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The Complete Guide to Mini Excavator Attachments

10 October, 2023
By Al Marwan
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The Complete Guide to Mini Excavator Attachments

Usually, a backhoe or a skid loader always comes to mind whenever we’re talking about versatility in heavy equipment, but that’s not the full truth. Truth is, a mini excavator is just as versatile, due to its compactness and ability to be customized for almost any job. Most small-time contractors with a limited fleet use accessories to get their jobs done without splurging too much money on machines. Essentially, mini excavator attachments allow it to work beyond its basic design, which is digging, and become an all-in-one machine.

Mainly, there are two types of mini excavator attachments, and under each type, several types exist. The first type, let’s call it basic attachments or accessories, and they include cabin configuration, track type, and boom-and-arm pieces. The second type, let’s call it specialty attachments, and this type includes buckets, augers, rippers, etc… As we’ll see shortly.

Basic Attachments

1. Cab Configuration

It’s quite popular that mini excavators come in open canopy configurations, which are in circulation in more temperate climates, where air conditioning or heating isn’t necessary. Customers still, however, have the option of modifying their cab from the open canopy into fully enclosed cabins and vise-versa. This type of modification can either be requested directly from the manufacturer, or replaced later through an authorized dealer.

2. Mini Excavator Tracks

When it comes to mini excavator tracks, smaller excavators, in the three-or-less tonnes size class, usually feature rubber shoe tracks. They are built this way to do less damage to the ground, especially when used indoors. Tracks can also be customized between rubber or steel, as well as their widths. The wider the tracks, the less ground pressure the mini excavator applies as it moves.

3. Mini Excavator Boom-and-Arm

Lastly, one basic element of the excavator that can be modified is the boom and arm. With a few other modifications to the hydraulic system, a mini excavator can be equipped with an articulating boom, or a three-piece boom-and-arm to tackle short-radius digging and material handling tasks. This could also boost the overall reach and working radius of the mini excavator, which is especially helpful when the machine will be stationary for most of its operation time.

A Sumitomo SH60PC mini excavator attachment fitted with a telescoping boom and grapple for deep ditch excavation
A Sumitomo SH60 mini excavator fitted with a telescoping boom and grapple for deep ditch excavation

Specialty Attachments

Perhaps your job extends to just digging or trenching, and you need extra tools to get the job done with the least amount of machines on site. In this case, attachments are your go-to option.

1. The Quick Coupler

Before we delve into the full range of attachments applicable to a mini excavator, let’s talk about the quick coupler. A quick coupler is a hydraulic/electric add-on that can be fitted on the end of a boom to facilitate switching between attachments conveniently. The quick coupler can be used with excavators of all sizes, and, while less popular, with loaders. When you find yourself working with multiple attachments in one machine, a quick coupler becomes a sound, practical investment, as it greatly boosts operator productivity and reduces downtime due to lubing and preparing attachments between switches.

2. Adapters

Second on our list is the adapter. Much like a quick coupler, the adapter works in a similar way, as it is used as a proxy between the base machine and the required specialty attachment. You can use the adapter to turn your mini excavator into a skid steer loader, for example.

3. Augers

Next is the auger drive and auger bits. This is especially used in digging deep foundation holes for poles and different types of utilities. The auger turns your mini excavator into a miniature drill rig.

A Yuchai YC55-8 mini excavator attachment equipped with an auger for post drilling
A Yuchai YC55 mini excavator equipped with an auger for post drilling

4. Forestry and Landscaping Attachments

Contractors in the landscaping and municipalities sector make use of several agriculture and forestry equipment, but when cash is hard, a mini excavator attachment becomes the next viable option. Mulchers, brush cutters, and flails and tree shears become handy when there’s a landscaping job coming up. Another useful attachment around fall is the general-purpose rake bucket and land-clearance rakes, which lets your mini excavator do the sweeping for you, only ten times more efficiently.

5. Multi-Purpose Buckets

Buckets, too, have several types. Usually, you’ll get a general purpose bucket with teeth on a mini excavator, but if your job requires a different type of bucket, you can choose from hydraulic tilt buckets, tilt ditching buckets, grading buckets, V-shaped ditching buckets, and concrete pouring buckets. These can be used for standard ditching, grading to back-filling, light material loading and handling, as well as specialty jobs such as pouring and spreading material.

A wide grading bucket fitted on a KOBELCO SK200 mini excavator attachments for grading
A wide grading bucket fitted on a KOBELCO SK200 for grading

6. Material Handling Attachments

For material handling, pallet forks can be fitted on your mini excavator using an adapter, to move around storage material. For specialized applications on scrap yards, recycling centers, and quarries, grapples, rotary grabs, and slab grab buckets become the appropriate choice.

7. Breaking, Cutting, and Ripping Attachments

However, the more popular attachments among mini excavators are the hammer, ripper, and in some cases, the trencher. The hammer, sometimes referred to as jackhammer, hydraulic rock breaker, or concrete breaker, is used to tear into solid waste, concrete, and rocks to render them into smaller aggregates for multi-purpose use. The ripper attachment allows the mini excavator to rip straight lines into soil or torn up concrete to make digging easier afterwards. Trenchers work in a similar way, as they can be used on softer types of soil to create miniature trenches that can be later graded or dug, specifically for utility preparations or agricultural purposes.

Going into the next job well prepared means more than just having the right machine, it also means having the right tools for that machine to make the most use out of it. Simply put, with the right mini excavator attachments, you can get a lot done. Beyond excavation, you’ll be able to grade, compact, mulch, cut, rip, break, lift, load, and so much more.

As an official dealer of local and global brands of mini excavator attachments, Al Marwan Heavy Machinery supplies the UAE market with quality Simex, World Attachments, Toku, and Jisung (JSC) heavy equipment attachments and parts. Browse our full range of heavy machinery attachments.

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