When PlusNet’s Chris Vermeulen was introduced to the Kubota U50 mini-excavators at Smith Power Equipment’s (SPE) Nampo 2017 stand, it did not take long for him to make up his mind. “I was immediately impressed with their power to size ratio, their maneuverability in tight spaces and their range of features which promoted efficiency. So we bought three units with attachments including augurs, breakers and standard buckets.”
“One of the most impressive features of this machine is the superb matching performance of every front attachment which contributes to the smooth and efficient overall operation,” Vermeulen says.
BTI BX6 Hydraulic Breaker
One of his attachments is the BTI BX6 Hydraulic Breaker, which is extremely effective across a wide range of applications including trenching, construction, demolition, quarrying, mining and recycling. Some of its more important features include: stable, high-speed percussion; exceptional durability; long stroke piston design providing high levels of constant blow energy; and optimal sound dampening making it the ideal tool for high density population areas.
Auger Torque 5500 auger
Another attachment he acquired is the Auger Torque 5500 auger, which comes standard with Augur Torque’s unique Non-Dislodgement Shaft – a single-piece drive shaft assembled top down and locked into the augur housing. This design guarantees that the shaft will never fall out making for a very safe work environment for both operators and surrounding workers. “This is a must-have feature for any safety conscious company,” says SPE excavator sales manager Charl Kemp. He adds that the auger’s unique planetary gearbox enables the motor’s output torque to be increased with extreme efficiency helping to ensure the tool’s durability and reliability.
Kubota U50 features
Two features of the Kubota U-50 that help to bring the best out of these attachments are, firstly, the third line hydraulic return which, when working with one-way hydraulic attachments, allows oil to flow directly back to the tank without running through the control valves resulting in less oil contamination, reduced back pressure and greater oil-flow efficiency.
The second feature is the one-pump load sensing system, which adjusts hydraulic pressure automatically according to the load changes and reacts precisely to the movement of the control lever. Since the engine load is small, various inching and compounding operations can be undertaken while eliminating unnecessary loss of hydraulic flow.
“Kubota fundamental to its operation”
The Kubota U-50s are not a ‘nice-to-have’ tool for PlusNet. They are fundamental to its operation. “We use them to drill holes, dig trenches and break rock for the installation of our standard product, which is shade cloth structures, or windbreaks, that cover very large areas of agricultural crops, including fruit-trees, table grapes, vegetables and more.”
Erecting this netting will often entail the digging of holes for 10 000 anchor poles and the digging of trenches at the end of each row of poles to accommodate anchors that stabilize the netting. “We need to work very accurately and fast and the Kubotas have been instrumental in our success in this regard,” Vermeulen says. “The machines work as a ‘team’ – one drilling, one breaking rock and one digging and removing waste – and they have done this efficiently and reliably. I am more than satisfied with their overall performance,” Vermeulen says.
40 years of experience
The excellent performance of the Kubota U50s is, of course, not surprising. The fact is that in its almost 40 years’ involvement in the mini-excavator industry Kubota has continuously set the standard with technological innovations that have rocked the industry. The integration of the zero tail swing and ability of the boom to swivel was one such innovation.
Others, which also helped create the future of compact construction machinery, included the pioneering, advanced features of Auto Idle, an LCD panel with self-diagnosis function and Kubota’s revolutionary one pump load sensing system.
The Kubota U50’s Auto Idle system helps save up to 10% fuel. When the control levers are in neutral for more than four seconds, the engine idles automatically. Move any control levers and the engine immediately engages. This innovative feature reduces noise, exhaust emissions and running costs.
The digital LCD panel and the Kubota Intelligent Control System (KICS) help reduce downtime and save on repair and technician costs by providing accurate and timely diagnostic readings and routine maintenance alerts. The service technicians are easily notified of the operational history of the machine through the Auto Save function which automatically displays error history. This shortens inspection and repair time, which also helps reduce cost.
The one pump load sensing system adjusts the hydraulic pressure automatically according to the load changes and reacts precisely to the movement of the control lever. Since the engine load is small, various inching and compounding operations can be undertaken while eliminating unnecessary loss of hydraulic flow.
One of the more important features of the Kubota U-50 is how simple the procedure is for routine inspection, service and maintenance. There are several innovations that make this so: right-side bonnet – hydraulic system inspection points are consolidated on the right side for easy access; rear-side bonnet – engine parts are consolidated at rear-end for easy access; independent hydraulic hoses – make maintenance or replacement easy; fuel tank drain valve – is conveniently placed; and more.
SPE excavator sales manager Charl Kemp says that for PlusNet to be so satisfied with the Kubota mini-excavators is a feather in the cap for his company. “You will not find these machines working harder than they do at PlusNet and their performance there is a very powerful statement of their overall ability,” he says adding that Kubota mini excavators are used the internationally in a variety of construction applications including agricultural jobs, road-building, municipal works, pipe-laying, landscaping, water conservation projects and more. “Our Kubota mini-excavators’ characteristics of being tough, reliable, efficient and easy to operate and service, enable them to work in the toughest conditions and take on any challenge,” he says.
PlusNet Shade Netting Supplier
PlusNet has a comprehensive range of agricultural shade netting tailored to improve spectral transmittance and provide the optimal lighting and wind protection for crops. “Our range of agricultural and decorative shade cloth nets, which is manufactured by PlusNet, range from 3% to 90% shade protecting the crop from harsh sunlight, wind and hail enabling the farmer to save more than 30% water and to increase their yield by up to 25%,” Vermeulen says.
“With climate change and the ever-increasing costs of farming, old agricultural methods are rapidly being replaced by smart farming, like the implementation of our shade cloth structures, for both shade and wind protection, which help to significantly boost the bottom line,” he concludes.
This article was feature in Eastern Cape Industrial and Business – Sep 2017.
This article was featured in the Capital Equipment News – Nov 2017.
This article was featured in the CPHA Aug and Sep 2017.
This article was featured in the UK publication The Professional Farm Machinery Magazine – Dec 2017.
For more information please contact Smith Power Equipment on 011 284 2000.