EXCLUSIVE: JCB launches new 20-ton X-Series excavator, all-electric mini excavator, Stage V engines and more…


iVT was in attendance as JCB unveiled an exciting crop of new machines in a two-day launch event at its World HQ in Rocester, UK, and nearby Wreden Quarry earlier this week (March 12-13).

The leader of the pack was the brand new 220X crawler excavator, first in the much-awaited ‘X-Series’ range of machines that represents the culmination of four years of intensive research and development. This 20 metric ton heavyweight will replace the previous JS220 model and offers a 10% improvement in productivity and a 15% improvement in fuel efficiency.

“Every detail of these excavators has been examined and perfected to provide maximum durability and reliability in operation,” explained chief innovation and growth officer Tim Burnhope. “But more than that, we have made it easier for the operator and the service technician, reducing downtime for the customer and boosting profitability. The 220X heralds the arrival of a new generation of JCB excavators that will provide many years of faithful service across the world.”

A highlight of the X-Series vehicle is a 15% larger cab with integral ROPS structure and double-skinned doors which have been subjected to over 30,000 robustness tests, providing a new level of operator safety as well as 44% more cab ventilation and 43% less cab noise than the previous generation. Central main boom mounting ensures increased digging accuracy and durability and the upper-structure is 200mm wider than previous models at 2.7m, while a range of innovations including specific impact-points aim to keep machines looking newer for longer.

“We’re bringing these new JCB machines to market at a time of exceptional global growth,” said chief executive officer Graeme MacDonald (above). “Last year, the world market hit 897,000 units – that’s up more than 21% versus 2016. The global tracked excavator market was up by 43%.” It was in this context that MacDonald later introduced the X-Series machine. “This is a game-changing excavator, ready to seize the opportunities offered by this period of growth.”

JCB’s Clean Diesel Stage V engine

Engine technology was a key theme of proceedings, with JCB’s Clean Diesel Stage V solution revealed for the first time, incorporating diesel oxidation catalysts (DOC), integrated DPF and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to meet European Stage V emissions regulations, which begin to come into force from January 2019.

“JCB engines have low-emission, high-efficiency combustion systems developed for Stage IIIB and Tier 4,” said group director of engines Alan Tolley (above). “This means that we started development for Stage V from a good position. JCB’s particulate control technology features low particulate combustion, oxidation catalyst, filter and integrated engine and regeneration control system.”

The environmental benefits of clean diesel compared with rival technologies were highlighted. Manufacturing one lithium-ion electric car battery generates over 6 tons of CO₂ – as much as a diesel car generates in five years – while electric engines merely shift pollution to power stations burning fossil fuels, assembled journalists were told. Although scandals in the automotive industry have created negative perceptions around diesel, JCB has reduced CO₂ emissions across its products by 43% since 2010.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of developing innovative, near-zero-emission engines that give optimum power to construction equipment,” said Burnhope. “Make no mistake, diesel is crucial in generating the high power needed to shape and construct the future of the world we live in.”

All-electric mini excavator

Nevertheless, JCB made company history by unveiling its first-ever electric mini-excavator – the 19C-1 E-TEC – a zero-emissions machine and also the quietest excavator in JCB’s range, with external noise levels five times lower than the 19C-1 excavator on whose template it is based.

Three lithium-ion battery packs and an efficient 48V electric driveline provide autonomy over a full day in a typical duty cycles, JCB says, or four hours in extreme operations, with Bosch Rexroth load-sensing hydraulics instrumental to energy-efficient performance. A full re-charge takes six hours via the onboard charger, or just two-and-a-half hours with an optional off-board fast-charge unit.

“With urbanization comes the challenge of machines operating more closely with people as well as underground and indoors,” said Burnhope. “A new zero-emission sector is emerging – and emerging quickly – and we know the industry now expects and needs choice. We believe the 19C Electric Mini meets and exceeds the industry’s expectations.”

Safer site dumpers

There was also a new range of 1-9 metric ton safety-compliant site dumpers, including the flagship 7 metric ton 7T-1 Front Tip Hi-Viz model. This features an innovative low-slung chassis design, giving a 77% improvement in front visibility over a 6 metric ton conventional dumper when loaded, and payload center-of-gravity is 16% lower, significantly reducing risk of overturn.

Machines feature a drive-inhibitor system ensuring lap-belts are worn and a reinforced-frame JCB SiTESAFE cab with impact protection is standard on all 6-9 metric ton models.

“Accidents and site injuries involving dumpers have been all too common,” Burnhope reflected. “JCB has offered a range of site dumpers under a supply agreement since 2015. By designing and manufacturing our own range, we have taken the opportunity to move the market forward to a new level of safety and productivity.”

Tracked teleskid

Building on the success of the wheeled 3TS-8W Teleskid model, JCB also introduced a tracked version of its innovative Teleskid compact telescopic boom machine for European markets. The tracked 3TS-8T joins the popular wheeled 3TS-8W, offering a maximum load height of 4.1m and a forward reach of 2.25m.

“This is the single most innovative development of the compact tracked loader concept since its launch 20 years ago,” said Burnhope. “The machine lifts higher, reaches further and digs deeper than any other compact tracked loader of this size.”

Diesel mini-excavator

Another debutant was the 1.5 metric-ton 15C-1 mini-excavator, the 14th machine to be added to JCB’s next-generation mini- and midi-excavator range since its 2014 inception. It comes with a proven and powerful 11.7kW engine, reliable hydraulics and 100% steel bodywork for maximum impact protection and ease of repair.

It is available with cab and canopy options to suit all markets. It offers 2.5m maximum dig depth, 2.6m maximum dump height, while 500-hour greasing intervals give reduced downtime and 10 integral tie-down points facilitate easy transportation.

“The pace of innovation and new machine development here is relentless,” said Graeme MacDonald. “Last year we launched 46 brand new products and we’re maintaining that tempo in 2018 with the launch of at least 40 more JCB machines.”

By Jack Roper

March 16, 2018

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Tom Stone is Editor of the iVT brand – which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and the Advanced Lift-truck supplement, as well as ivtinternational.com, which is updated daily. Tom has met and interviewed some of the world's leading industrial vehicle OEM presidents, CEOs and MDs, and takes great pride in cementing iVT's place as the leading forum for debate within the industry, a reputation that his been built up over the brand's 25-year history.

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