Sogo shosha (go on, Google it!)

Sogo shosha (go on, Google it!)

Perhaps best known for their diggers, Hitachi produce one of the most comprehensive range of excavators in the market. Offering machines with operating weights from 1,880 kg through to 837 tonnes, Hitachi draw upon an extensive and diverse knowledge base to create a wellrounded line-up of digging machines.

Often overlooked in articles for the sexy big end of town, Hitachi's range of construction/production machines are reliable workhorses that are equally at home in civil/infrastructure applications as well as mine sites.

The unsung heroes, these medium range of machines operate in a hotly contested market with Komatsu, Caterpillar, Kobelco and Liebherr (to name but a few), all vying for the top spot and ultimate customer spend. While reliability, performance and efficiency prove critical in this space, I strongly suspect the colour, operator comfort and financial deals on offer prove just as persuasive in the purchasing decision.

Introduced in August 2016, the ZX-5 range of diggers comprise 13 variants ranging from the smaller ZX130 through to the ZX890. These machines principally featured a redesigned hydraulic system, auto shut down and auto idle features as well as powertrain upgrades.

In a market awash with options, the ZX890 faces stiff competition in the form of the Komatsu PC850, Caterpillar 385, Kobelco SK850 and in international markets, the Liebherr R 976.

Powered by a fuel-efficient Isuzu 6-cylinder engine with 377 kW, the ZX890 and its younger sibling the ZX690 have upgraded their power packs that in previous models were at times considered underdone.

Turbocharged and intercooled, these engines provide just that extra bit of oomph and for Australian conditions are a EPA Tier 3 Equivalent engine providing greater flexibility than the Tier 4 rated engines now promoted in Europe and America (think at the most basic levels, the challenges now being faced with cars incorporating AdBlue).

Sporting thick plate, single sheet mainframe, box-section track frames and industry leading double-seal swing bearing, these machines are ultimately durable and rightfully earn their position on any Australian work site.

Fitted with a 13,300kg counterweight, owners are afforded an array of digging options with bucket sizes from 3.5 to 5 cu m depended upon the application of use. With centralised lube banks and easy to access engine and hydraulic sample ports, operators can quickly and efficiently conduct proactive maintenance checks, ensuring longer, reliable operation (an all too often challenge with operators completing reliable prestart checks).

As with every article and machine considered for @ The Coalface, I believe that each OEM offers its own unique blend of qualities that, depending upon your fleet and application, can prove persuasive. Be it Caterpillar, Komatsu, Liebherr, Hitachi or any of the other manufacturers, each brand has ultimately been derived from it's own backgrounds and philosophies and as such, rightfully developed a set of loyal follows.

I do however admire the Japanese, their philosophy and in instances such as Hitachi, the Sogo shosha or large trading houses that underpin their heritage, offering a breadth of sector experience that span far wider than 'just' earthmoving machines. For those of you that are in the market for a midsize digging machine, the Hitachi ZX890 demands your attention and should not be overlooked.

This article was originally published by the Components Only team in the July 2019 issue of "@ The Coal Face" magazine.

Published 22 July, 2019
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