS HX system, which reduces fuel consumption and CO2 by up to 31 per cent.

The new ZH210LC-5 hybrid excavator provides energy-saving performance without compromising on power, speed or ease of operation. Thanks to the flexible combination of a proven hydraulic motor and an eco-friendly electric motor, it can give the same high levels of efficiency and smooth swing motion as all Zaxis-5 hydraulic models.

The TRIAS HX system combines a hybrid system with an energy-efficient TRIAS hydraulic system to achieve extremely low levels of fuel consumption. The hybrid system incorporates a swing motor that converts energy generated during swing braking into electrical energy. This is transferred via the Power Control Unit and stored in the capacitor unit, before being used to help the engine accelerate and move the upper structure.

The energy-efficient TRIAS hydraulic system enhances the performance of the Hitachi ZH210LC-5 hybrid excavator. This employs a three-pump/three-control valve system, which results in greater accuracy and reduces pressure loss that consequently saves energy. The ZH210LC-5 also has an electric power assist system that comes into force for small swing operations. It uses energy from electric swing motors to carry out such movements, further reducing the machine’s fuel consumption.

While the ZH210LC-5 model matches the performance characteristics of the other medium excavators in the Hitachi Zaxis-5 range, its ability to switch between the hybrid and TRIAS systems results in further reduced running costs and an even greater contribution to profitability.

In addition, the ZH210LC-5 has been designed with a monitoring system, which highlights fuel consumption and energy usage on an average hourly and daily basis. This gives the operator an accurate indication of the machine’s efficiency and encourages greater awareness of economic operating techniques.

After a day’s work, for example, the operator can check how fuel is saved and identify ways to further reduce consumption. The HYB icon on the monitor indicates that the hybrid system is operating and is illuminated once the amount of electricity in the capacitor has reached a sufficient level.

Prior to launch, the ZH210LC-5 hybrid excavator underwent a rigorous winter test in the Arctic Circle under the supervision of Finnish contractor Maansiirtoliike Kemppe Oy. It used the machine for earthmoving and loading trucks from January until March 2014 on a road construction project in Rovaniemi alongside its existing fleet of conventional medium Zaxis-3 and -5 excavators.

In freezing temperatures that plummeted to -30°C, the machine was tested to the limit by experienced operator Kari Saraniemi. “The swing motion on the hybrid excavator means that it is even more smooth and precise than a conventional machine,” he enthuses. “In addition, it is less noisy in the cab and the fuel consumption is excellent.”

Kari carried out daily checks on the hybrid system in addition to the routine maintenance managed by Finnish Hitachi dealer Rotator’s technician Pasi Törmänen. “It has been really interesting to work on the hybrid winter test and to learn about Hitachi’s latest advanced technology,” he explains. “The system has been easy to maintain and is extremely reliable, but the most impressive aspect for me is how quiet the machine is.”

The owner of Maansiirtoliike Kemppe Oy, Tuomo Kemppe, says, “I would have no hesitation in recommending the ZH210LC-5 and we will evaluate its purchase price and running costs next time we are buying a new machine. The hybrid machine is very quiet and easy to operate, the swing motion is smooth and responsive, and the fuel consumption is certainly favourable in comparison to our other machines working on the same site.”