MARKET GUIDE: 14-tonne Excavators

Peter Anderson reports the latest developments with the most popular full-size excavator class in the UK

For many years, 13-tonne class tracked excavators have been the mainstay of the UK construction industry, a firm favourite of contractors and plant hirers. The mainstream models started out as 12-tonne machines, gaining mass over the years to the point that typical operating weights are around 14 tonnes. The latest generation of reduced rear swing radius models in this category are even heavier, tipping the scales at around 16 tonnes.

Caterpillar’s range includes the 313 and 315 high-spec, high powered excavators weighing 13.8 and 15.4 tonnes respectively, together with the less extravagant 313GC and 315 GC variants. All feature the latest filtration, lubrication and fluid management sub-systems to drive down the cost and time of servicing. They also share the same cab and are powered by a Cat C3.6 engine, rated at between 55.4kW and 82.0kW. Maximum dig depths are a fraction over 6m, a reach of 8.66m and a loading height of 6.42m.


Weighing up to 13.9 tonnes and powered by a FPT engine rated at 76.4kW, the CX130E is the smallest model in the new Case E-Series range of tracked excavator. This range features a revised cab, improved hydraulics and more robust structures and undercarriage.

The pressurised cab has improved sealing, with wide access and increased foot space. The control console is suspended with the seat and there is a 25cm high resolution monitor.


The reduced tail swing Develon DX140CR-7 (formally branded Doosan), weighs in at 15.6 tonnes and is powered by an 86kW engine. This generation features a new hydraulic system, which is said to offer a significant improvement in performance. This optimises the distribution of the hydraulic flow when both the arm and attachment are working simultaneously. A new priority valve and an additional hydraulic line maintains continuous hydraulic flow to the attachment, even when the arm is being used.


Hitachi offers two models in this category, the conventional ZX130-7 and reduced swing radius ZX135US-7.  

The ZX130-7 weighs between 13.3 and 15.7 tonnes, and is powered by a 74kW Isuzu engine, providing a maximum dig depth of 6.06m and a digging reach of 8.79m. Weighing between 14.1- and 16.3-tonnes, the ultra short swing ZX135US‑7 model is also powered by a 74kW Isuzu engine. It is capable of a maximum dig depth of 6.07m with a 6.55 dump height.


The Komatsu PC138US-11 weighs in at between 14.0 and 15.8 tonnes depending on configuration, it is powered by a 72.6kW engine driving a closed centre load sensing hydraulic system. With a swing radius of 1.48m, this is available with either a mono boom or with a two-piece boom together with a selection of dipper arm, the longest of which offers a maximum digging depth of 5.9m. Despite its compact external dimensions, the operator benefits from a full-size cab.


The R914 Compact is the smallest crawler excavator built by Liebherr, it weighs in at 14.9 tonnes, has a rear tail swing radius of 1.55m and is powered by a 90kW engine. There is a wide variety of alternative working equipment available on this model, including a luffing boom, a boom that can be repositioned laterally and a lateral-shift gooseneck boom, with a choice of four dipper arm lengths, from 2.05m to 2.65m.


The new Hidromek HMK140 and the short tail swing HMK145SR models offer something different in this weight category, the option of a full remote-control package. The 14.6-tonne HMK140 comes with a unusually high spec as standard, including integrated e-dig wall and e-trench sub-systems. Powered by a 75kW Isuzu engine, it provides a dig depth of 5.36m, a dump height of 5.92m and a ground reach of marginally over 8m. 

At 16.7 tonnes, the short tail swing HMK145SR is powered by the same Isuzu engine, in this applications rated at 78.5kW. It is equipped with a 4.6m boom and a choice of three arm lengths allowing a maximum dig depth 5.96m and a dump height of 5.79m.


JCB offers the 131X, 140X and 150X models. The 131X is powered by a 55kW JCB engine that does not require a diesel particulate filter to meet Stage 5 of the emissions regulations. The 140X and 150X models get a 81kW JCB engine, delivering 516Nm of torque and a torque rise of 135Nm. All three models have JCB’s Command Plus cab, which is 15% larger than the previous JS range of excavators and features improved heating and air conditioning, together with increased standard specifications.


Kobelco offers the 14.2-tonne SK130 model, powered by a 78.5kW Isuzu engine. The standard 4.68m boom and 2.38m arm provide a digging depth of 5.52m and load over height of 6.08m.

The short radius Kobelco SK140SR-7 is powered by a 86kW Isuzu engine, offering 10% more power than its predecessor. In addition, a new hydraulic control system is claimed to improve digging cycle time by 10%. Despite the model name, the base weight of an SK140SR-7 is 15 tonnes, which can reach as high at 18 tonnes depending upon configuration.


Hyundai offers three full-sized excavators below 16 tonnes, all powered by Cummins engines, rated at 55kW in the HX130ACR model and 100kW for the HX140A and HX145A. 

Weighing 13.5 tonnes, the compact radius HX130ACR model can be specified with a dozer blade and/or a two-piece boom.  It has a maximum dig depth of 5.57m and a maximum digging reach of 8.22m. At 14.4 tonnes, the conventional HX140A is configured with a 4.6m boom and 3m arm providing the excavator with a maximum dig depth of 6m and a dump height of 6.33m. The compact radius HX145ACR weighs in at 15.4 tonnes.


The Sany SY135C has an operating weight of 14.7 tonnes and is powered by a Stage 5-compliant Isuzu engine rated at 78.5kW. It provides a maximum digging depth of 5.5m, from it standard 0.6cu.m capacity bucket.


Takeuchi offers two 15-tonne excavators, the conventional fixed boom TB2150R model and offset boomed TB2150. Both are powered by a Deutz engine rated at 85kW and come with three auxiliary hydraulic lines as standard. Dual boom cylinders with hose burst check valves provide added lifting power.


The stylish-looking Mecalac 15MC is powered by a Deutz engine rated at 101kW, driving through a hydrostatic transmission. The transmission works with a pair of two-speed travel motors for tracking over difficult ground.

The three-piece offset boom allows the excavator to operate against the track in all upper frame positions, while also reaching out to a maximum working range of 8.8m, providing a dig depth of 4.98m. Mecalac’s unique Connect hydraulic quick coupler system is integrated within the dipper arm.


Weighing from 15.5 tonnes to over 17 tonnes depending on configuration, the ET145 is Wacker Neuson’s largest compact excavator, it is powered by a 55kW Perkins engine. The surprisingly large cab provides excellent visibility, enhanced in the latest version by the boom mounting being shifted over to the offside a little bit more. A total boom swing of 127-degrees allows the excavator to dig alongside walls and trenches, the standard working equipment provides a maximum dig depth of 5.44m. 


The compact radius LiuGong 913FCR weighs in at 14.7 tonnes and is powered by a 75kW Cummins engine. When equipped with the standard 4.8m boom and 2.9m dipper stick the excavator has a maximum digging depth of 5.89m, a dump height of 6.83m and a ground reach of 8.7m.


The conventional Volvo EC140E weighs 13.2 tonnes and is equipped with a 4.6m boom and a 2.5m dipper, providing a maximum digging depth of 5.6m and a digging reach of 8.36m. The ECR145E model features a tail swing radius of 1.49m and weighs-in at 14.4 tonnes, providing a maximum dig depth of 5.53m and a digging reach of 8.36m. Both are powered by a 90kW Volvo D4 engine.

This article featured in the July 2023 issue of Earthmovers Magazine

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