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Digger Man

Digger Man Blog

by Nick Drew  |  Fri 17 Nov 2023

Backhoes in his Blood

Sharing this article previously edited and published in Earthmovers which was a collaboration between my good friend Olli Päiviö and myself.

Veteran Finnish machine operator Jari Henriksson (67) has a long history of operating and owning backhoe loaders.

Backhoes in his Blood

Jari, started out as an owner/operator working for the Karkkila municipality (local council) back in 1986. His latest acquisition of a CASE 695SV is the 15th backhoe loader he has owned since going solo. The man and machine are a very familiar sight on the streets of Karkkila, a town in the Uusimaa region of Finland, and he is said to have amassed invaluable knowledge of the area, with an almost encyclopaedic memory of where such things as manhole covers are, water pipe alignments, and the location of underground utilities, all backed up by his years of experience.

Jari’s first backhoe loader, some 37 years ago was a Ford 550, as the years went by and brands changed hands, he opted to put his faith in New Holland machines, before eventually moving on to the CASE brand.

This latest CASE machine is his third from that manufacturing stable, replacing an equivalent 695SV 2020 model, which during two years of operation had amassed over 5,000 hours on the meter. There is a lot of banter about this being his last machine, but Jari is still not keen on any talk of retirement, so maybe another machine will follow this one, or maybe even two, he jokes!

Jari has been buying machines from local CASE dealer Rentti via long-term salesman Harri Hassisen for years, there is long-standing mutual trust between the men. 

"I have a long and fulfilling dealer-customer relationship with Jari. There have never been any disagreements in trading, because both of us always justify our position and the other listens. Jari takes excellent care of his backhoe loader and the trade-in machine we get back from him is always in good condition and as such easy to sell on," says Hassinen.

"It has always been good to rub shoulders with Harri. He always does what he promises, you can’t ask for anymore" replies Henriksson.

Talking about his work for the municipality Henriksson said, "I've realized that even the city wouldn't really want to let me go. There is a slight pressure to continue, it is impossible to pass on all the knowledge a man has to younger generations”.

Henriksson continued, "Here, the city's engineers and other civil servants and many other staff members have already changed several times during my working career."

The works undertaken in the town of Karkkila are varied and all-year-round. In the winter, the job mostly involves snow removal work, and in the summer green construction, municipal engineering, etc. This varied kind of work also requires a wide selection of work equipment, from various buckets to brush equipment and from winged snow buckets to sandblasters.

"For example, all the light traffic routes in the centre of Karkkila are my responsibility in the winter."

The diversity of these works requires a backhoe loader as the preferred type of machine. With the help of the front loader, Henriksson carries various soil materials and forklift loads in the summer and ploughs and loads snow in the winter.

Digging is going on at a steady pace during the thawed ground period, both in municipal technical works and in the parkland maintenance. With big wheels and a transfer speed of 40 kilometres per hour, moving from one place to another is rapid. This one machine is therefore well equipped to handle all the jobs offered by the local authorities.

CASE well specified for the job

The CASE is equipped to suit Henriksson requirements at Rentti’s office in Honkajoki. A standard factory-finish CASE does not meet Jari’s list of requirements. The machine comes from the factory, for example, without reverse control via the joysticks, which are absolutely necessary in his application. From the digging position, you can control, for example, direction change and four-wheel steering. The brake pedal is also at the back, which helps to accurately place the machine even in digging jobs. CASE's own joysticks have been replaced by Engcon units, so there are enough thumb rollers and buttons to subordinate all functions to the levers.

“In addition to the rear control, Rentti has added, among other things, a grease gun, bottom armour, cylinder protection, work lights and hydraulics at the front. Even for previous machines, I wanted additional wings for the fenders, which have apparently been equipped with other machines sold as well," says Henriksson.

The dipper arm is equipped with the telescopic extendahoe, which gives an additional reach of 1.2 meters. According to Henriksson, the useful telescopic dipper has already been fitted on his previous machines. “An extra meter is welcome on construction sites and you can't live without it” he says.

Centre-mount outriggers with rubber street pads are the preferred option. “Apart from good stability for digging, they offer more ground clearance than the vertical side-shift style jacklegs that are quite popular in Central Europe”, says Henriksson.

The new CASE 695SV is equipped with a four-cylinder Stage V diesel engine from FPT's new range, which produces 82 kilowatts (ISO 14396). The stroke volume is 3.6 litres.

While previous CASE models only had either a particulate filter (DPF) or a catalytic converter (SCR), the current one has both. And the machine also has exhaust gas recirculation (EGR).

"I can't say exactly the fuel consumption, but in the heaviest ploughing jobs you can refuel every day. The one with the 110-litre tank tank, lasts such a long working day, about 10 hours. In lighter jobs, the hourly consumption drops considerably," concludes Henriksson.

According to Henriksson, staying with the same brand for such a long time is due to the fact that there have been no major troubles. And any problems that have arisen, have been solved quickly. The machine stays in good condition with regular maintenance.

More space in the cabin

CASE, who started manufacturing backhoe loaders in 1957, introduced its new Stage V collection in 2021. It also includes two models smaller than the 695SV, the 580SV and 590SV. The four-wheel-drive 695SV, which is also favoured by Henriksson, will certainly suit the Finnish taste the best. It has an operational weight of around 10-tonnes.

The biggest change in the 695SV, besides the upgrade to the Stage V emissions class, is in the cabin. The interior space is larger, because the width has increased. Thus, the legroom when turning from the driving position to the digging position and vice versa has increased.

The extra volume has been used, for example, for various storage solutions.

The driver can now safely store his cell phone and even his largest lunch box, because the cab has two lockable compartments, two bottle holders, four open trays and a cold compartment.

The following changes have also been made in the cab: a relocated parking brake switch, a new speedometer, regrouped switches on the right console, a new direction change switch on the loader control lever in the Power Shift model, and relocated control levers for the outriggers. A Bluetooth radio and two USB connectors are modern.

According to the manufacturer, the cabin noise level has also decreased slightly in the new models, now being 74 decibels.

What is striking is that CASE has not gone down the line of touch screens, but the side console of the cab has a good old traditional gauge screen.

The power transmission line has axles manufactured by Carraro and a four-speed Powershift for forward driving (7,11,24 and 40 km/h). There are three speed ranges for driving backwards (8, 13 and 29 km/h).

In the load-sensing hydraulic system, the variable displacement pump offers a maximum output of 165 litres per minute (205 bar).

In light work, the driver can now choose the new ECO work setting, which according to the manufacturer saves an extra 10% fuel.

If past experience is anything to go by, Jari’s new CASE machine will serve him well for at least another couple of years, then who knows, maybe time for just one more backhoe loader, before the pipe and slippers beckon!

We test drove the new CASE 695SV a couple of years ago, checkout the video below. 


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