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Hitachi updates compact excavator line to improve attachment operation

An operator operates a compact excavator on a forested job site
A Hitachi ZX50U-5N compact excavator Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas

Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas has continued to add new features to enhance the performance of its ZAXIS-5N compact excavators ranging from 1.10 to 6.61 U.S. tons (1.7 to 6 metric tons).

"The ZAXIS-5N excavators, which include the ZX17U-5N, ZX26U-5N, ZX30U-5N, ZX35U-5N, ZX50U-5N, and ZX60USB-5N, continually evolve to stay ahead of customer expectations," said Kei Matsumoto, product manager of compact excavators at Hitachi Construction Machinery Americas. "Our focus is to provide customers with a machine that delivers efficiency, reliability, and safety."

What are the latest upgrades to Hitachi's ZAXIS-5N compact excavators?

A 5-stage auxiliary flow rate changer

ZAXIS-5N compact excavators are commonly used as tool carriers with a wide range of attachments. Several features enhance attachment compatibility, including a 5-stage auxiliary flow rate changer. On the ZX30U-5N to ZX35U-5N the operator can match the flow rate of the auxiliary hydraulic circuit to the requirements of the attachment being used with either a low or high setting. The ZX50U-5N to ZX60USB-5N excavators now feature a multistage flow rate changer that allows the operator to select five different hydraulic flow settings.

Complete hydraulic quick coupler piping and second auxiliary hydraulic piping

Complete ready-to-use hydraulic quick coupler piping and second auxiliary hydraulic piping are preinstalled on premium versions of the ZX30U-5N to ZX60USB-5N. The second auxiliary hydraulic piping is beneficial for tilting and rotating attachments. Other ZAXIS-5N excavators in this range come with mounting points built in for hydraulic quick coupler piping. This eliminates the welding of brackets for quick coupler lines and simplifies the installation of quick coupler piping.     

An auxiliary function lever (AFL) includes an analog switch, trigger switch and horn for running attachments, such as a breaker or a tool with a swing. A standard wedge lock quick coupler makes attachment hookup a snap. A factory-installed bracket for a thumb cylinder simplifies installation.

Blade float option

A standard dozer blade enables the ZAXIS-5N excavators to grade while providing extra stability. A blade float option on the ZX30U-5N to ZX60USB-5N uses the blade's weight to help perform easier and faster grading operations. The optional angle blade version of the ZX35U-5N to ZX60USB-5N allows for enhanced grading and backfilling ability without the need for a second machine.

Operator comfort improvements

ZAXIS-5N excavators have been upgraded with LED work lights that provide enhanced visibility in low-light conditions. Ergonomic hydraulic pilot valve control levers reduce fatigue and provide smooth control. Hydraulic pilot controls for the bucket/thumb and other attachments, boom, swing, travel, and blade maximize controllability and ensure smooth operation. Swing boom and foldable travel pedals are positioned for easy operation while allowing plenty of foot room.

Maintenance improvements

The ZAXIS-5N excavators provide simplified access for maintenance with a hinged door that provides wide-open access to the side-by-side oil cooler and radiator core for easier cleanout. The engine cover slides vertically with less rear projection for ease of maintenance in confined spaces. Operators will no longer bump their heads on the cover during inspections.

Routine checks, such as engine oil level, are accomplished from ground level. Daily maintenance points are grouped behind covers. Spin-on filters provide quick, easy access for filter maintenance. Ground-level at-a-glance gauges ease daily inspection and servicing.

The top of the track frames on all the models ranging from the ZX30U-5N to ZX60USB-5N has been sloped for easy mud removal. Grease-impregnated HN bushings and pins provide 500-hour lubricating intervals.

To reduce the cost of repair, the traditional curved glass used in the cab has been exchanged with more easily obtainable flat glass.

Installed on top of the battery, a battery disconnect prevents battery discharge during long-term storage. Maintenance is simplified since there is no need to disengage terminals and cables from the battery.

No need to sacrifice speed

Hitachi has paired Yanmar diesel engines ranging from 14.7 to 53.8 net horsepower (10.8 to 39.6 kW) with hydraulic systems for ideal performance.

"Our hydraulic system is especially great for efficient fuel consumption, and it delivers the speed and power the operator wants," said Matsumoto.

The compact excavators from ZX30U-5N to ZX60USB-5N incorporate power/economy work modes. The power mode provides higher engine speeds for most general digging work, while the economy mode reduces engine speed for lighter digging jobs. This results in lower noise and decreased fuel consumption. An auto-idling system is available on these models.


Hitachi telematics can provide owners of the ZX30U-5N to ZX60USB-5N compact excavators with data for fleet management. The telematics can be connected to Global e-Service, which remotely monitors operational status and alerts owners of upcoming maintenance and repair needs from fault codes. In addition, the telematics will track the fuel remaining in the tank.

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