MARKET GUIDE: Tilt-rotators

Peter Anderson reports on the wide range of tilt-rotators currently available

The tilt-rotating hitch was introduced in Sweden some 40 years ago and have been commercially available in the UK for the past two decades or so. All offer continuous 360-degree rotation, together with tilting angles from 40- to 55-degrees.

The vast majority of traditional tilt-rotators use a grease-filled rotation chamber, the expectation being Rototilt, who has a tighter-tolerance oil-filled design. Conventional designs use external hydraulic cylinders to activate the tilting function. More recently a number of cylinder-less designs have been introduced, which feature a rotating hydraulic actuator, much like a tilting hitch attachment.

There are a variety of tilt-rotator control systems available, which usually come with replacement multi-function, proportional joysticks. The control system’s CanBus black box can often be used to control aspects of the host machine, providing a joystick steering function being the most common.

As a variety of powered attachments are typically used with a tilt-rotator, hitch technology has moved on a pace in recent years. There are a number of options to automatically connect hydraulic, electrical and lubrication services, at the same time as the attachment is being physically attached to the coupler. Often having to manage a top and a bottom hitch, both with auto hydraulic connections, increasingly tilt-rotator control systems have the option of an integrated hitch management system.


Based on the oil-filled Rototilt design offering a 40-degree tilt angle, Caterpillar offers the TRS23 tilt-rotator for their wheeled and tracked excavators between 23- and 30-tonnes. These are available with either pin-on or coupler interfaces, with Rototilt’s SecureLock sub-system ensures a positive connection by using both hydraulic and mechanical locking mechanisms. In addition, there is a sensor-based confirmation system with audible signals and visual in-cab indicators.

Integral load holding valves are designed to maintain cylinder stability and to secure loads, even if hydraulic lines are cut. Other features include bucket pulse, which is designed to spread material evenly and quickly. An optional sensor allows tilt-rotator position data to be shared with grade control systems.


The latest news from Swedish-based Engcon is the imminent availability of their EC-Oil quick hitch system on the bottom hitch of the EC206 tilt-rotator, designed for mini excavators from 4- to 6-tonnes. This allows hydraulic, electric and auto lube services to be connected and disconnected automatically to the attachment, without the operator having to leave the cab.

The new EC206 features a completely new rotary coupling with increased capacity and more ports for additional hydraulic services, together with the option of an easily-removeable gripper cassette. It will also be possible to equip the tilt-rotator with the Engcon ePS rotation and tilt sensor package, to integrate it with a machine guidance system. The EC206 with a S40 automatic quick hitch will be showcased at exhibitions, with a limited numbers of units available until full series production begins in the Autumn.

Engcon is also planning to launch a lightweight pallet fork attachment for their tilt-rotators, designed for mini excavators from 2- to 6-tonnes, together with a newly developed compactor plate for excavators from 12- to 24-tonnes.


German manufacturer HKS Dreh-Antribe is one of the leading manufacturers of hydraulic rotary and tilting actuators, with their range including no less than 10 cylinder-less tilt-rotators, suitable for excavators up to 55-tonnes. There are capable of up to eight full rotations per minute and allows an equally impressive 55-degree tilt angle. The sensor package integrates with common machine guidance systems including Leica and Topcon, providing both rotation and tilt angles.

According to the firm, the compact and robust tilt mechanism of its tilt-rotator is a viable alternative to wider conventional models, where the tilt function is controlled by external hydraulic cylinders.


The German manufacturer Kinshofer’s NOX tilt-rotator range offers a 50-degree tilt angle and is equipped with a rotation sensor to feed machine control systems. The accompanying NOXProp+ control system offers enhanced connectivity via integrated GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi in combination with the company’s SmartTag system. SmartTag and its cloud-based fleet management system combines two separate functions in one sensor, attachment tracking and digital attachment identification.

Finland-based component manufacturer Marttiini Metal offers a range of four tilt-rotators, suitable for excavators from 7- to 42-tonnes. Various control systems are available, the in-house system features proportional control from ergonomic joysticks, a lock switch and a flow control valve.

Their latest model is the mROTO-20B, which is designed for carriers from 14- to 22-tonnes. This weighs 560kg and features a low structural height of 480mm, single acting telescopic tilt cylinders, 40-degree tilt angles and a rotation speed of 6rpm.

According to the firm, their most popular model is the mROTO-10, used on both excavators and backhoe loaders in the 7- to 11-tonne range. It weighs 295kg and features high torque double acting tilt cylinders protected within the body.


Better known for their hitches that automatically connect axillary hydraulics and the like, Swedish-based OilQuick also offers a five-model range of tilt-rotators, suitable for excavators from 6- to 33-tonnes. These are based on Engcon’s rotor body, with OilQuick couplers top and bottom. In common with their auto hitches, the OilQuick LockSupport (OQLS) system is also available on their tilt-rotators, which manages the secure attachment of attachments.


There are eight models in the Swedish-built Rototilt range of tilt-rotators, suitable for excavators from 1.5t to 40t. A key feature is the SecureLock sub-system, which ensures that the attachment is correctly coupled from the start and continuously monitors the situation to ensure that it remains locked in place.

Rototilt offers their Innovative Control System (ICS) which provides a clear and simple display. In addition to simultaneous tilting and rotating, other functions can be operated at the same time. For example, the bucket pulse function, to help to quickly and evenly spread material. It is also possible to store individual operator settings within ICS, which also offers a smart troubleshooting feature. The Rototilt Positioning Solution (RPS) transmits data to a machine control system and includes the ability to automate the tilt function.

Swedish-based SMP offers the seven model ST range of tilt-rotators designed for excavators and backhoe loaders from 3- to 30-tonnes. These generation 4 models feature the company’s Hard Lock quick coupler and 40-degrees of tilt.

The tilt-rotators come with the firm’s MACS ST control system, which includes a touch-screen interface and dedicated proportional-control joysticks. This allows the operator to control the tilt-rotator’s functions or optional track or wheel steering control from the cab with the joystick thumb roller or rocker switch. Individual operator profiles and preferences can be programmed into the system to suit different requirements.


Swedish manufacturer Steelwrist produces a range of low build height tilt-rotators for carriers from 2- to 33-tonnes. The big news this year from the firm is the roll-out of their Quantum control system in the UK. Previewed some years ago in EARTHMOVERS, this provides additional functionality over the user’s mobile phone, including saving specific control set-ups. Attachment recognition modules can detect which working tool is being used, to automatically adjust the tilt-rotator settings to suit an application, and to feed this data into a machine control system.

Of critical importance nowadays is a digital link between the tilt-rotator and machine guidance systems, with the top-end kit also being able to automatically control the tilt angle of the attachment.

This article featured in the June 2022 issue of Earthmovers

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