Volvo CE has developed a rotating pipelayer attachment kit that allows an excavator to also work as a pipelayer, offering a simple solution for users who don't want to buy a dedicated pipelayer and who have been using conventional excavators for the work.
"The pipelayer attachment kit is aimed at customers placing pipe in cities and municipalities where space is at a premium. Our 14-ton excavators are the right size for this type of work, so pairing the kit to these machines made sense," said Todd Cannegieter, product manager of attachments and special applications at Volvo CE. "If you're not lowering in pipe regularly, it can be hard to justify the investment in a dedicated pipelayer or side boom. We wanted to give customers another option."
The rotating pipelayer kit fits conventional Volvo CE 14-ton crawler excavators — the EC140EL and ECR145E. The pipelaying boom simply attaches to the main boom of the excavator, converting from excavator to pipelayer (or vice versa) in about one hour.
The components are robust and can safely handle pipes up to 20 inches (508 mm), with a rated load of 7,300 pounds (3.3 tons). Max working height is 24 feet (7.3 m) and max working depth is 50 feet (15.24 m). When it comes to transport, excavators with the pipelayer kit can be readied for transit in minutes: just load and go — no crane or extra people required, saving time, money and hassle.
Unlike a traditional side boom pipelayer, Volvo's patented rotating superstructure solution means the machine is far more maneuverable, with no need to constantly reposition its tracks. The short-swing radius ECR145E can perform pipelaying work on busy two-lane streets while leaving one lane open for traffic, making it ideal for pipelaying in urban areas. This pipelayer configuration also gives the ECR145E the same lifting capacity as its standard excavator sibling, the EC140EL.
Unlike a side boom, the operator will always face the load, helping to reduce fatigue. An excavator-based pipelayer will also be more familiar to most operators, which could help with recruitment, training and productivity.
Operators are further supported by Volvo's unique Load Moment Indicator, which ensures safe operation up to a 10° slope. The system monitors load weights and sends audio and visual alerts. It also includes a standard anti-two-block system.